DESPITE GETTING CAUGHT UP IN A CRASH ON LAP 68, RICKY STENHOUSE JR. AND THE NO. 6 CITIFINANCIAL TEAM HAVE HEADS UP DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 13, 2010) -- A 36th-place finish is usually not something that energizes a driver or a crew, but a...
DESPITE GETTING CAUGHT UP IN A CRASH ON LAP 68, RICKY STENHOUSE JR. AND THE NO. 6 CITIFINANCIAL TEAM HAVE HEADS UP
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 13, 2010) -- A 36th-place finish is usually not something that energizes a driver or a crew, but a fast Ford Fusion and a fast rookie wheelman have the No. 6 CitiFinancial team optimistic about 2010 despite going home with a banged up race car.
Driving in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. showed he can and will run up front with the veterans this season. Early on while running lap times that were one-tenth faster than the leaders, Stenhouse Jr. worked his way up as high as seventh place, prompting his veteran spotter Mike Calinoff to say over the radio during the race " ...way to be patient...you are driving like a champion."
But while Stenhouse Jr. showed patience on the track, his eagerness to be fast in the pits cost him and the team; twice.
During a green flag pit stop on lap 42, the rookie over-shot his pit stall costing him and the team valuable track position. Just nine laps later on lap 51, Stenhouse Jr. slipped though a greasy stall again. The two pit stops cost him a combined 11 positions on the track and forced him to race in the middle of the pack. Then, on lap 68, a melee broke out in front of Stenhouse Jr. who was unable to navigate his way through the spinning cars. He was one of 10 cars involved in the accident which ended up cutting his day short.
"Overall I think I learned a lot," said Stenhouse Jr. "I'm definitely going to take some key things out of here like work on getting stopped in the pit box, I kind of over-shot it. That put us back there where we didn't need to be and got us caught up in that wreck."
"I tend to beat myself up pretty hard but once I get over that, I'll take some good things out of this race," added Stenhouse Jr. With these Citi guys and Ben (Leslie) and the equipment that we have, I think we're going to be able to bounce back in California as long as we minimize our mistakes from what we had this weekend."
And despite the disappointing ending to a long week in Daytona, crew chief Ben Leslie sung the praises of his rookie driver.
"There's a lot to build on," said Leslie. "We had an issue with a tire carrier and Ricky slid through the pits, but anytime you make a mistake it's an investment for the future and it won't happen again. Ricky was plenty fast and that's an indication of how good we're going to be, but we just didn't make it to the end. He raced really hard and really smart but we can't get down. We have to go on to California now."
Stenhouse Jr.'s former United States Auto Club (USAC) car owner Tony Stewart won the DRIVE4COPD 300 on Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. It was Stewart's fifth win in the last six NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Daytona International Speedway.
Next week, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to the shadows of Hollywood for the second stop of the season. Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 6 CitiFinancial team will hit the Auto Club Speedway in the Stater Brothers 300.