After earning his best career starting positon at Sonoma Raceway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. suffered severe right front damage to his Fastenal Ford after a couple of cars tangled in front of him forcing him to settle with a 38th- place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race.
“They were three-wide in front of us trying to go through turn 4 which never works,” Stenhouse said afterwards. “They were all dive-bombing each other and then the 10 got spinning and I tried to go low and she just kept coming down the track. We just clipped it a little bit and tore the left front up too bad to continue. It is a bummer for our day. We felt like we had probably a decent Sonoma car for us. Really just wanted to get out there and make laps. I thought we were decent on the long run, just trying to get there.”
After starting the 110—lap race from the 22nd position, the two-time XFINITY champion and crew chief Brian Pattie adopted a conservative tire management strategy, opting to stay out during the first caution of the race on lap 13. One of only 15 cars to stay out, Stenhouse restarted in the fifth position but newer tires prevailed as Stenhouse was fighting a tight handling condition. After pitting on Lap 22, the Olive Branch, Miss. native would finish the first stage of the race in 38th place.
The Fastenal Ford lined up in the 21st position when the race resumed for the second stage on Lap 29. Due to aggressive driving on the restart, an incident occurred due to three wide racing causing the No. 10 machine to spin. As Stenhouse was trying to avoid the wreck, contact with the No. 10 damaged the right front fender ultimately ending his day as the damage was too severe to repair with the new NASCAR five-minute damage policy.