Richmond, Va. (April 28, 2012) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. gained two positions in the final 10-laps to claim a strong fourth-place finish in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway, and move within two points of the NASCAR Nationwide championship points lead.
“We weren’t the best we have been here but we weren’t terrible,” Stenhouse said. “There were times in the race I felt we had the best car in parts of the run but couldn’t put the whole run together. Our Cargill Beef Mustang was up and down. We swung on both sides of the fences and just never could really get it the way we wanted, but we earned another top-five finish so we will take it.”
The race stayed under green flag conditions for the final 131 laps creating a green flag pit-stop. Crew chief Mike Kelley called the Olive Branch, Miss. native to pit road on lap 206 for four fresh Goodyear tires and some Sunoco fuel. With 25 laps remaining, Stenhouse was running in the seventh-position but marching towards the front.
With twelve laps to go, he had maneuvered his No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford into the sixth position and had his eyes set on the next two positions. He closed in on the back bumpers of the No. 2 and No. 12 cars as they battled, and was able to drive his Mustang past both cars claiming the fourth-place finish; his third top-five finish in the last three races.
The No. 6 team brought one of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Champion’s favorite Mustangs nicknamed Maverick. Maverick was fast as soon as it was unloaded. During the final practice session, Maverick claimed the top position on the speed charts allowing Stenhouse to roll off last in the qualifying session.
Stenhouse got loose during his qualifying laps which positioned him in the sixth-starting position for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250. When the green flag waved, the No. 6 Cargill Beef Mustang took off like a rocket and was running in the third-position by lap 12.
The No. 17 wrecked bringing out the caution flag on lap 67. Stenhouse brought his loose Mustang to pit-road for four tires and some adjustments. The No. 6 team kept tweaking on the Mustang and after the final pit-stop, Stenhouse’s Mustang was lightning fast and was soaring to the front.
The final pass of Elliot Sadler and Sam Hornish Jr. made Stenhouse the highest finishing Nationwide regular.
Stenhouse and the No. 6 team travel to Talladega next weekend. The race will be Saturday, May 5 at Talladega Superspeedway. Coverage will begin at 3 p.m. (EST) on ABC.