Ricky Stenhouse battled through an early incident at Martinsville Speedway to earn a 10th–place finish in his Fifth Third Ford Fusion, tying his best career finish at the Virginia short track.
“Hats off to the team for getting us where we needed to be by the end of the race,” said Stenhouse. ”Brian Pattie and the crew never gave up throughout this weekend and we recovered from that wreck at the beginning to have a good finish here.”
Stenhouse began the 500-lap race from the 22nd positon but lost a few positions early on due to a loose handling machine. On Lap 36, two cars tangled in front of Stenhouse causing the Fifth Third Ford to spin. The crew feverishly worked to repair the minimal damage costing the two-time XFINITY champion to lose a lap to the leaders.
After working his way into the free pass position, the Olive Branch, Miss. native caught a much- needed caution allowing him to regain his lap. Despite having to start at the tail end of the field, Stenhouse patiently worked his way up through the field earning a 27th-place finish in stage one.
After a quick stop by the pit crew, Stenhouse gained three positions on pit road lining the Fifth Third Ford up in the 24th position for stage two. With a caution free stage two, Stenhouse steadily worked his way through the field taking the green-checkered in the 19th position.
Stenhouse began the third and final stage of the race from the 20th position, which he maintained until the yellow flag was displayed on Lap 302. After taking the wave around with less than 200 laps remaining, the 2017 NASCAR Playoff contender restarted 18th and caught another break when a quick caution was displayed allowing Stenhouse to bring his Fifth Third Ford to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment.
Those adjustments would prove to be exactly what Stenhouse needed to finish strong, as his Ford Fusion sprang to life as the sunset at Martinsville Speedway, and the newly installed lights at the track were put to use for the first time ever. Stenhouse would continually push the pace and advance positions at the short track, eventually netting a 10th-place finish for the Mississippi native. The finish ties Stenhouse’s best-ever at the track, set in the spring race this year.