LONG POND, Pa. (Aug. 2, 2015)- After starting in the 34th position, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gained seven positions in the first 15 laps before the No. 9 machine slowed in the high groove leaving Stenhouse Jr. nowhere to go. The damage on his Ford Ecoboost Ford was irreparable leaving Stenhouse Jr. with a 41st-place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pocono Raceway.
“Everything was happening real fast,” Stenhouse said after being released from infield care. “I saw the No. 9 in turn three run up the track and I thought he just got loose and everything was fine but getting into turn one the car in front of me ducked out at the last minute and there was the No. 9 sitting there and I got on the brakes really hard. I think it got on the splitter and couldn’t go left or right and I just ran right into him. It is not a good day for us. I thought I had a car that could pass some other cars and we did that until that yellow and then we got shuffled back. We thought we would have a better day than that.
“We started off the weekend really slow and struggling with the handing of our cars,” Stenhouse continued. “We got it better at the end of final practice and made it up to 27th there during that caution and then we came in and took fuel and were coming back through there and got involved in that wreck. It is a frustrating weekend and a frustrating year but we will continue to work to get our cars better and continue to plug away.”
After battling a loose Ford in qualifying, Stenhouse Jr. started in the 34th position gaining three positions in the first five laps and steadily moved up through the field. When the competition yellow was displayed on lap 15, the two-time XFINITY champion was scored in the 27th position.
With fuel mileage always a factor at Pocono, crew chief Nick Sandler chose to bring Stenhouse down pit-road for a splash of fuel during the third caution of the day. On the next restart, the No. 9 machine slowed in the high groove leaving Stenhouse Jr. nowhere to go forcing him to settle with a 41st-place finish.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International Speedway on Sunday, August 9. Race coverage begins at 2 p.m. on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.