Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 7, 2013) – After multiple cautions in the closing laps at Daytona International Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the seventh-position for the final green-white-checkered finish and battled for an 11th-place finish as the field was spinning around him coming to the checkered flag of the Coke Zero 400. The rookie moved up two positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver’s point standings; sitting 33 points out of 10th place.
“I had one to the inside of me on that final restart,” Stenhouse said. “I thought I was going to get shuffled back to about 15th there, and I saw the 88 form a line up top in the mirror and I saw the 10 was with him and had some good cars pushing him, so I thought they were going get by me. Then all of a sudden a few of them got turned down the race track and I think the 10 spun right in front of me and then all of a sudden we ended up across the finish line and nobody was in front of us, so it was a crazy finish. I thought the racing was a lot better this go-around compared to the 500. It seemed like everybody was racing really hard and a lot of side-by-side racing, which these fans deserve to see.”
The two-time Nationwide champion led Ford’s qualifying effort on Saturday earning him the ninth starting position for Saturday’s night race under the lights. The rookie of the year contender consistently ran in the top-20 even as the field was racy early on running two and three wide in the 160-lap race.
With 20 laps remaining, the Olive Branch, Mississippi native found himself in ninth position and gaining on the leader. After a series of late race cautions in the final 10 laps, Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the seventh-position for the first green-white-checkered attempt. As the field was getting dicey coming to the checkered flag, the rookie finessed his Fifth Third Ford through the spinning cars taking the checkered flag in the 11th-position.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 Best Buy team travel to New Hampshire next weekend for the Camping World RV 301. The race will be Sunday, July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. (EST) on TNT.