After overcoming adversity early, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was running in the top 20 when suddenly he felt a vibration in his No. 17 Ford Ecoboost Ford. The vibration sent the 2013 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year to the garage for repairs, resulting in a 40th–place finish in Sunday’s STP 500.
“I am proud of my team,” Stenhouse said. “We didn’t give up and we finished the race. We will have to go back and see what broke. The past two weeks have really hurt us in the point standings so we have to get better. It’s early in the season so we will rebound in Texas.”
After struggling in qualifying, Stenhouse started the STP 500 in the 30th-position and maneuvered his Ford up to the 25th- position by the time the competition caution was displayed due to both Sprint Cup practice sessions being cancelled on Saturday due to rain.
The two-time Nationwide champion was trapped behind the No. 2 and No. 41 machines who were beating and banging on each other from a previous accident. When Stenhouse tried to get to the inside of the duo, he wheel hopped sending his Ford Ecoboost Ford into the outside wall.
Solidly working his way back through the field after going a lap down, the Olive Branch, Miss. native was maneuvering his Ford through the field when suddenly an unexpected mechanical issue on lap 357 sent him to the garage for repair.
After the crew worked feverishly to repair the machine, Stenhouse returned to the track with 38 laps remaining and was forced to settle for a 40th-place finish.