After having to start at the rear of the field due to a tire issue in qualifying, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. overcame adversity and drove his Robert Yates Tribute Ford to an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.
“I’m really happy with that after starting last from my mistake in qualifying,” Stenhouse said. “We kept working on our Ford throughout the race. It was really good on the long runs and then we got it decent on the short runs as well. It was a good day for our guys, and I look forward to trying to carry this momentum into Homestead and hopefully finish 11th in points.”
After flat-spotting his tire in round one of qualifying, Stenhouse Jr. had to forfeit his qualifying position and start at the tail end of the field. With a caution free stage one, the Olive Branch, Miss. patiently maneuvered his Ford through the field gaining 17 positions in the first 75 laps but lost a lap to the leaders just three laps shy of the green checkered.
Stenhouse Jr. restarted stage two in the 24th position and battled with numerous cars to earn the lucky dog position. With another caution free stage, the Roush Fenway Racing driver worked his way into the free pass position when the green checkered waved on lap 150.
Back on the lead lap, the two-time XFINITY champion steadily worked his way forward and with a flurry of late-race cautions found himself in the top-10 with 40 laps to go. When the final green flag waved on lap 281, Stenhouse was scored in the ninth position but newer tires prevailed forcing Stenhouse to settle with an eighth-place finish.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 19. Race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on NBC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and NASCAR SIRIUS/XM radio channel 90.