Stenhouse Captures First Top-Five Finish of Season with Fourth-Place Finish at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 19, 2015) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Zest Ford Fusion to a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s rain stricken Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway and jumps three positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver standings. In his last three NSCS starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Stenhouse has scored two top-five finishes and one top-10 finish.
“The Zest Ford was decent all night,” said Stenhouse. “We still need a little bit to go up and contend and lead laps, but we always feel good coming to Bristol. It’s one of my favorite tracks and it was a good night for us. We’ll take a top four and go on to Richmond, hopefully we can keep it going.”
A late race caution forced the race to go into overtime setting up the field for a green-white-checkered finish. With a few competitors being close on fuel, Stenhouse restarted sixth in the preferred outside line and maneuvered his Zest Ford into the fourth position when the checkered flag waved.
After battling a tight machine in qualifying, the two-time XFINITY Champion lined up in the 25th position for the 500-lap race at the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’. At the start of the race, Stenhouse made slight contact with the outside wall causing him to lose a few positions before the red flag was display for rain on lap 22.
After a four hour rain delay, crew chief Nick Sandler brought Stenhouse to pit road under yellow for four fresh tires and a wedge adjustment to help the tight handling machine before the field went back green.
With track position being crucial, Sandler used early pit strategy to gain valuable track position with a two tire pit stop under the competition caution on lap 60. Stenhouse restarted 20th and steadily worked his way up through the field.
After a flurry of late race multi-car accidents cautions, the field was set for a green-white-checkered finish where Stenhouse Jr. picked up two additional positions in the final two laps to score his first top-five finish of the season.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Richmond International Raceway for the NSCS race on Saturday, April 25. Race coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.