Stenhouse Jr. Finishes Ninth at Talladega after Leading 32 Laps
TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 14, 2019) – After leading 32 laps in the rain postponed 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled back to earn a ninth-place finish in his SunnyD Ford after sustaining damage while battling for the lead in typical three-wide superspeedway racing with eight laps remaining.
“It’s nice being that close,” Stenhouse said. “We put ourselves in the right positions, got to control the race for a little while. I felt like my spotter and I did a really good job blocking the right lines at the right time and just trying to learn for the end of that race. That one restart we picked the bottom and I don’t know if that hurt us and it let the 1 get to the outside and the third lane formed, so, all in all, we had a really fast car. I’m bummed we couldn’t finish it off. There at the end I felt like we were still plenty fast enough to get the job done, but I just ran out of laps to get back up there.”
After qualifying in the seventh position for the 188-lap race, the Olive Branch, Miss. native steadily ran in the top-10 for a majority of the 55-lap stage. With rain moving in, Stenhouse was able to work his way up to fourth when the first green checkered waved. The rain prevailed postponing the remainder of the race to Monday afternoon.
After restarting fourth on Monday afternoon, the two-time Xfinity champion was running in the third position when the Fords pitted for a scheduled green flag pit stop. As he was coming to pit-road, he sped on entry and was trapped on the outside unable to complete the pit-stop forcing him to pit once again for fuel trapping him one lap down. When the second green-checkered flag waved, Stenhouse was scored in the 27th position.
Luckily a much needed caution came on lap 121 allowing Stenhouse to get back on the lead lap. After restarting in the 24th position, the 2017 Talladega winner patiently maneuvered his SunnyD Ford up to fifth place within six laps before the caution flag waved once again on lap 131.
While battling for the lead three wide with seven laps remaining, a multi-car accident occurred when the No. 18 who was on the outside of Stenhouse got loose and made contact with the No. 62 who was in the third lane. As the No. 62 was coming down the track, he made contact with Stenhouse causing right side damage. Crew chief Brian Pattie called Stenhouse to pit-road to assess the damage. With all the carnage from the ‘Big One’, the red flag was displayed giving the team time to check over the SunnyD Ford.
With the race ending in a green-white-checkered finish, Stenhouse restarted 14th and quickly diced his way from lane to lane to charge forward but ran out of laps taking the checkered flag in the ninth-position. Stenhouse and the No. 17 team head to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400. The race is set for Sunday, Oct. 20. Coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on NBC