DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 23, 2014) – After a six hour rain delay and multiple multi-car accidents, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took the final green-white-checkered flag attempt in the eighth–position. Stenhouse quickly diced his way through the field but ran out of laps and took the checkered flag of the 56th Annual Daytona 500 in the seventh-position.
“We struggled there for awhile,” Stenhouse said. “We worked our way to the front and got off a little of fuel strategy when the rain came. I knew our Nationwide Fusion was fast but it was such a log jam trying to get back to the front.
I really wanted to get to the back bumper of the No. 2 and get Ford another 500 but all in all it was a good day for us. We came home seventh and that is a great way to start the year. We just needed a little bit more there at the end.”
The two-time Nationwide champion fell back to the rear of the field to ride along as the field was getting dicey once the race resumed. As Stenhouse was maneuvering his Nationwide Insurance Ford through the field, a multi-car accident occurred on lap 145 in which the 2013 Rookie of the Year ran over some debris cutting his right front tire.
After multiple pit-stops to make sure the No. 17 was race ready, the Olive Branch, Miss. driver restarted 14th for the final 50 laps with rain approaching the area.
The final caution set up a green-white-checkered finish of NASCAR’s Super Bowl. Stenhouse Jr. restarted eighth and drove inside the No. 18 machine with drafting momemtum. Coming to the checkered flag, the caution flag waved due to cars wrecking behind Stenhouse forcing him to settle for a seventh-place finish.
Stenhouse and the No. 17 team travel to Phoenix next weekend for The Profit on CNBC 500. The race will be Sunday, March 2 at Phoenix International Raceway. Coverage will begin at 3:00 p.m. (EST) on FOX.