Despite running in the top-12 for a majority of the 500-lap race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s night was cut short after the No.12 cut a tire sending him into the Fastenal Ford. The crew worked feverishly to repair the damage but was unable to meet NASCAR’s minimum speed policy forcing Stenhouse to settle with a 33rd-place finish in Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“It was a bummer of a weekend,” Stenhouse said. We put ourselves in the top 10 towards the end of the race and it just didn’t work out. The 8 and 12 got together and made contact, but I didn’t think it was gonna blow Blaney’s right-front that quick. Unfortunately, it did and trapped us between the wall. It’s just racing.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 15th position after battling a tight condition during qualifying on Friday evening. When the first caution waved on lap 79, Stenhouse was once again battling a tight machine. The adjustments seemed to help Stenhouse allowing him to gain two more positions before the first green checkered waved scoring Stenhouse in the 15th position.
During the stage break, the two-time Xfinity champion pitted for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment. After restarting 16th for the second 125-lap stage, Stenhouse patiently maneuvered his way forward picking up four positons before the caution flag waved once again.
Crew chief Brian Pattie brought the Fastenal Ford back to pit-road for another round of adjustments. The adjustments seemed to help allowing Stenhouse to work his way inside the top 10 before the caution flag was displayed a few laps shy of the end of stage two. Pattie chose to forego stage points and bring the Fastenal Ford to pit-road once again. With a two-lap shootout to the end of the stage, Stenhouse took the second green-checkered in the 13th position.
After staying out during the stage break, the Roush Fenway Racing driver lined up in the eighth position for the final 250-lap stage. Stenhouse was scored in the top-12 for the entirety of the final stage until the No. 12 machine blew a right front forcing him into Stenhouse who was in the outside line.
The crew worked feverishly to repair the damage but was unable to meet minimum speed forcing Stenhouse to settle with a 33rd– place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team have a weekend off before heading to Darlington Raceway for the MENCS race on Sunday, September 1. Race coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.