Despite making contact with the outside wall with 35 laps remaining in Saturday night’s GoBowling.com 400 at Kansas Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. bullied his way back picking up four spots in the final laps to take the checkered flag in the 13th position.
“It definitely isn’t what I felt like we deserved,” Stenhouse said. “I thought we had a top-10 car. We just have to clean up everything from pit stops to getting the car a little bit better throughout the race. We kind of just maintained. We have to be able to work on it to get it faster throughout the race, but, all in all, we had a decent day with the Zest Ford. I’m glad we’re upset with 13th-place finishes, so we’ll continue to get better.”
After advancing to round three of qualifying on Friday, the Olive Branch, Miss. native started the 267-lap race in the ninth position where he maintained until the first caution flag was displayed on lap 22. With differing pit strategies and an ill-handling Zest Ford, Stenhouse fell a few positions early on but steadily ran in the top-15 for a majority of the race.
While running in the 12th position with less than 35 laps remaining, Stenhouse was battling a loose machine which caused him to make contact with the outside wall bringing out the caution flag. The team worked feverishly to clear the fenders on the Zest machine and to keep the two-time XFINITY champion on the lead lap.
After restarting in the 17th position, Stenhouse was marching up through the field when a multi-car accident occurred in front of him causing the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year to flat spot the left front tire forcing him to bring his Zest Ford to pit road when it was open.
With four fresh Goodyear tires, Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the 14th position for the final 19 lap shoot-out but the handling of his machine turned tight forcing him to settle with a 13th-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Dover International Speedway next weekend for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism. Race coverage will air on Sunday at 1 pm EST on FOX Sports 1.