Stenhouse gets best career Martinsville finish

Comes homes 15th after a bad pit call.

After earning the lucky dog position with less than 100 laps remaining, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the second position after a strategy call to not pit for the final five lap shoot out. Newer tires prevailed forcing Stenhouse to settle with a 15th-place finish on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway; his best career finish at the half-mile track.

“I’m really proud of our team today,” Stenhouse said. “We fought all day and just tried to stay out of trouble. We gambled on that final caution and stayed out and if I would have lined up on the inside lane, I might have been able to hang on but overall it was great team effort today.”

Earning his best qualifying effort at the paper-clip shaped track, the two-time NASCAR Nationwide champion started the 500-mile race in the 18th position and maintained his ground, but as the race progressed his ‘Pit For a Pair’ Ford became tight forcing Stenhouse to lose a few positions on the long run.

After multiple cautions late in the race, the Olive Branch, Mississippi native earned the lucky dog position and was back on the lead lap with less than 80 laps remaining.

When the final yellow flag was displayed on lap 488 setting up a five lap shootout, crew chief Mike Kelley chose to leave Stenhouse out to gain track position.

 Lining up in the second position in the outside lane, Stenhouse Jr. battled for the final five laps but newer tires and the inside lane prevailed leaving Stenhouse to settle for a 15th-place finish.

Stenhouse and the No. 17 team return to action next Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500. Race coverage starts at 3:00 pm EST on ESPN.

Roush Fenway

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville II
Track Martinsville Speedway
Drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , Mike Kelley
Article type Race report
Tags ford, roush