After having to start from the rear of the field due to going to a back-up car, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rebounded and was running in the top-five before a mechanical issue ended his day with less than 20 laps remaining in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Texas Motor Speedway. After leading 10 laps, Stenhouse settled for a 25th –place finish.
“Our SunnyD Ford was really strong today,” Stenhouse said. “It was just unfortunate to have that issue so late in the race when we were running in the top-five. Hopefully we can get all this bad luck out of the way. Next week we head to Bristol which is one of my favorite tracks.”
After having to start from the rear due to going to a back-up car, the Olive Branch, Miss. native gained 13 positions before the first yellow flag was displayed on lap two for a multi-car accident. Steadily marching his way through the field, Stenhouse took the green-checkered flag ending stage one in the 13th position.
After restarting stage two in the 12th position, the two-time Xfinity champion bullied his way forward despite battling a tight handling machine scoring an eighth-place finish in stage two picking up valuable stage points.
When the green flag waved at the start of the final stage, Stenhouse was scored in the eighth position steadily maintaining top-10 track position throughout the duration of the final stage. With less than 60 laps remaining in the 334-lap race, the 2017 Playoffs contender made slight contact with the outside wall due to an ill-handling machine.
With other leaders pitting under green flag conditions, crew chief Brian Pattie long pitted giving Stenhouse the lead for 10 laps before the yellow flag waved for a one-car incident. With only five cars on the lead lap, the Roush Fenway Racing driver hit pit-road for four tires and to pull the right side fenders.
Under the caution laps, Stenhouse radioed that he felt like he didn’t have any brakes or something was amiss. After going back green with 24 laps remaining, Stenhouse was forced to bring his Sunny D Ford to pit-road. After further evaluation, the mechanical issue forced Stenhouse to settle with a 25th-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 next Sunday, April 15.
RFR PR/Photo Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images