Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will have plenty to worry about in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600—NASCAR’s longest race of the season.
But juggling a water bottle to stay hydrated for 400 laps shouldn’t be a distraction behind the wheel of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet. As part of Stenhouse’s race prep, he’s incorporated the FluidLogic “smart” hydration system into his routine.
Stenhouse believes FluidLogic has given him a competitive advantage over the last three seasons.
“The FluidLogic system is really nice,” said Stenhouse, who qualified second for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. “They continue to develop it—and evolve it. It’s nice, especially in a 600-mile race, like we have coming up Sunday, I don’t have to worry about my guys handing me water bottles under pit stops.”
With the MagLock magnetic connection, the FluidLogic system fits into the fresh-air hose then delivers the precise amount of water needed through a mouthpiece attached to the driver’s radio mic on their helmet.
Stenhouse—and other drivers such as Sunday’s 600 pole winner Kyle Larson and IndyCar racers Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Stefan Wilson, Colton Herta and James Hinchcliffe—can program the amount of fluid they need through an app on their phones.
“With our races as long as they are and with no cautions—which has seemed to be the case lately—you find it hard to drink if you just have regular water bottles. And with the technology they have, I can set it at different times to remind me to drink every two to three minutes. There’s a science behind how much fluid you need to take in to stay hydrated.”
For the last five years, Ed Jaeger has worked to perfect the FluidLogic system. As a fellow racer, Jaeger would find himself falling out of the seat when forgetting to hydrate.
“I saw how dehydration can take a toll on a driver, both during and after a race," said Jaeger. "Drivers tell us that they can now focus more on driving without having to think about getting the proper amount of fluids. They delegate that responsibility to the FluidLogic system. The end result is they can focus more, perform better during the race and feel better afterwards.”
Herta, who will also start second on Sunday but behind the wheel of the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda in the Indianapolis 500, described the system as “amazing.”
"It's essential to be well hydrated during the race and it is much easier now to get my water supply and stay hydrated,” Herta said. “Rather than reaching for the water bottle and getting the straw to my mouth, now I press a button on the steering wheel, and water squirts into my mouth through the nozzle mounted on the in-helmet microphone. More importantly, it doesn't distract from my focus.”
Stenhouse was thrilled with his career-high qualifying effort of second at Charlotte. His previous best result was third in 2016. Although he has 16 previous starts at the 1.5-mile track, his two top-five results have come in the last three races at Charlotte.
“The guys gave me a great No. 47 Cottonelle/Kroger Camaro,” Stenhouse said. “I felt like I got to the green really good and through (turns) one and two. I knew down the back straightaway; it was all going to be up to (turns) three and four. I got a little bit tight down in three and four and it just scrubbed a little too much speed.”
“All-in-all, I’m really happy with it. It felt really good in race trim and looking forward to a long race. Starting on the front row with my buddy (Larson). I wish we could have got it, but really happy with our performance.”