Dover, Del (Oct. 1st, 2012)- In only his third career NASCAR Sprint Cup start, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his No. 6 Rancher’s Reserve/Safeway Ford Fusion like a veteran claiming a 12th-place finish in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.
“We made almost all the laps,” said a satisfied Stenhouse after the race. “We stayed out there running and learned a lot. Our No. 6 Rancher’s Reserve Ford Fusion wasn’t exactly where we wanted, but we were able to just log laps and keep trying things. I got more used to this car. I think if I came back to practice here I think I would practice a little different than what we did, but all in all we finished 12th and that’s a great outing.”
When the final yellow flag was displayed on lap 316, crew chief Scott Graves called the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide champion to pit-road for fuel only enabling Stenhouse Jr. to go the scheduled distance of 400 laps. Graves insisted to save a tad of fuel in case the race went in to overtime.
In the final laps, the Olive Branch, Miss. native was able to move up into the 12th- position. With only six cars on the lead lap, Stenhouse Jr. drove his No. 6 Rancher’s Reserve Ford Fusion to a stout 12th-place finish; the highest finishing rookie of the race and ahead of five of the 12 ‘Chase’ competitors in the field.
Forced to make the field on time, Stenhouse qualified his No. 6 Rancher’s Reserve Ford Fusion in the 17th-position lining up directly behind teammate Carl Edwards. The young driver consistently ran inside the top-20 while battling a tight machine for a majority of the 400-lap race.
Stenhouse Jr. will compete in the Sprint Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway this 2012 season.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 6 RFR Cup team is the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 13. Race coverage begins at 7 p.m. on ABC.