In the backyard of Roush Performance, Jack Roush, and Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. earned a 27th -place finish at Michigan International Speedway after battling an ill-handling machine for a majority of the Pure Michigan 400.
“We struggled with our straightaway speed in this package,” Stenhouse said. “Our Ford just progressively got looser during each run. The race went green for a while so it was hard to get back on the lead lap. Definitely not the day we were looking for but we will go back to the drawing board and hopefully can make some gains for later in the season.”
From the beginning of the race, the Olive Branch, Miss. native battled a machine that was loose in but tight center. On lap 20, NASCAR held a competition caution for teams due to rain overnight. The timely caution allowed the team to work on the handling of the Zest Ford.
With long green flag runs and differences in pit strategy, the two-time XFINITY champion pitted multiple times before the final caution was displayed on lap 186 to correct the loose handling condition but nothing seemed to affect the Zest Ford.
When the final green flag waved setting up a nine lap shootout, Stenhouse lined up in the 24th position but lost several positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 27th position.
Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 team travel to Darlington next weekend. The Bojangles’ Southern 500 will be broadcast live on NBC with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EST. The race can also be heard on MRN as well as Sirius channel 90.