Marne, Mich. (July 26, 2008) – With the points lead in hand, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 99 Roush Fenway ARCA RE/MAX Series team traveled to Berlin Raceway for the fourth short-track event of the year. Keeping in step with previous short-track races, Stenhouse and company had a solid showing. Stenhouse qualified ninth and ran inside the top 10 most of the night before crossing the line seventh.
Berlin Raceway is a tough track to master with its lack of banking and circular shape but Stenhouse seemed to adapt quickly. In his first visit to the track, he proved to be a top-five contender from the start. Stenhouse maneuvered his way around the .4-mile oval in 17.356 seconds placing him ninth for the start of the race. Justin Allgaier put his No. 16 on the pole with a fast lap time of 16.963 seconds, a tenth quicker than second.
The field took the green under the lights and 31 cars shuffled for position racing two and sometimes three wide. Stenhouse settled into 10th by lap five and it wasn’t long before he was on the move. Stenhouse worked over Matt Carter for the ninth position finally claiming it on lap 10 with an inside pass in turns three and four. Then it was to the outside of the No. 60 for seventh before the first of 11 cautions flew on lap 28 when the No. 23 spun in turn three just in front of the No. 99.
Stenhouse reported that the No. 99 Ford was a little free on entry and off the corners but overall pretty good. Allgaier led the parade as the laps clicked off and Stenhouse rode in sixth. Crew chief Jeff Campey took the opportunity to pit for the first and only time under the third caution on lap 59. The No. 99 team changed four tires and took on fuel before returning Stenhouse to the track in 12th for the restart.
The top nine cars stayed on track while the No. 2 took fuel only and the No. 09 took only right side tires rounding out the top-11. Stenhouse had his work cut out for him but he was up to the task. One by one he passed the competition re-entering the top-10 by lap 78 and the top-five on lap 100. Stenhouse worked his way as high as fourth by lap 108 and reported that the car was still good.
As the night wore on the No. 99 Ford was becoming tighter on restarts making it difficult for Stenhouse to maintain his track position. Every time a caution flag flew Stenhouse would lose track position for a few laps before working his way back through traffic. It would be a battle for the remainder of the 200-lap event but the team didn’t give up.
Stenhouse brought out the eighth caution on lap 147 after an altercation with the No. 18. Fighting for the sixth spot, Stenhouse accidentally tapped the No. 18 from behind when the No. 18 moved down on the No. 99 off turn four not knowing that the No. 99 was there. A few laps later the field restarted and Stenhouse again worked his way to fifth looking to chase down the leader, Scott Speed.
A series of three more cautions hampered the efforts of the No. 99 as Stenhouse lost valuable track position fighting a tight handling car. The checkered flag waved over the track with Speed at the helm followed by Allgaier and Frank Kimmel. Stenhouse crossed the line seventh bringing his total top-10 finishes to nine in 12 starts.
“Tonight was disappointing,” said Stenhouse following the race. “I didn’t qualify as well as I wanted to but the No. 99 Ford was good tonight. Lumpy (crew chief Jeff Campey) and all the guys did a good job preparing the car and they had a good pit stop. As the night went on the car just got really tight on restarts so I’d loose ground then have to get it back and then we’d have another caution and I’d have to do it all over again. It was frustrating. I’m just glad we got out of here in one piece and still have the points lead.”
Stenhouse maintains the points lead but after back-to-back wins Speed is closing the gap. The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to action next Saturday at Pocono Raceway where Stenhouse looks to repeat his win there from earlier this year. For live timing and scoring visit www.arcaracing.com
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com.