After multiple attempts to make the inside lane work despite most of the pack riding in a single file line, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. restarted eighth for the final green white checkered finish jockeying his way to take the checkered flag in the fourth position. Stenhouse will roll off in his Fastenal Ford in the ninth position for the 60th running of the Daytona 500; a career best start for the two-time XFINITY champion.
“That was fun,” Stenhouse said. “I felt like I could do anything I wanted with our Fastenal Ford since it was handling so well. Our Ford was really fast. I was working the lines by myself trying to get to the front. It seemed everyone just wanted to run around on the outside. I feel really good about our Ford come Sunday. We can still make it a little bit better. We will go to work and maybe do a little bit of drafting between now and Sunday. After the strength we had in our Clash car and this one, I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native started the 60-lap shootout in the fifth position where he maintained until the first caution flag waved for a multi-car accident on lap eight.
Crew chief Brian Pattie called Stenhouse to pit-road for fuel only to keep their track position. The Fastenal Ford gained two positions in the strategy call restarting in the third position.
While the field was in a single file line, the Roush Fenway Racing driver jumped out hoping others would go with him but with no takers Stenhouse dropped to the tail end of the single car draft.
When the final caution flag waved sending the race into overtime setting up a green white checkered finish, the two-time XFINITY champion restarted in the eighth position. With one to go, Stenhouse jumped to the outside line with a lot of momentum picking up four positions in the final lap to take the checkered flag in the fourth position.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team will start the Daytona 500 in the ninth position. The 500 will be televised on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. EST on FOX. The race can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.