LAS VEGAS, Nev.(March 9, 2014)- After leading Roush Fenway’s qualifying efforts on Friday with a sixth-place starting position, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. consistently ran in the top-20 before a costly pit-road speeding penalty put the 2013 Rookie of the Year two laps down. With the race going mostly green, Stenhouse settled for a 27th-place finish in Sunday’s Kobalt 400.
“I messed up on pit-road and cost us,” Stenhouse said. “My No. 17 team worked hard all weekend and we got our Zest Ford dialed in for qualifying and felt good in race trim. We were tight at the start of the race but were making the right adjustments on our No. 17 Zest Ford. I think we could have had a top-10 finish but the penalty really hurt us and we could never recover. It’s early in the season so we will go on to Bristol and learn from our mistakes.”
Las Vegas was the first time the teams participated in the new qualifying procedures at a mile-and-a-half track. After advancing into the final of three rounds, the two-time Nationwide champion made his lap three minutes into the session resulting in a sixth-place starting position for Sunday’s 267-lap race.
Half way thru the race as green flag pit stops were cycling thru, the Olive Branch, Miss. native was penalized for speeding entering pit-road resulting in a pass thru penalty forcing Stenhouse to go two laps down and dropped him back to 30th – position.
Trying some strategy to regain track position, crew chief Mike Kelley chose to take the wave around to get one of the two laps back. With the race only seeing four cautions, Stenhouse took the checkered flag in 27th-place.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 16. Race coverage begins at 1:00p.m.on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.