Despite battling an ill-handling machine and brake issues for a majority of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Pocono Raceway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled to the end to take the checkered flag in the 22nd position.
“We brought some different stuff this weekend,” Stenhouse said. “We just struggled all weekend. I was really hoping the race was going to stay green at the end there since we struggled on restarts. Definitely not the showing we wanted but we have five races left to get this 17 team into the Playoffs.”
After starting in the 17th position, the Olive Branch, Miss. native fell a few positions early on to cars that qualified initially in the top-10 but failed post-qualifying tech inspection, which required them to start the 160-lap race from the rear. With stage one going caution free, Stenhouse Jr. took the green-checkered in the 20th position.
Half-way through stage two, the 2017 Playoff contender brought his Ford Performance Ford to pit-road for a scheduled green flag pit-stop but the caution flag waved shortly after trapping Stenhouse one lap down. Luckily the Roush Fenway Racing driver was in the lucky dog position allowing him to get back on the lead lap. When the green checkered waved at the end of stage two, Stenhouse was scored in the 20th position.
When the caution flag waved with six laps remaining, Stenhouse was scored in the 17th position. On the next restart, the two-time XFINITY champion spun due to a brake issue sending the race into overtime. Luckily there was no damage to the No. 17 Ford allowing Stenhouse to line up in the 22nd position for the final green white checkered where he was able to hold on to taking the checkered flag.
Next up for Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 team is the GoBowling.Com at Watkins Glen International on August 5. Race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. on NBC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.
RFR PR/Photo Credit Sarah Crabill/Getty Images