FORT WORTH, Tx. (March 31, 2019) – Despite battling an ill-handling machine for a majority of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford to a 16th-place finish.
“We struggled with the handling today,” Stenhouse said. “Our Fastenal Ford was just too loose for a majority of the race. We probably would have finished a few positions higher but unfortunately we got a penalty that last stop. We will go back and look at what we need to improve on and be ready for Kansas.”
After rolling off in the 17th position for the 334-lap race, the Olive Branch, Mississippi, native gained three positions in the first 14 laps before the yellow flag was displayed. Crew chief Brian Pattie opted to take two tires under the caution. With the remainder of the stage going green and another scheduled green flag pit-stop, Stenhouse Jr. took the first green checkered in the 21st position.
Due to penalty during the caution, the two-time Xfinity champion had to line up at the tail end of the field for the restart. Still battling a loose handling machine, Stenhouse caught a lucky break when the caution waved on lap 148 trapping some of the leaders a lap down. With 12 laps remaining in stage two, Stenhouse restarted in the 10thposition and was able to work his way up to seventh by the time the second green checkered waved earning valuable stage points.
When the green flag waved at the start of the final stage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver started in the fifth position after staying out under the stage break. Due to other competitors having fresher tires, Stenhouse dropped to 13th by the time he brought his Ford to pit-road for four tires and fuel.
As he was working his way through the field, the caution flag waved scoring Stenhouse in the 16th position. Under the caution, Pattie brought the Ford to pit-road for tires and fuel and another chassis adjustment in hopes to help with the loose handling condition.
As green flag pit-stops were cycling though, Stenhouse forfeited his fourth position to bring his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for his final scheduled pit-stop. As he was leaving pit-road, he was penalized for speeding on exit forcing him to serve a pass thru penalty. With few laps remaining, Stenhouse was forced to settle with a 16th-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 next Sunday, April 7.
via Roush Fenway Racing
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