DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2019) – After leading a total of 16 laps and finishing fifth in stage two, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. overcame adversity to earn a 13th-place finish in his Fastenal Ford Mustang in Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
“It’s a bummer,” Stenhouse said, “Our Fastenal Ford was really strong all day. It all started going downhill after the incident on pit-road but overall it was a decent weekend for us in the big picture as far as points. I’m proud of our team and organization on the cars we brought down here for speedweeks. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
After earning a career best fifth-place starting position for the prestigious Daytona 500, the Olive Branch, Miss. quickly muscled his Ford into the point position where he maintained until a scheduled green flag stop for fuel only.
After an untimely caution came out four laps later, crew chief Brian Pattie chose to stay out allowing Stenhouse to reclaim the lead for the restart. In typical plate racing, Stenhouse got shuffled back to 12th by the time the first green checkered flag waved.
During the stage break, the team took the time to make an adjustment on the loose-handling Fastenal Ford. When the green flag waved at the start of stage two, the two-time Xfinity champion lined up in the 24th position and quickly marched his way forward working his way up to 15th by the time the yellow flag was displayed on lap 106. When the green flag waved for a nine lap shootout to the end of stage two, Stenhouse restarted in the 17th position but bullied his way forward gaining valuable stage points with his fifth-place finish in stage two.
On lap 159, Stenhouse relinquished second place for a scheduled green flag pit-stop, but as he was making his approach to pit-road multiple cars tangled sending the 17 Ford for a spin. NASCAR assessed the team with penalty for pitting to soon forcing Stenhouse to the tail end of the field for the restart on lap 167.
With 10 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, the ‘Big One’ occurred but Stenhouse was able to weave through with minimal damage to his Ford. Once the red flag was lifted, Pattie brought Stenhouse to pit-road for four tires and fuel but was hit with another penalty sending him to the rear of the field once again.
After restarting 15th with six laps remaining, Stenhouse was caught in an accident resulting in significant damage to the Fastenal Ford. After a series of late-race cautions, Stenhouse was able to limp his Ford home to a 13th-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. The race will be Sunday, February 24 with coverage beginning at 2 p.m. (EST) on FOX.
via Roush Fenway Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2019) – After rolling off in the 10th position in his Fastenal Ford Mustang for the Gander RV Duel 1, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scored a second-place finish earning a career-best starting position of fifth for the Daytona 500.“That was a great start for the Mustang, finishing 1-2-3 there,” Stenhouse said. “I was just talking to Paul (Menard) and I spent the last 25 laps just trying to figure out how to time it right where I could get a run on Kevin (Harvick) and just couldn’t seem to time it. We didn’t have as many cars out here tonight as we will have come Sunday. All in all, a really strong night for us. We wanted to be in victory lane, but we learned a lot and I think we can make our Fastenal Ford better. It was handling a little bad there in the middle part of the race - a little loose. When I restarted on the bottom I felt I could be aggressive with it and that gives me confidence for Sunday.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native started the 60-lap shootout in the 10th position but quickly worked his way inside the top five by lap 12 when all the Fords brought their Mustangs to pit-road for fuel only stops.
Once the green flag pit-stop cycled through, the two-time Xfinity champion was scored in the third position before the caution flag waved on lap 27. Despite the car being a handful, crew chief Brian Pattie chose to stay out for track position and the opportunity to work with the other Fords.
With 30 laps remaining in Duel 1, Stenhouse restarted in the third position but worked his way up to second after working with fellow Ford driver Kevin Harvick on the inside lane. The top six cars rode single file until the final lap when the No. 21 got a run but Stenhouse was able to edge him out earning a runner-up finish lining him up in the fifth position for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
The Daytona 500 will be televised on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EST on FOX. The race can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.
Via Roush Fenway Racing