Stenhouse Lines Up 25th for Daytona 500 After a 13th- Place Finish in the Duels

After falling to the back of the pack early on due to the field getting racy in the first 25 laps, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford up to the fourth position with 20 laps remaining in the first Can-Am Duel qualifying race. In typical superspeedway racing, Stenhouse was shuffled to the middle lane during the final eight-lap shootout forcing him to settle with a 13th-place finish in Thursday night’s qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway

“I was really hoping that the outside line would get going,” Stenhouse said. “The front couple of cars just kept getting held back some.  We were just in line and I was hoping with Kevin (Harvick) leading, it seemed like he had a strong car qualifying and stuff, but it just wasn’t as strong as the No. 24.  I thought the No. 2 was a little bit better leading than the No. 4 was, but we were just riding in line behind the No. 43.

“I thought the No. 78 was just trying to get our line to go and we got checked up and he jumped to the outside, and then we were stuck in the middle.  I just kept trying to push the No. 43, but we weren’t going anywhere. This was our first time drafting here this week so we will make some adjustments and get our Fastenal Ford dialed in for the 500.”

The Olive Branch, Miss. native started the 60-lap shootout in the seventh position but decided to fall back to rear of the pack after the field was dicey early on before the competition yellow was displayed.

Under the competition caution, Stenhouse brought his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for a chassis adjustment, which also gave him time to tighten his seat belts to his liking.

After restarting in the 19th position when the green flag waved on lap 30, the two-time XFINITY champion bullied his way forward on the high line picking up 14 positions in seven laps.

When the final caution waved for a two-car accident setting up an eight-lap shootout, the 2013 Rookie of the Year restarted eighth but got stuck in the middle groove forcing him to settle with a 13th-place finish.