LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Sept. 15, 2019) – After a strong start powering his SunnyD Ford up to the third position after starting 12th in the first five laps, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was running in the sixth-position before having to make an unscheduled pit-stop for a cut tire. After fighting back and getting back on the lead lap, Stenhouse was assessed a pit-road speeding penalty forcing him to settle with a 26th-place finish in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“Our SunnyD Ford was really good there at the start,” Stenhouse said. “I got loose there and got into the wall causing a tire rub. The guys did a great job with strategy getting us back on the lead lap. It ended up being a bummer of a day for us. We just can’t catch a break.”
After qualifying 12th for the 267-lap race, the Olive Branch, Miss. native powered his way inside the top five by lap three where he maintained until the first round of green flag pit-stops on lap 40. Shortly after the green flag pit-stop, the Sunny D Ford snapped loose causing Stenhouse to brush the wall. Due to a tire rub that eventually cut the tire, Stenhouse brought the Sunny D Ford to pit-road for unscheduled two-tire stop. When the first green checkered waved, Stenhouse was scored in the 27th position, one lap down.
After taking the wave around, Stenhouse worked his up to 21st by the time the second green checkered waved despite battling a tight handling condition. With a flurry of cautions early in the final stage, Stenhouse was able to get back on the lead lap.
With four fresh tires and fuel, the two-time Xfinity champion lined up in the 18th position but fell a few positions due to a tight machine. During the final green flag pit-stop cycle, Stenhouse was assessed with a pit-road speeding penalty forcing him to serve a pass-thru penalty under green flag conditions. With less than 40 laps remaining, Stenhouse was unable to rebound forcing him to settle with a 26th-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team head Richmond Raceway next weekend. Race coverage begins Saturday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.