Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Season finish: 27th
2014 Season Stats: 0 Wins, 1 Top-5, 5 Top-10s, 0 Poles.
What went right: After opening the year with a Top-10 at the Daytona 500, Stenhouse was part of a 1-2 finish for Roush Fenway Racing (and a 1-2-3 podium sweep for Ford) just a few weeks later at Bristol as he chased teammate Carl Edwards to the checkered flag. Other solid results came at Talladega (10th in the spring), New Hampshire (ninth in the summer), and in the return race at Bristol in August (sixth).
What went wrong: With Roush Fenway Racing continuing its decline, Stenhouse’s season was largely a crummy one. Plagued by mediocre performance, he tumbled from 19th in the standings in 2013 all the way down to 27th in 2014 – and he didn’t even lead a single lap. His lowest point had to be failing to make the Talladega Chase race after one of the most bizarre qualifying sessions in NASCAR history.
2015 Prospectus: After picking up back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series titles in 2011 and 2012, Stenhouse’s first two years in the Cup Series have been so-so at best. Roush Fenway’s overall woes have not helped him but if the team is able to put better cars on the track in 2015, Stenhouse is gonna have to make sure he capitalizes on that.
Scott Dixon was fastest on the second day of Indy 500 practice Thursday, turning a lap at 226.102 mph in his No. 9 Dallara-Honda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Takuma Sato was second, followed by Marco Andretti, Conor Daly and rookie Alex Palou.
The rest of the top 10 were: Colton Herta, Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Fernando Alonso and James Davison.
THURSDAY PRACTICE: Click here for Day 2 speeds at Indianapolis
COMBINED SPEEDS: Click here for the overall speeds from the first two days
The session had one incident as Alonso crashed with just less than an hour left in the session. The Arrow McLaren SP driver was optimistic that the car could be repaired without a backup.
Among the other notables on the speed chart Thursday: Ryan Hunter-Reay (11th); Tony Kanaan (14th); Helio Castroneves (16th); Josef Newgarden (18th); Graham Rahal (19th); Will Power (23rd); Alexander Rossi (26th) and defending race winner Simon Pagenaud (27th).
Felix Rosenqvist (24th) and rookie Dalton Kellett turned the most laps (141) around the 2.5-mile oval.
Teams mostly focused on race setup Thursday as they will receive 80 extra horsepower in the “Fast Friday” practice that will feature speeds above 230 mph for qualifying Saturday and Sunday.
The Indy 500 will take place Aug. 23; coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on NBC with the green flag at 2:30 p.m.
HOW TO WATCH THE INDY 500 ON NBC: Details for the Aug. 23 race
DAILY INDY 500 SCHEDULE: Click here for all on-track activity in August at Indy