Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled through 500 grueling laps at Martinsville Speedway to finish 25th in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at the half-mile track.
The two-time Xfinity Series Champion started the race from the 24th position in his Fastenal Ford Mustang and immediately began working his way forward. By the first caution of the race on lap 65, Stenhouse had navigated to the 19th spot. It was then that crew chief Brian Pattie brought the Ford Mustang down pit road for the first pit stop of the day.
The handling of the Fastenal Mustang soon began to deteriorate, with Stenhouse complaining of a tight-handling race car. The Mississippian began to fade backwards in the pack, ultimately giving way to the leaders and falling one lap down just before the end of the first stage. As the first car not on the lead lap, Stenhouse received the lucky dog and would restart for the second stage from the 25th position, but on the lead lap.
Stenhouse struggled to improve his position from that point on, and the handling of his car continued to present issues for the team. He would lose a lap again to the leaders before the end of the second stage at lap 260, taking the green-white checkered flag 26th.
A stellar pit stop from the Fastenal crew put Stenhouse back into the lucky dog position, but an extended green flag run left him unable to capitalize on the free pass. He would ultimately fall a second lap down to the leaders and finish the 500 lap race 25th.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 31. Race coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.