Bristol, Tenn. (Aug. 25, 2013) – Despite running in the top-15 for a majority of the IRWIN Tools Night Race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. overcame adversity late in the race to claim a 18th-place finish in the Nationwide Ford. This was first of three races that Nationwide will serve as the primary sponsor on the No. 17 Ford.
“We gambled earlier on by taking only two tires to earn some track position and were able to stay up front,” Stenhouse said. “On Friday, we battled with a tight Nationwide Ford. At the start of the race, we were super tight but took some big swings and got our machine up to the front. My guys fought hard all night, we just keep having some bad luck.”
After being the second car to take the track for Friday’s qualifying session, the two-time Nationwide champion qualified in the 27th-position for the IRWIN Tools Night Race at the World’s Fastest half-mile. Stenhouse fell back early on in the 500-lap race due to an extremely tight machine, but after taking a two- tire gamble early on he was battling in the top-10 by lap 200.
With less than 85 laps remaining in Thunder Valley, the Sprint rookie of the year contender lost a cylinder, but was still running lap times comparable to the top-10 cars. When a multi-car accident occurred on lap 447, crew chief Scott Graves chose to gamble and stay out but told Stenhouse to conserve fuel.
Despite coming up a couple of laps shorts on fuel, Stenhouse drove his No. 17 Nationwide Ford to claim an 18th-place finish.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 1. Race coverage begins at 7:30p.m. EST on ESPN. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.