Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
Why He's Here: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished sixth in the 500 in his No. 17 Ford, which was a good sign for him. He's only ranked ninth because he didn't consistently prove he could run up front with the leaders in the Daytona 500, but rather put on a late rush at the end and benefitted from a wreck in front of him on the last lap that took out some top cars.
Daytona 500 performance: At least he stayed out of trouble on a night when so many others found it. That's often the key to surviving a restrictor-plate race. You have to be running at the end to post the kind of finish he did, a simple truth that is much easier said than done.
2014 Outlook: The fact that Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle also ran strong, finishing eighth, appears to be a sign that perhaps this will be a better year for the organization that fell behind quickly last year and never really caught up with the likes of Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing.
Stenhouse won Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors last year, but that's an award that has seemed hollow for most winners in recent years. He hardly dazzled anyone with only three top-10 finishes all year and only one finish of better than eighth—a third at Talladega in the 32nd race of the season. He's still dating Danica Patrick, though, so his outlook is good.