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Stenhouse says he did the "right thing" racing Truex at Atlanta

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Stenhouse says he did the "right thing" racing Truex at Atlanta
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Feb 28, 2019, 8:04 PM

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took a lot of heat for the way he raced Martin Truex Jr. at the end of Sunday’s race at Atlanta but he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug, Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro ComSurv, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Mustang
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug
#17: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug, Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Haas Automation and Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Little Hug

Truex, who was trying to chase down leader Brad Keselowski at the end of the race, said he was held up by Stenhouse, who continued to run the bottom lane in front of him and was a lap down.

“It was just lapped cars. It was a shame we got put in that position on that last restart but that’s the way the caution fell,” Truex said after the race. “Just (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) rode there in front of us forever and ever running the bottom (lane), and I kept telling him I needed the bottom.”

With the way the final restart played out, Stenhouse had his own opportunity. Although a lap down, he ended up behind Keselowski (wave-around cars line up in the back), which gave Stenhouse a chance to race Keselowski to get back on the lead lap.

“To me I didn’t feel like we really held him off. If he was that fast, then he could have closed up to us,” Stenhouse told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Claire B Lang on Wednesday night. “If leaders get within five car lengths of me, I let them go. Mike Herman Jr., my spotter, was updating me how far back (Truex) was. We were racing to try to get back on the lead lap.

“I felt like there at a moment we were going to be able to catch (Keselowski). We were running faster lap times than he was. So, we were thinking, ‘Hey, let’s just old school get our lap back (by passing the leader) and see how it falls.’ ”

From the editor, also read:

On the restart, Keselowski and Truex both found themselves behind lapped cars (including Stenhouse). Keselowski made his way past them without any problem.

“The way I see it, if Truex is fast enough and that much faster than me, then he could have caught us. If he would have caught us and got to within five car lengths, I would have let him go. He didn’t have any problem getting within five car lengths of (Keselowski),” Stenhouse said.

“Brad Keselowski, he restarted behind me, actually nose to tail with Truex and he passed us on the outside. Generally, when I have a faster car, I just drive around the lapped cars that I’m lapping.

“It’s one of those things that I felt like me and my spotter and our team did the right thing for what we had going on.”

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Atlanta
Drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Author Jim Utter