Nashville: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. race report
Bad Luck Continues for Stenhouse Jr. and CitiFinancial Team LEBANON, Tenn. hApril 3, 2010) -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was looking forward to going back to Nashville Superspeedway, after all he made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut there in 2009. But ...
Bad Luck Continues for Stenhouse Jr. and CitiFinancial Team
LEBANON, Tenn. hApril 3, 2010) -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was looking forward to going back to Nashville Superspeedway, after all he made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut there in 2009. But once again, bad luck followed him and the CitiFinancial team to the Music City. Stenhouse, who qualified 18th for Saturday's Nashville 300, used a conservative approach to start the race. However, it was an incident on pit road that ultimately led to his troubles on track. During a green flag pit stop, Stenhouse made contact with the No. 12 rear tire carrier and the tire he was carrying which caused a left front tire rub. As Stenhouse slowed because of the tire rub, he was tapped from behind by Joe Nemechek which sent the young driver into the wall. After spending considerable time in the garage area for repairs, Stenhouse was credited with a 31st-place finish.
From the start of the race, Stenhouse was content with logging laps and was optimistic his Ford Fusion would come to life. On lap 17, Stenhouse radioed in to crew chief Ben Leslie that his Ford was free in and tight in the center of the corner but the car was "better" than it was in practice. Under a competition caution on lap 30, Stenhouse brought the No. 6 Ford Fusion to pit road for service where Leslie called for rubber in the right rear to help in the corners. The adjustments were noticed almost immediately as Stenhouse said the changes to the car felt better.
As the laps clicked off, Stenhouse was finding his groove and on Lap 88 pit boss Leslie radioed the young wheelman telling him that he was running the same lap times as the leaders. Then during the first round of green flag pit stops on lap 101, Stenhouse struck a tire from the No. 12 team as he exited the pits which caused left front damage to his Ford. The damage affected the handling of the car so when Stenhouse slowed to gain control, he was hit from behind by Joe Nemechek which sent him into the wall causing major front end damage.
The CitiFinancial pit crew worked feverishly to replace the radiator and rebuild the front end and after just 39 laps behind the wall Stenhouse was back on the track. He finished 31st.
"Once again the CitiFinancial guys did an awesome job getting me back out there," said Stenhouse. "But we just can't catch a break. Our times were getting better but on our way out of the pits after that stop, the rear tire carrier for the No. 12 car slung the tire around and hit our left front fender. On the get up to speed lap after coming out of the pits it tried locking the left front up because of the tire rub. It tried to rip the steering wheel out of my hands and I thought I just spun out but because I slowed down so much, the 87 (Joe Nemechek) hit us in the rear and turned us around. It's frustrating for sure but we can't worry about the past, we have to focus on what is ahead of us."
Kevin Harvick was the first to the checkered flag in the Nashville 300 on Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway. Stenhouse's teammate Carl Edwards continues to lead the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings after five races.
The NNS heads to the desert next Friday, April 9, 2010 for the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
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