Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a strong Fastenal Ford Fusion in Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash kickoff event at Daytona International Speedway, and he was poised for a run at the win before a controversial penalty relegated the No. 17 to a 16th-place finish in the all-star event.
While racing with the leaders, Stenhouse had a run on the No. 18 machine diving to the inside but the 18 came down causing the Roush Fenway Racing driver to go below the double yellow line. NASCAR ultimately deemed that despite being forced below the line that the No. 17 gained position and Stenhouse had to serve a pass thru penalty. With no drafting partner, he eventually lost a lap and was never able to recover.
“Our Fastenal Ford was really strong today,” Stenhouse said. “We will have to get clarity from NASCAR on the rule because I thought we were forced down there. Luckily, this was a non-points race so the penalty didn’t hurt as much. Our Fastenal Ford has been strong all week so I’m looking forward to next weekend and seeing what we can do in the Daytona 500
After a fan random draw for starting positions, the two-time XFINITY champion lined up in the eighth position for his fourth career Advance Auto Parts Clash and steadily ran in the top-10 for a majority of the first 25 laps.
When the caution was displayed on lap 25, the Olive Branch, Miss. native was scored in the second position. With the new pit crew rules in place, Stenhouse brought his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for four tires and fuel.
After the penalty, with the race going caution free, Stenhouse lost a lap to the leaders ultimately resulting in a 16th-place finish.
Next up for Stenhouse is the Can-Am Duels where he will roll off fifth in Duel 1.