At the same track that he made his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENSC) start at in 2011, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford to a 15th – place finish in Sunday night’s rain delayed Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We really struggled with the handling tonight,” Stenhouse said. “For a majority of the race we were tight, and then it was like a light switch and our Ford was loose. We definitely made some notes for the race here in the fall since it is in the playoffs. Despite being disappointed with a 15th-place finish, our team is definitely improving and we are being consistent each weekend.”
After barely missing advancement to round three of qualifying, the Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up for the longest race of the season in the 13th position and patiently maneuvered his Ford up to 11th when the first yellow flag waved on lap 19.
Steadily running in the top-15, the two-time XFINITY champion was scored in the 10th position before losing a few positions at the end of stage one due to a tight handling machine.
Mother nature prevailed in the second stage causing NASCAR to red flag the 400-lap race for approximately an hour and a half. Shortly after going back green, Stenhouse told crew chief Brian Pattie that he had a vibration. As the team was waiting on the wall for the Fastenal Ford to hit pit-road, a much needed caution came out to allow the 2013 MENCS Rookie of the Year to pit under yellow flag conditions.
In spite of battling an ill-handling Ford, Stenhouse was scored in the top-15 for the majority of stage two and three.
With a handful of cars gambling with fuel mileage in the final 60 laps, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was able to gain four positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 15th position.