Hampton, Ga. (Sept. 2, 2013)- After claiming his first career Sprint Cup Coors Light Pole award on Friday for the AdvoCare 500, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled back after being one lap down to finish in the 16th- position in Sunday’s night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The solid finish moves the rookie up two spots to 21st position in the driver’s championship point standings.
“We had a really frustrating night,” Stenhouse said. “We had high hopes going into the race after winning the pole but our Best Buy Ford started out really tight and wouldn’t turn so we fell back on the start. We as an organization have to work on the front ends of our cars and get them turning better. I wish we would have had a better showing but we will take it and go on to Richmond.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native earned his first Sprint Cup Coors Light Pole award on Friday claiming the front row with teammate Carl Edwards. When the green flag waved, the rookie steadily fell back due to an extremely tight machine but the No. 17 team kept making adjustments on the Best Buy Ford throughout the 325-lap race.
After a 100-lap green flag run, the two-time Nationwide Champion found himself a lap down after the leader lapped all but 18 cars. A timely caution fell on lap 293 earning Stenhouse the lucky dog position getting him back on the lead lap with 32 laps remaining.
When the final green flag waved, Stenhouse lined up in the 13th –position with a few lead lap cars behind him on fresher tires. Stenhouse took the checkered flag in the 16th-position earning the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 7. Race coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.