With less than 15 laps remaining in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. blew a tire sending the Fastenal Ford hard into the turn two wall resulting in a 32nd-place finish.
”That was a hard hit,” Stenhouse said. “We actually got our Fastenal Ford a little bit better there. We had a little contact early on and blew a right rear and we were battling back. I felt like we could have maybe got three more positions before the end of the race but the tire let go going into two. All in all, we will just try to figure out how to get our cars better for here next time.”
The two-time Xfinity champion rolled off in the 18th position gaining two positions on the start but when the competition yellow was displayed on lap 20 for rain overnight Stenhouse was scored in the 20thposition. The team took the opportunity to work on the tight handling machine taking four tires, fuel and chassis adjustment. Stenhouse steadily worked his way forward despite battling a tight machine to take the first green checkered in the 12th position.
During the stage break, Stenhouse received a pit-road speeding penalty lining him up at the tail end of the field for the restart. After restarting in the 33rd position, the Roush Fenway Racing driver marched his way forward picking up 13 positions by the time the caution flag was displayed on lap 68.
On the restart at lap 72, Stenhouse lined up in the 19th position and as he was jockeying for position he sustained some right side damage ultimately ended up cutting the right rear forcing Stenhouse to pit for an unscheduled green flag pit-stop on lap 80. With only 20 laps remaining in stage two, Stenhouse settled for a 29th place finish.
The Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 28th position for the final 60-lap stage and patiently worked his way up to 21st before having to hit pit-road for a scheduled stop. Stenhouse was steadily marching up through the field before cutting a tire ultimately ending his day with less than 15 laps remaining in Sunday’s 160-lap race.
Next up for Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 team is Michigan International Speedway on June 9. Race coverage begins at 2 p.m. on Fox Sports 1. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.