Dover, Del (June 3, 2013)- In only his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup start at the ‘Monster Mile’, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion like a veteran claiming a 13th-place finish in the FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism at Dover International Speedway. He moved up to the 15th-position in the Sprint Cup standings, a mere 11 points out of 12th-place.
“We struggled all day,” Stenhouse said. “We just couldn’t get our Best Buy Ford to handle right. It was either really loose or tight, so I am not sure what happened. I’m happy to leave here with a 13th-place finish, but we definitely have work to do as an organization. We will go back to work and get our Fords dialed in before the Chase starts.”
When the final yellow-flag was displayed on lap 377, crew chief Scott Graves called the two-time NASCAR Nationwide champion to pit-road for four tires, a chassis adjustment, and a splash of fuel in hopes to let the rookie maneuver his way up through the field.
In the final laps, the Olive Branch, Miss. native battled hard for a 13th- place finish with an ill-handling machine. After earning the lucky dog twice to get back on the lead lap, Stenhouse was the highest finishing rookie of the race and one of 16 cars that finished on the lead lap.
After struggling in the first practice session on Friday, Stenhouse qualified his No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion in the 23rd position lining up in front of five-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. The young driver consistently ran inside the top20 while battling a tight machine for a majority of the 400-lap race.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 travel to Pocono Speedway for the Party in the Poconos 400 on Sunday, June 9. Race coverage begins at 1 p.m. EST on TNT. Race coverage can also be heard on MRN (Motor Racing Network) and SIRIUS channel 90.