After Hurricane Matthew pushed the scheduled Saturday night race to Sunday, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his SunnyD Ford to a 20th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway; gaining two positions in the driver point standings.
“We struggled with the handling,” Stenhouse said. “Under the right circumstances we could have probably finished on the lead lap but I got a speeding penalty on pit road under the green flag pit cycle. It was a crazy race. It was good points day for us though. We’ve got six more races to learn from and carry that momentum into the off-season.”
After barely missing round three of qualifying, the two-time NASCAR XFINITY champion started the 500-mile race in the 15th position but lost a few positions early on before the competition caution to a tight handling machine.
Stenhouse steadily ran in the top-20 before getting trapped one lap down after a yellow flag was displayed during green flag pit stops. After patiently working his way up to 16th-place, the Olive Branch, Miss. native endured a speeding penalty on pit road forcing him to serve a pass-thru penalty.
With less than 100 laps remaining in the 334-lap race, a multi-car accident occurred in the front of the field but Stenhouse maneuvered his SunnyD Ford through the melee scratch free.
When the final green flag waved setting up an 18-lap shootout, the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year was able to pick up one more position to take the checkered flag in the 20th position.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 16. Race coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.