In the final road course race of the 2014 season, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. overcame adversity to earn a 20th-place finish in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.
“Road courses aren’t my specialty,” Stenhouse said. “We could have probably finished better but we had a rear axle cap that was missing that forced us to pit-road which through us off our pit strategy. We will take it though and go to Michigan and hopefully have a strong run in Jack’s backyard.”
After qualifying in the 21st-starting position at the 2.45-mile track, the two-time NASCAR Nationwide champion ran consistently inside the top-20 for the first half of the 90-lap race.
The red flag was displayed on lap 56 due to a massive wreck between the No. 31 and the No. 95 machine forcing an hour and twenty-five minute delay to fix the guard rail.
Under the red flag, the No. 17 team discovered that the left rear axle was missing the cap. Once the race resumed, the Olive Branch, Mississippi native brought his Ford Ecoboost Ford to pit road for repair and four fresh tires since he would be starting at the tail end of the field but still on the lead lap.
With a couple of cautions and another red flag in the final 10 laps, the 2013 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year patiently maneuvered his Ford up through the field to take the checkered flag in the 20th position.