While running in the fifth position with 21 laps remaining in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Michigan International Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. suffered a flat right rear tire resulting in an 18th-place finish.
“We struggled with a balance today on our GoBowling.com Ford,” Stenhouse said. “First ten laps it would be super tight, then all of sudden really loose. The right rear going flat late in the race was costly but we were still able to salvage a decent finish. We are testing Chicago this week to get ready for the playoffs in a few weeks.”
In Ford and Roush Industries back yard, the two-time XFINITY champion started the 200-lap race in the 14th position where he maintained until late in stage one when the handling of GoBowling Ford turned to the tight condition. Stenhouse ultimately salvaged a 19th-place finish at the end of the stage.
With stage one and two going caution free, pit strategy became a factor. In hopes of a caution, crew chief Brian Pattie kept Stenhouse out on the track as long as possible before having to stop for fuel. Once the pit stops cycled through, the Olive Branch, Miss. native was scored in the 19th position when the green checkered waved to complete stage two.
With 21 laps remaining, Stenhouse was running in the fifth position when he had to bring his Ford to pit-road for a flat right rear tire under green flag conditions, costing him one lap to the leaders.
With a flurry of late-race cautions, the Roush Fenway Racing driver was able to get back on the lead lap and gain four positions in the closing laps to earn an 18th-place finish.