After starting 19th in Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. steadily marched forward driving his SunnyD Ford to a 13th-place finish.
“Overall, we struggled this weekend with the handling,” Stenhouse said. “Our crew did a great job on pit-road today and with strategy, we were able to get a solid finish. We know we are capable of running better, but big picture wise, it was a good weekend for us.”
The SunnyD Ford rolled off the grid in the 19th position where Stenhouse maintained when the first yellow flag was displayed on lap 28. With an ill-handling machine, crew chief Brian Pattie brought the SunnyD Ford to pit-road for four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustment. A speedy pit-stop by the No. 17 crew gained Stenhouse five positions for the restart lining the SunnyD Ford up in the 12th position.
Shortly after the first pit-stop, the two-time Xfinity champion radioed in that he had a vibration. Luckily a caution flag was displayed shortly after allowing Stenhouse to bring his Ford to pit-road for four tires and a chassis adjustment. With differing pit strategies and some cars staying out, Stenhouse took the first green checkered in the 19th position.
After battling a tight machine in stage two, the Olive Branch, Miss. native dropped to 16th by the time the yellow flag waved just three laps shy of the stage end forcing stage two to end under caution.
With a flurry of late race cautions and differing pit strategies, crew Brian Pattie brought Stenhouse to pit-road with 84 laps remaining to top off with fuel in case the race went green. With a top contender running out of gas with five laps remaining, Stenhouse was able to take the checkered flag in the 13th position.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 17. Race coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and NASCAR SIRIUS/XM radio channel 90.