Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his No. 17 Fastenal Ford to a 26th-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR road course race at Sonoma Raceway. Stenhouse’s Fusion was solid on long runs, but suffered on restarts during the 110-lap event.
“We were really good on the long run, if I could save my tires, but I didn’t have any short-run speed,” said Stenhouse after the race. “That really made the restarts tough to not lose any track position, but still not wear out my tires. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board for the road course here, as we experienced some struggles today.”
Stenhouse started the race 26th, but quickly dropped back to 31st after battling a loose car on the start. In what would become a consistent pattern during the race, the team was able to regroup and move back up the field and into the mid 20’s, before getting shuffled back on several restarts and being forced to work their way back through the field.
The two-time XFINITY Series Champion from Olive Branch, Miss. had moved his No 17 machine to 23rd position with just under 20 laps remaining in the race, but a late caution forced another restart, where he was shuffled back to 26th where he finished.
With 16 races in the books, Stenhouse sits at 21st in the Sprint Cup point standings; 33 points outside of 16th and the final Chase position.
The team returns to action next week at Daytona International Speedway for the third restrictor-plate race of the season and the second and final race at the “World Center of Speed.” The race is set for July 2 and will be televised live on NBC.