NASCAR Cup Series
What Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Daytona 500 win means to JTG Daugherty Racing
NASCAR Cup Series

What Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Daytona 500 win means to JTG Daugherty Racing

Updated Feb. 20, 2023 3:49 p.m. ET

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — About a third of the JTG Daugherty Racing team was at Daytona International Speedway with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Monday morning, still celebrating several hours after he won the Daytona 500 and just a couple of hours after getting maybe a little bit of sleep.

Among the group was the team's majority owners, Tad and Jodi Geschickter, who had worked nearly 30 years for this moment, having started in 1995 in what is now the Xfinity Series. They brought on former NBA star Brad Daugherty, who wore No. 43 during his playing career as a tribute to Richard Petty, as an investor when they moved to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2009.

They had won just one Cup race, in 2014 at Watkins Glen, during all that time. Having been awarded a charter, NASCAR's version of a franchise, the Geschickters have had plenty of offers from people willing to pay millions of dollars to purchase it.

And yet they didn't sell. They take their 45 racing employees and 20 marketing and front office employees who split time on racing and other marketing programs and go up against teams with several hundred employees.


"It wasn't time to stop," said Tad Geschickter, a former college baseball player and NASCAR tire changer whose marketing expertise put him on the path to team ownership. "COVID was scary. Sponsorships we had went away. Sponsorships that we had got smaller. ... [But] once we had everybody's commitment, it was easy to keep going."

The organization has had a mix of young mechanics as well as veterans who worked for bigger teams but later found a home at this family run operation.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins 2023 Daytona 500

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the 2023 Daytona 500 after a wild overtime finish. There was a huge wreck with two laps to go that took out about half the field, and then there was another wreck on the final lap.

Tab Boyd, who spots for Stenhouse, had worked with drivers at Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports. He won a Daytona 500 with Joey Logano.

Now he works at JTG Daugherty with owners he has known for more than 20 years when he first got involved in the sport.

"It's more satisfying whenever you get a victory at a small place like this because you see everybody working hard and working together," Boyd said.

"At a big team, ... the wins are fun and you want to celebrate, but it's like it is expected and sometimes that takes wind out of sails."

As a small team, the road crew had been scheduled to work in the shop Monday afternoon. But the car build schedule is in good enough shape for them to take the day off before the three-week West Coast swing. The California and Las Vegas cars for the next two races are mostly ready — there were some parts off the Daytona car the team had hoped to put on the Vegas car because of supply chains issues.

But the Daytona-winning car stays in Daytona as part of track tours. Crew chief Mike Kelley was working the phones and emails trying to make sure the team is ready for the next week.

"It's all about having people with passion and work ethic and [who are] multitalented," Geschickter said about his employees. "We don't have specialists. The guy that can wire [things] can put a windshield in."

How does this organization compete with teams that have hundreds of employees? 

"It's wild," Stenhouse said. "It's all about getting the most out of your employees and using your resources to the best of your ability. They've been a small team for a long time, they've understood that, and they get the most out of it."

Stenhouse said the organization has gotten more time in the Chevrolet simulator and the team has had a little more interaction with Hendrick Motorsports.

"Yeah, we're small, but when I walked into JTG's race shop back in 2019, I was super impressed with the way they had their shop set up and the equipment that they had," Stenhouse said.

"This year, what's going to help propel us to be more consistent is that alliance with Hendrick and with the support we're getting from Chevy that we've never had."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on winning Daytona 500

Ricky Stenhouse spoke on winning the 2023 Daytona 500 and explains his mindset throughout the race.

With the victory, the team will get a big boost in the bank account, not just from the purse money but also because as long as it makes the playoffs, that would be an increased payout from the fund that goes to teams based on the previous three years' performance. On his podcast Monday, Denny Hamlin estimated it could mean as much $3 million to the team.

When his team won that race back in 2014, Geschickter said it likely helped seal the deal the next year with Kroger to sponsor the team.

"I don't think it was an accident you win in 2014 and one of the biggest corporations in America say they want to do more with you," Geschickter said.

The Kroger sponsorship involves getting brands to pay Kroger to be on the car and get better placement in stores. The company heard from several brands last night that are interested in the program based on the win.

Geschickter hopes to get to those calls as soon as he can. As he reflected on the win and nearly 30 years of team ownership, he thought about all the years of trying to be competitive and win races.

"It would be worth it if we didn't win it, but there is never going to be a bigger win than what we had last night in our sports career," Geschickter said. "How can you not think that's worth it?"

The work won't stop for the Geschickters and their dozens of employees. They haven't stopped for decades and don't plan now.

"We don't quit," Jodi Geschickter said. "We're tenacious. We don't quit. We dig in."

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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