Lady in Black Takes Bite Out of Stenhouse Jr., No. 6 Team Friday Night DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 7, 2010) -- As intimidating as Darlington Raceway is on drivers, the Lady in Black is especially difficult on rookies and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. saw that...
Lady in Black Takes Bite Out of Stenhouse Jr., No. 6 Team Friday Night
DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 7, 2010) -- As intimidating as Darlington Raceway is on drivers, the Lady in Black is especially difficult on rookies and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. saw that first-hand on Friday night. The young wheelman was fast in practice and put his Ford Fusion solidly in the field in qualifying with a fast lap of 28.36; good for 14th on the starting grid. Stenhouse proved he was fast during the race as well, passing cars and running times consistent with the leaders until lap 58 when he made contact with the wall which sent him to the garage where it was determined his night was over. He finished 37th in the Royal Purple 200.
From the drop of the green flag, Stenhouse showed that the CitiFinancial crew gave him a car capable of running up front. Racing solidly in the top-15, the rookie was content to race the track, not the other competitors. In his first career race on the track called "Too Tough to Tame", Stenhouse seemed to have a handle on it. While most drivers had the familiar "Darlington Stripe" on the right side of their cars, Stenhouse's No. 6 Ford didn't have a scratch on it.
Following the second caution of the night, the rookie reported his car was tight in turns three and four so crew chief Mike Kelley summoned Stenhouse to the pits for service on lap 28. The crew changed four tires and adjusted the air pressure and sent Stenhouse on his way in 14-seconds, keeping him 15th in the running order. Knocking on the door of the top-10, Stenhouse radioed in on lap 47 and said he hit the wall prompting spotter Mike Calinoff to say "you got your first Darlington Stripe, welcome to the Lady in Black."
While Stenhouse remained on track, he began to fall back and on lap 58 the young driver once again made contact with the outside wall after his tire went down. After three trips to the pit lane, Kelley directed Stenhouse to the garage for repairs. After determining the lower control arm was damaged beyond repair, Stenhouse retired for the night placing him 37th in the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway.
"This place is tough," said Stenhouse. "You can't relax at all around here because it will bite you. We were logging laps and the car really felt good. I can't say enough about these CitiFinancial guys who gave me a great car. Mike Kelley (crew chief) has done a great job of leading and I just hate that we ended up in the fence. We didn't have a scratch on the car during practice or the first part of the race when I got my first Darlington stripe. We broke something in the right front, (control arm) which ended our night early. It's just disappointing for me and the team because we had a top-15 car."
Denny Hamlin, who started on the pole, finished first Friday evening in the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway. The NNS heads to the "Monster Mile" next weekend for the Heluva Good! 200 at Dover International Speedway.