After having to start at the tail of the field due to pit-road speeding penalty, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. picked up 22 positions in the final 46 laps to score his first top-10 finish in nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) starts at Michigan International Speedway. In 15 MENCS starts this season, Stenhouse has scored six top-10 finishes.
“We had to overcome a pit road penalty for speeding late in the race,” Stenhouse said. “We had some good restarts with the Fifth Third Ford in the closing laps. It was a lot better than we were in practice. I guess that is the goal, to get it the best for the race, and that is what the guys did. We worked hard all day. It was a good day on pit road. We have a good baseline to come back with in August here at Michigan.”
In Ford and Roush Industries back yard, the two-time XFINITY champion started the 200-lap race in 21st and quickly picked up six positions in the first six laps before the caution flag was displayed for debris. With a competition yellow coming out on lap 25 due to rain earlier in the day, Brian Pattie chose to stay out with a majority of the leaders.
When the competition yellow was displayed on lap 25, Stenhouse brought his Fifth Third Ford to pit-road for a two-tire stop but as he slid his tires coming into the box Pattie called an audible to change four instead of two. Despite long green flag runs, the Olive Branch, Miss. native patiently maneuvered his Ford inside the top-10 with 50 laps remaining. As he was approaching his pit box under the caution flag, Stenhouse was caught speeding on pit-road forcing him to the tail end of the field for the restart.
After a flurry of late race cautions, Stenhouse was able to capitalize on the restarts gaining nine positions in the final 15 laps to take the checkered flag in the eighth position.