Last Lap Accident Forces Stenhouse Jr. to Settle for a 26th-Place Finish at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (May 3, 2015) - Despite being involved in a 15 car accident on lap 47, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was scored in the 13th position when the white flag was displayed but a last lap wreck forced Stenhouse into the outside wall causing the two-time XFINITY champion to settle for a 26th- place finish in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“I really thought we were going to get a decent finish after all we had been through today,” Stenhouse said. “We fought all day because we only had fourth gear due to the accident so my crew had to push me off pit-road after each pit stop. May 3rd is ‘Fifth Third Day’ and I was really hoping we could have gotten a strong finish for them but that’s superspeedway racing.”
After going back to old single car qualifying runs, the Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 29th position for the 188-lap race. Stenhouse maneuvered his Ford up inside the top-five by lap 18 but was shuffled back when he pulled out of line to pass but no one went with the Fifth Third Ford.
On lap 47, a multi-car accident occurred causing front end damage to the Fifth Third Ford. NASCAR displayed the red flag allowing the team to strategize a game plan once the red flag was lifted to repair the battered machine.
While sitting on pit-road, Stenhouse Jr. radioed that he thought he had lost second and third gear due to the accident. Crew chief Nick Sandler sent the 2013 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year back out on track to see if he had a vibration while the field was still under yellow. Stenhouse reported back that he didn’t feel a vibration.
When the final green flag waved on lap 162, Stenhouse Jr, still only with fourth gear, lined up in the 32nd position and quickly bullied his way inside the top 15 in less than six laps. When the white flag waved signaling one lap remaining, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was behind fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola and was going to follow him till the end but the No. 19 spun and Stenhouse was forced in to the outside wall, but was able to limp his Ford across the finish line earning a 26th–place finish.
Next up for the No. 17 team is the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1.