Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was solidly running in the top 15 when a cut right front tire derailed his day. Over the 500 laps, Stenhouse had multiple tire issues forcing him to settle with a 24th-place finish in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“This is by far one of the fastest cars we have ever brought to Bristol. We aren’t certain why we had so many issues with the right front tire but we will look at it more at the shop. It’s just a bummer. Our Fastenal Ford was really strong. I just wish we could have gotten up there to contend with those guys.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native holds the best overall finishing average at the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’. After lining up in the 12thposition for the 500-lap race, Stenhouse Jr. gained five positions on the start before the caution flag was displayed on lap two.
By the time the competition yellow was displayed on lap 60 for rain overnight, Stenhouse had maneuvered his Ford up to the third position and was reeling in first and second place. After a speedy pit-stop by the ‘Blue Team” sending the Fastenal Ford first off pit-road, Stenhouse was assessed with a pit-road speeding penalty forcing him to start at the tail end of the field.
After restarting in the 27th position on lap 66, the two-time Xfinity champion bullied his way through the field picking up 13 positions by lap 100. Unfortunately, with three laps remaining in stage one, Stenhouse was forced to pit-road due to a cut right front tire. When the green checkered waved at the end of the stage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was scored in the 29th position with a two lap deficit.
Crew chief Brian Pattie told Stenhouse to stay out during the stage break and take the wave around allowing him to get one lap back to the leaders. As he was battling for the lucky dog position, once again Stenhouse had another right front tire issue forcing him to pit-road for an unscheduled pit-stop.
Over the course of the 500-lap race, Stenhouse Jr. experienced four tire issues forcing him to settle with a 24th place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team have a weekend off before heading to Darlington Raceway for the MENCS race on Sunday, September 2. Race coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.
RFR PR/Photo Credit Sean Gardner/Getty Images