When a few cars tangled on the start causing a chain reaction, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. suffered major damage to the front of his Sunny D Ford forcing him to settle with a 33rd-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“That was such a bummer,” Stenhouse said. “I was really happy with our SunnyD Ford on Saturday and knew we had a fast car but unfortunately we didn’t get to show that today. We can’t dwell on it and we will keep moving forward.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native holds the best overall finishing average at the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’. After lining up in the 19th position for the 500 lap race, Stenhouse was in the bottom lane moving forward when a couple of cars tangled causing a chain reaction behind them. Unfortunately, Stenhouse wasn’t able to check up in time getting into the rear bumper of the No. 18 machine causing significant damage to the front end of the Sunny D Ford.
After multiple pit stops under the caution flag, the two-time Xfinity champion returned to the track in the 35th position. A few laps into the run, the hood came up forcing NASCAR to black flag the No. 17 machine in which Stenhouse brought his Ford to pit-road for a lengthy stop to secure the hood.
When the caution flag waved on lap 117 right before the stage end, Stenhouse radioed in that he thought he was down a cylinder. After further evaluation, a mechanical issue from the impact sent Stenhouse behind the wall for repair.
Stenhouse returned to the track, the temperatures continued to rise causing water to spew sending him behind the wall once again.
The mangled machine returned to the track 101 laps down but was able to pick up a few positions through attrition to earn a 33rd-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team head to Richmond Raceway for the MENCS race on Saturday, April 7. Race coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.