Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was stifled by a starting position at the rear and could not advance through the field in Monday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Martinsville Speedway, ultimately finishing 37th in the 263-mile event.
“We really struggled throughout the day,” said Stenhouse. “Not being able to practice with our backup car really hurt us and we couldn’t ever get the car going in the right direction.”
Stenhouse made contact with the wall during Saturday afternoon’s practice session, totaling his Fastenal Ford Fusion and forcing the Olive Branch, Miss. driver to a backup car. Per NASCAR rules, he also had to begin Monday’s race in the back of the field.
Stenhouse was unable to move forward through the field as his Fastenal Ford Fusion struggled to turn on the .526-mile racetrack and he lost a lap to the leaders before the competition caution at Lap 50. The team would take the wave-around to get their lap back during the caution.
A long green-flag run prevented Stenhouse from coming to pit road for adjustments on his car and the handling worsened throughout the race. Stenhouse ended the first stage four laps down and in 37th place. Stage two was no different, as no caution flags flew and Stenhouse finished 36th, nine laps down to the leaders. Another green flag run trapped Stenhouse and he was unable to make up any ground on the field. He finished the 500-lap race in 37th.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 8. Race coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. on FOX Sports 1. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.