After blowing a right front tire early in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at ISM Raceway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. overcame adversity to score a 19th-place finish in his NOS Energy Drink Ford.
“We just struggled all weekend honestly,” Stenhouse said. “We could never really get the right handling on our NOS Energy Drink Ford. I’m still proud of my guys has they never gave up despite going a lap down due to the tire issue. I’m looking forward to Homestead next week and finishing my season out strong,”
After lining up in the 24th position for the 312-lap race, the two-time Xfinity champion patiently maneuvered his way forward picking up six positions by lap 49 despite having radio issues. Stenhouse could hear crew chief Brian Pattie and spotter Mike Herman Jr. but the team was unable to hear him. Unfortunately, the first caution flag was displayed due to Stenhouse blowing a right front tire.
Crew chief Brian Pattie immediately called him to pit-road for four tires, pull the fenders, and hopefully fix the radio issues. When the race went back green, Stenhouse was scored in the 32nd position, one lap down. When the first green checkered waved, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was scored in the 30th position.
With a caution free stage two, Stenhouse was able to gain three additional positions despite battling a tight machine taking the second green checkered in the 27th position.
When the caution flag waved on lap 166, Stenhouse’s perseverance paid off edging out Alex Bowman by a nose length to earn the lucky dog position to get back on the lead lap. Crew chief Brian Pattie called the Olive Branch, Miss. native to pit-road for four tires, fuel, and to make sure all the fenders were cleared. Stenhouse steadily worked his way forward and was shown in the 18th position when the caution flag waved on lap 303 setting up a three-lap shootout.
After staying out and taking the wave around, Stenhouse lined up in the 18th position but with three and four wide racing to the finish, Stenhouse was forced to settle with a 19th-place finish at ISM Raceway.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday Nov. 17. Race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on NBC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and NASCAR SIRIUS/XM radio channel 90.