Will third Sprint Cup season be a charm for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.?

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Just a little more than two years ago, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was celebrating a second consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. But those two years may feel much longer at this point.

As his Roush Fenway Racing team has struggled, Stenhouse’s own decline after jumping full-time to the Sprint Cup Series has been notable. Last year saw him drop to 27th in the championship from 19th in his rookie season, and also fail to lead a single lap.

Stenhouse will enter his third Cup campaign in 2015, and observers will be watching to see if he makes legitimate improvement under new crew chief Nick Sandler, who was lead engineer for former teammate Carl Edwards’ team.

But as far as pressure on himself goes, Stenhouse says that this year isn’t as big as any other.

“I feel like I can do it,” he said. “I really don’t lack confidence in my ability to get the job done in a race car. That’s what I’ve done ever since I grew up is perform in each race car I’ve been in. I want the Cup car to be no different. We struggled when we first started in the Xfinity Series (2010 – no wins, three top-5s, eight top-10s, 16th in points) and bounced back to be very successful there. We plan on doing that here.

“Obviously, I wanted it the first year, and if not the first year, I thought it would be the second year, and that didn’t work. We’re gonna keep plugging away, and I think our results will be better.”

With Sandler’s guidance, Stenhouse hopes that he and the 17 team will resist temptation to carry out major changes to poor cars and instead work on improving them bit by bit to get more consistent results. That was a tack taken by Sandler, Edwards, and crew chief Jimmy Fennig when they were together on the No. 99 team at Roush.

Adding to Stenhouse’s confidence in Sandler’s ability is the fact that his former crew chief, Mike Kelley, also believes Sandler can get the job done. Kelley has now become the car chief for the No. 17 team, and his decision to stick around has meant a lot to Stenhouse.

“I asked Mike before all of this went down if he was OK with it and if he was OK and felt confident that Nick would be able to get the job done, then I would be OK with it too,” Stenhouse said of Kelley. “He’s got a lot of confidence in Nick and it’s cool being in the shop this off-season seeing Mike get back into being that car guy, building pit boxes, and making these cars as nice as they can be.

“As a crew chief, you do get to do that often. You’re stuck to the desk job kind of managing people. Now, he’s still running our whole team as far as crew guys go and giving them direction but he’s also out there doing it with them.”

With familiar faces in new roles on his No. 17 team, Stenhouse surely hopes that the changes will help him get to the front more often in Year 3.

Ricky’s Rough Road
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was stout in his back-to-back Xfinity Series title runs in 2011 and 2012. But since jumping to the Sprint Cup Series, good results have been few and far between.

XFINITY SERIES
2011 Championship – Two wins, 16 Top-5s, 26 Top-10s, three Poles, 541 Laps Led
2012 Championship – Six Wins, 19 Top-5s, 26-Top-10s, four Poles, 788 Laps Led

SPRINT CUP SERIES
2013 – No wins, one Top-5, three Top-10s, one Pole, 35 Laps Led, 19th in Points
2014 – No wins, one Top-5, five Top-10s, no poles, no laps led, 27th in Points

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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