Long Pond, Pa. (June 10, 2013)- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. consistently ran in the top 20 for a majority of the Party in the Poconos 400, before being shuffled back after numerous cautions late in the race. The late-race cautions led Stenhouse to take the checkered flag in the 26th-position; the highest finishing rookie.
“The last time I raced at Pocono was in 2008 and the track has changed so much since then,” Stenhouse said. “Practice being rained out on Friday really hurt us because we needed to log laps here. Track position was important because it was so hard to pass and make up ground. We just couldn’t get our Valvoline Ford to turn in three, but we learned a lot that we will bring here next time and improve on our finish.”
After qualifying and practice was rained out on Friday, the field was set by 2013 Owner’s point standings. When the green flag waved for the start of the 160-lap race, the two-time Nationwide champion who started 16th charged forward gaining five positions in one lap. After the race stayed under green conditions, the Sprint Cup rookie slowly fell back as he battled a loose No. 17 Valvoline Ford.
With numerous cautions in the final 40 laps, Scott Graves called Stenhouse to pit-road for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel to ensure that he could go the scheduled distance as the leaders were playing a fuel mileage strategy.
On the final green flag, Stenhouse restarted in the 30th position but was able to gain a few more positions in the final four laps to take the checkered flag in the 26th-position dropping the rookie to 20th in the driver’s point standings, 34 points out of the 10th place.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 16. Race coverage begins at 1 p.m. on TNT. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.