Monday, April 25, 2011

Stenhouse Jr. Tied for Nationwide Points Lead after Earning Career-Best Nashville Finish*

The No. 6 RickyvsTrevor.com Ford of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sits on pit road prior to the Nashville 300
Credit: Whitney Richards
After the disappointing finish last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his team headed to Nashville Superspeedway with one major goal: take back the points lead after dropping to fourth in the standings last week. Nashville is a track that the team has struggled at since their first time there and that remained the case until Saturday. After starting fourth in the Nashville 300, Stenhouse Jr. ran inside the top-10 the entire race and finished fitfh. His best finish at Nashville, prior to Saturday, had been finishing in the 23rd position.

Last summer, Stenhouse Jr. had a top-10 car in practice but spun out in qualifying. Since he wasn’t locked in, it cost the team their shot at running the race. It was a tough blow to them but this time around it was different. Stenhouse Jr. once again had a car that ran top-10 speeds in practice. He backed it up in qualifying when he put the No. 6 RickyvsTrevor.com Ford in the fourth starting position. Prior to Saturday, his best qualifying effort at the track had been fifth.

Once the green flag waved, he slipped back a couple positions. Just a few laps into the race, the No. 64 of David Reutimann got loose off of turn two - right in front of Stenhouse Jr. who was able to avoid him. The No. 6 Ford slipped back to the seventh position as the handling went away. Stenhouse Jr. had his hands full with a car that was loose entering the turns, tight through the center and loose off.

Eventually, the car became loose overall and adjustments were made nearly every chance the team had during pit road stops. Despite the handling issues, Stenhouse Jr. continued to run inside the top-10 and he never dropped below the eighth position.  He spent much of the race battling the No. 22 of Brad Keselowski and the No. 20 of Joey Logano.

In the closing laps, Stenhouse Jr. was gaining on Logano for the fourth position but never could catch him. He finished fifth, earning his sixth top-10 finish of the season. This finish moved him from fourth in the standings to tieing Justin Allgaier for the points lead.* 

Next up for the team is the Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway. The race is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on April 29.  It will be aired on the SPEED channel.

*Although Stenhouse and Allgaier are technically tied with the same number of points (264), the points lead actually goes to Allgaier with Stenhouse being scored in second. NASCAR rules state that in a tie situation the top spot would go to the driver with the most first place finishes, if still a tie goes to driver with the most second place finishes and so on. 

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