Sparta, Ky. (July 18, 2008) – The No. 99 Save-A-Lot team was the class of the field at Kentucky Speedway, leading the race by lap 14. However a mid-race spin forced the team to do cosmetic surgery on the Ford diminishing their chances for a win, but not their fight. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and company fought their way back from 27th to finish 13th while maintaining the points lead. A bad night turned descent by a team who continues to impress each and every week.
Chassis #317 (the same car the team won with at Kentucky in May) sported the red, white and blue paint scheme of Save-A-Lot Food Stores for the first time in 2008 at Kentucky Speedway on Friday. Off the truck the No. 99 Save-A-Lot Ford was definitely the car to beat. In a qualifying session riddled with wrecks, Stenhouse clocked in at 30.997 seconds placing him fifth for the start of Friday night’s event. Brian Scott captured the pole with a fast lap time of 30.645 seconds.
Scott led the field to the green flag and before the field entered turn one Stenhouse had already charged his way to second when the first of 10 cautions flew on the lap one. Stenhouse reported that the No. 99 Ford felt a little tight but it was too early to make a determination. The field restarted on lap five and by lap 14 Stenhouse over-powered the No. 25 for the first position.
Stenhouse led the field while the competition shuffled for position behind him. During the fourth restart on lap 31, ARCA veteran Frank Kimmel passed Stenhouse for the lead with the No. 99 settling into third. That’s where the Olive Branch, Miss.-native rode until the No. 09 Ford backed into the wall on lap 46 bringing out caution number six.
The Save-A-Lot team prepared for what they thought would be their one and only pit stop on lap 48. Stenhouse entered the pit box and the team changed four tires, re-fueled and made a track bar adjustment to help correct a minor tight problem. They also fixed a small bend in the front valence where Stenhouse had run over something earlier in the race.
Seven of the top-eight cars did not pit placing Stenhouse ninth for the restart on lap 54. In dramatic fashion Stenhouse began passing the competition in his charge to the front. As the No. 99 went under the No. 25 for position, the air was taken off the No. 99 causing Stenhouse to spin and hit the wall just enough to cause severe cosmetic damage to the right front and left rear of the car. Crew chief Jeff Campey and the team sprung into action bringing Stenhouse down pit road on lap 56 for repairs.
The field received the command to take the green on lap 58 with Stenhouse running 26th. Lap 64 saw a much needed caution for the Save-A-Lot team allowing them to come down pit road three times to finish their cosmetic repairs. All the while Scott Speed, who was second in points, was contending for the win. Not good news for the No. 99 team but Stenhouse knew what he had to do, make lemonade out of a lemon.
The tenacious Stenhouse put his gloves on fighting his way to the front one car at a time. By lap 75 he ran 20th and by lap 82 he was 17th. The ninth caution flew on lap 84 when the No. 23 and No. 60 had a violent wreck on the front stretch causing the field to run all but eight remaining laps under caution. Everyone walked away and the field took the green on lap 93 with Speed and Sean Caisse battling for the lead. Stenhouse eyed a top-10 finish but the lengthy caution hampered his efforts. After a green/white/checkered finish, Stenhouse crossed the line in 13th with Speed claiming the win followed by Caisse and Justin Algaier.
“It was definitely a disappointing night,” said Stenhouse following the race. “I think we had the car to beat I just spun around there and tried hard not to hit the wall but it got me. I want to thank the Save-A-Lot team. They worked really hard to give me the fastest car out there and then again to fix the No. 99 Ford on pit road. It’s just really frustrating. I’m glad we were able to hold on to the points lead though. We need to look ahead to Berlin now.”
Stenhouse maintained his points lead over Speed by 65 points while Matt Carter moved into third. The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to action for some Saturday night short-track racing next week when they visit Berlin Raceway. Catch live timing and scoring on www.arcaracing.com on Saturday, July 26, 2008.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.