Stenhouse Jr. Scores Top-Five Finish at Phoenix
AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 19, 2017) – When the final yellow flag was displayed sending the Camping World 500 into overtime, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used pit strategy in the final laps to score his first top-five of the 2017 season in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Phoenix Raceway.
“That was a great run for our Fastenal team,” Stenhouse said. “We made a lot of changes overnight that really helped us turn. Everything stayed together. This is a big test for Doug (Yates) and Roush Yates Engines. They did their job and did their research from our test here when we had some issues. I am really proud of the whole team.
“We have had some bad luck but today was fun. I thought we made our car better throughout the race and it has been awhile since we’ve done that so I was pretty happy.”
After battling a tight machine in Friday’s qualifying session, the two-time XFINITY champion started the 312-lap race in the 21st position. Stenhouse was able to gain a few positions before the end of stage one despite battling a tight center but loose off condition.
At the beginning of stage three, the Olive Branch, Miss. native radioed in that he thought he might have a loose wheel. Crew chief Brian Pattie told him to let him know if it got worse but a timely caution came out allowing the Fastenal Ford to pit for four fresh Goodyear tires.
As the laps dwindled down, Stenhouse patiently maneuvered his way through the field and was scored in the top-10 with less than 60 laps remaining.
When the final caution was displayed sending the race into overtime, the 2013 MENCS Rookie of the Year was scored in 11th position but majority of the leaders pitted lining Stenhouse up in the second position for final laps. Despite being on older tires, Stenhouse was able to drive his Fastenal Ford to a fourth-place finish scoring his first top-five of the season.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 26. 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.