Richmond, Va. (April 29, 2013)- Despite an ill-handling race car, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in his first Sprint Cup start at Richmond International Raceway earned a hard-fought 16th-place finish in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400.
“We were either really loose or really tight on every run,” Stenhouse said. “The No. 17 team did an awesome making all the adjustments during the pit-stops. I think we took big swings at the set-up every pit stop but nothing really helped so we will take a look at it when we get back to the shop. Not the finish we wanted but all in all a good day for No. 17 Zest team.”
Leading the Roush Fenway qualifying efforts, Stenhouse took the green flag in the 12th-position but slowly fell outside the top-20 due to a loose handling machine. The No. 17 Zest Ford was not adapting to any of the adjustments early on in the 400-lap race.
With numerous cautions in the final 100 laps, the Olive Branch, Miss. native wheeled his way inside the top-20 with less than 50 laps to go.
When the caution flag waved on lap 393 setting up a green-white-checkered finish, crew chief Scott Graves called the Sprint Cup rookie to pit-road for four fresh Goodyear tires and one final chassis adjustment in hopes to allow Stenhouse to gain a few more positions during the closing laps.
When the final green flag waved, the two-time Nationwide champion maneuvered through the pack gaining three additional positions in the final two laps to take the checkered flag in the 16th-position.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 5. Race coverage begins at 12:00p.m.on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.