NASCAR

Stenhouse, Almirola avoiding trouble

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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I hope everyone is watching the impact that two of our younger drivers are making in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series so far this season. What rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almirola are doing right now is really impressive.

Obviously, Ricky is coming off being the Nationwide Series champion for two years running. This is his first full-time ride in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season and he’s taking over the No. 17 vacated by Matt Kenseth, who went to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

Aric is benefitting, I believe, from the changes that were made to the No. 43 last year. He has veteran crew chief Todd Parrott at the helm calling the shots. Aric has very quietly put that vaunted No. 43 car in the 10th spot going into this weekend’s action at Bristol.

Guess who is only one point behind him? That’s correct – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

I think one of the big keys to their success is they are running all the laps and staying out of trouble. For instance, we have run 783 laps of racing so far this season, with both Aric and Ricky completing every single one of them.

These two young men are stepping up to the plate in a big way as I see it. They both are trying to step out of the shadows and establish their own identity as NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers.

After only three races, I think you have to give these guys a lot of credit for finding themselves so high up in the points and off to a really good 2013 start.

Tagged: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola

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