2020 season preview: JTG Daugherty Racing

Sean Montgomery
NASCAR.com

Editor‘s note: Today‘s JTG Daugherty Racing preview continues NASCAR.com‘s countdown of team previews for the NASCAR Cup Series season, ranked in order of best finish in last year‘s owner standings.

MORE: Changes to know for the 2020 season

JTG DAUGHERTY RACING
Manufacturer: Chevrolet
Engine: Hendrick
Drivers: Ryan Preece, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Crew Chiefs: Trent Owens (Preece), Brian Pattie (Stenhouse)

What‘s new: After more than 250 NASCAR Cup Series starts with Roush Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.‘s move to JTG Daugherty Racing brings an established veteran presence alongside second-year teammate Ryan Preece. Making the transition with Stenhouse is a familiar name in crew chief Brian Pattie, who commanded Stenhouse‘s pit box for the past three seasons. Preece will also have a new car number — the No. 37 — and be under the direction of crew chief Trent Owens.

Team strength: The newly formed pairing of Preece and Stenhouse has the potential to be dynamic and beneficial for both drivers. Stenhouse led 109 laps last season, while Preece led just one. Front-running experience and an established veteran presence alongside the talented young driver will only bolster the organization‘s quest for an appearance in the 2020 NASCAR Playoffs.

The Action Network Best Bet: I‘m certainly in a wait-and-see mode with Stenhouse as the new driver of the No. 47. Before Daytona 500 odds opened, I was optimistic about getting a good price on Stenhouse, but odds (20-1 at FanDuel Sportsbook) are way too short on him for my tastes. If he hovers around the same price on race day, I‘ll look to fade him in matchups with drivers like Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, William Byron and Erik Jones, who all have worse odds to win “The Great American Race.” — PJ Walsh

Racing Insights Number to Know: Four. 2019 was the team’s fourth straight season with at least seven top-10 finishes. — Racing Insights

RYAN PREECE: NO. 37 CHEVROLET

2019 Stats: One top five, three top 10s; highest finish — third at Talladega in April
2020 Championship Odds: 5,000-1
Fantasy Live Five: Talladega, Daytona, Indianapolis, Michigan, Kansas
Outlook: Preece made strides as a rookie, posting a 23.1 average finish in his first full season at the Cup Series level. Doubling his top-five and top-10 totals from a year ago is within reach for Preece and crew this year. After picking up a pair of top-10 finishes at superspeedways in 2019, expect the second-year driver to be in the mix for his first career win each time the series heads to Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 26: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) | Getty Images
TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 26: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fifth Third Bank Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) | Getty Images

RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: NO. 47 CHEVROLET
2019 Stats: One top five, three top 10s; 109 laps led (66 at superspeedways)
2020 Championship Odds: 1,000-1
Fantasy Live Five: Talladega, Bristol, Daytona, Charlotte, Richmond
Outlook: The change of scenery should be inspiring for Stenhouse, as he vies for a spot in the NASCAR Playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season. While his overall numbers were down from a year ago, he led more than 100 laps for the second consecutive season and his 15.1 average start was the second-best mark of his career. If the No. 47 crew can put together a similar trend in qualifying this year, a return to Victory Lane and the NASCAR Playoffs could be in the cards.

NASCAR.com 2020 team previews schedule 

Jan. 20: Teams outside the top 30
Jan. 21: Go Fas Racing
Jan. 22: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 23: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 24: Germain Racing
Jan. 27: Leavine Family Racing
Jan. 28: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 29: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 30: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 31: Roush Fenway Racing
Feb. 3: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 4: Chip Ganassi Racing
Feb. 5: Team Penske
Feb. 6: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 7: Joe Gibbs Racing

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