Watkins Glen, N.Y. (August 12, 2013) – In his first Sprint Cup start at the challenging 2.45-mile road course in Watkins Glen, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his No.1 7 Best Buy Ford to an 18th-place finish earning the Sunoco Rookie of the race award in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355.
“Road courses aren’t my specialty,” Stenhouse said. “After last week, our main goal was to stay on the track and finish the race. We felt if we could do both of these that we would earn a solid finish. Scott (Graves) and the guys did a great job in the pits today calling pit strategy. We will take an 18th-place finish in our Best Buy Ford and go on to Michigan where I feel we will be really fast.”
After finishing fourth in last year’s Nationwide race, the two-time Nationwide champion qualified in the 33rd position for the final road course race of the 2013 season.
Despite battling a brake issue, the Sprint Cup rookie contender ran consistently in the top-25 for the majority of the 90-lap race.
As the end of the race neared, a series of cautions occurred as everyone was battling for position. With only two laps remaining, Stenhouse took the final green flag in the 18th position and battled intensely to claim an 18th-place finish in his first Sprint Cup career start at Watkins Glen International. The solid finish moved Stenhouse up to 20th in the driver’s point standings.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 18. Race coverage begins at 1p.m. EST on ESPN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.