With Dog’s Most Wanted WGNA adorning his No. 17 Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. worked his way inside the top-15 before being plagued with a mechanical issue forcing him to settle with a 33rd-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Darlington Raceway.
“We struggled in practice on Friday,” Stenhouse said. “The guys made some good changes throughout the race, and we were working our way up through the field. Unfortunately, we had an issue that forced us to pit multiple times and put us laps down.”
After rain delayed the start of the Southern 500 in front of a sold out crowd, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rolled off the grid in the 21st position. He maintained his position despite battling a tight machine when the competition yellow waved on lap 35 for the earlier downpour. The crew made multiple adjustments throughout the 100-lap stage allowing Stenhouse to take the first green checkered in the 22nd position.
After getting assessed with a safety violation forcing the two-time Xfinity champion to the rear of the field for the start of a stage two, Stenhouse patiently worked his way forward picking up 10 positions by the time the caution was displayed on lap 140. The last track bar and wedge adjustment was just what the Olive Branch, Miss. native was looking for asking crew chief Brian Pattie to go the same direction.
After patiently working his way up inside the top-15, Stenhouse felt he had a mechanical issue forcing him to bring his Ford to pit-road for an unscheduled pit-stop just 25 laps shy of stage two completion. The team worked feverishly but Stenhouse lost one lap to the leaders. As he was racing to get the lucky dog position, the caution was displayed ultimately ending stage two under the yellow flag.
Shortly after the start of the final 167-lap stage, the mechanical issue arose once again causing Stenhouse to go multiple laps down forcing him to settle with a 33rd-place finish.
The No. 17 team heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the final race before the playoffs begins. The Brickyard 400 will be televised on Sept. 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm E.T on NBCSN. Race coverage can also be heard on SIRIUS channel 90.