Sparta, Ken. (July 1st, 2013)- Rain soaked Kentucky Speedway Saturday evening, postponing the Quaker State 400 till Sunday. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the highest finisher for Roush Fenway Racing and Sunoco rookie of the race, drove his No. 17 Fifth-Third Ford Fusion to a 17th-place finish. The rookie fell one spot in the point standings; currently 46 points out of 10th place.
“I am really disappointed in that finish,” Stenhouse said. “Our Fifth Third Ford Fusion just didn’t have any grip the entire race. We threw a bunch of stuff at it but nothing seemed to work so we will have to take a look at everything when we get back to the shop. I was really hoping to get the race in last night because it is always cool to race under the lights. Racing during the day versus at night really affected our set-up.”
The Olive Branch, Miss. native qualified 13th for his first career Sprint Cup start at Kentucky Speedway and was steadily running in the top 20 for a majority of the 400-mile race. When the green flag finally waved to start the Quaker State 400, the field got dicey early and Stenhouse barely missed a multi-car accident occurring on lap 47 bringing out the red flag.
With the race scheduled to run during the evening, the Fifth-Third Ford’s set-up was based on evening conditions and was ill-handling during the heat of the day. The No. 17 team went to work each pit-stop to help loosen up the machine and provide Stenhouse with the needed grip.
On the final pit-stop of the 267-lap race, the two-time Nationwide champion was penalized for speeding exiting pit-road sending him to the back of the field for the final restart. Stenhouse lined up in the 23rd position and charged through the field wasting no time to take the checkered flag in 17th-position.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team return to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 6. Race coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.