Sparta, Ky. (June 15, 2009) – Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. headed to Kentucky Speedway this weekend, returning to the site of his first career stock car victory which came last year in the ARCA Re/MAX Series. After disappointing results in his first two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts, Stenhouse, Jr. was hoping to turn things around in race number three. His weekend started off strong as the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was fast in practice and qualified seventh. Stenhouse, Jr. had a good showing in the race, running in the top 10 for most of the night and finishing ninth; his first career top-10 finish.
In the early laps of the Meijer 300 presented by Ritz, Stenhouse, Jr. told crew chief Eddie Pardue that he was “pretty tight getting back to the gas.” The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion settled in around 10th place and consistently picked up speed as Stenhouse, Jr. worked on his line around the track. The first chance to adjust on the car came under caution on lap 24. Pardue called for four tires and a track bar adjustment. After a strong pit stop, the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion restarted 11th. Stenhouse, Jr. fell back to 14th on the next run, saying he was “still really tight center off.”
The next caution fell on lap 69 and Pardue brought Stenhouse, Jr. in for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. The CitiFinancial team had one of their best stops of the season, picking up five positions and sending Stenhouse, Jr. back on the track in ninth place. Four cars running ahead of Stenhouse, Jr. received speeding penalties on the exchange and were sent to the tail end of the longest line, moving the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion up to fifth on the restart.
Stenhouse, Jr. was as high as third on the next run, but fell back to sixth and told Pardue the car was “a little free on entry and tight late exit.” A long caution-free run set in and green flag pit stops began. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion came in on lap 138 running sixth and received four tires and a slight track bar adjustment. The field cycled through and Stenhouse, Jr. was back to sixth on lap 149. The next caution came out on lap 163 and Stenhouse, Jr. told the team he was “still tight late exit.” The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion came down pit road for four tires and a small wedge adjustment. Stenhouse, Jr. stalled as he left the pit box and the crew had to help push the car to get it moving again. The delay on pit road dropped Stenhouse, Jr. back to ninth.
The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion suffered rear end damage on the next caution. Stenhouse, Jr. came down pit road and the team discovered it was minimal damage and didn’t anticipate any additional problems. Stenhouse, Jr. restarted ninth with 26 laps remaining in the race. Multiple late-race caution flags came out and with limited green flag laps to work with, Stenhouse, Jr. was unable to move up through the field. When the checkered flag fell, the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was ninth; the first top-10 finish in Stenhouse, Jr.’s NASCAR career and the eighth for the No. 16 team this season.
“That was a pretty good night for us,” said Stenhouse, Jr. “I got behind a bit after stalling on pit road – if that hadn’t happened I think we would’ve finished fifth or sixth. The CitiFinancial Ford Fusion was pretty good all night. It got tight in all the traffic, but once we had clean air it felt great. It’s nice to finally get a good finish. Eddie and the guys did an awesome job all weekend - pit stops were really strong. I’m excited to get back in the car next week in Milwaukee. Hopefully we can build on this and keep getting better.”
The No. 16 team is currently eighth in Owner Points, 353 behind the leader.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.