Talladega, Ala. (Oct. 21, 2013)- With only one career NASCAR Sprint Cup start at Talladega Superspeedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran up front with the veterans for a majority of Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500. After leading a total of six laps, the two-time Nationwide Series champion was sitting in fourth position when the white flag waved. After the No. 14 machine spun on the final lap freezing the field, Stenhouse Jr. settled for a third-place finish; his best career Sprint Cup Series finish.
“I thought the racing was great all day,” Stenhouse said. “We were two, three, and four wide for a long time, and cars seemed to be able to make moves and get some momentum going. Our Nationwide Insurance team was solid all day. We consistently ran in the top-10 and led a few laps which is good for us.
“On the last lap I was hanging back to time it right where Paul(Menard) and I could either get a run on the No. 14 and see if we could make something happen and try to have full steam for Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and Jamie (McMurray) there coming down in to three and four. I just didn’t time it right and the No. 14 and I met right in the middle and caused that crash. I am bummed that we caused that but all in all a good day for us.”
After rain cancelled qualifying on Saturday, the line-up was set by practice speeds of Friday’s first practice. The Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the 21st position and quickly maneuvered his Nationwide Insurance Ford into the top 10 by lap 15.
As the laps were dwindling down, crew chief Scott Graves decided to take two tires and enough Sunoco fuel on the final pit stop to make it to the end. With five laps remaining, majority of the field ran single file just waiting for the opportunity to make their move.
On the final lap, Stenhouse Jr. was going to make his move on the No. 14 machine exiting turn two. When the No. 14 machine moved down to block, the duo made contact which sent the 14 machine spinning, bringing out the final caution of the race and earning Stenhouse his best finish of the 2013 Sprint Cup season.
Next up for the No. 17 team is the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 27, 2013. The race coverage will begin at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN.