Fuel Mileage Proves Costly for Stenhouse Jr. at Richmond

Credit: Steve Langley
After finishing inside the top five and nearly reclaiming the points lead at Nashville, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was looking forward to returning to Richmond International Raceway for the running of the Bubba Burger 250 on Friday night. He had finished 4th at Richmond the last time out and hoped to better that result this time around. For the last few races, Stenhouse Jr. has been one of the best performing series regulars, and it looked as though he could have been the one to end the Cup drivers’ dominance in the Nationwide Series Friday night. Unfortunately, a long green flag run saw multiple drivers running out of fuel toward the end of the race, and Stenhouse Jr. found himself among them with just five laps left.

Stenhouse Jr. qualified the No. 6 RickyvsTrevor.com in the 9th position, and once the green flag waved Friday night, he began to make his move toward the front. Six laps in, the No. 6 Ford had moved up to the 6th position. Five laps later, he fell back to 8th as he radioed to crew chief Mike Kelley that the car was free entering the turns, tight through the center, and free off.

As a long green flag run continued, Stenhouse Jr. began to move back toward the front once again despite the handling issues. He was up to 4th by the time green-flag stops began around lap 95. The No. 6 Ford hit pit road on lap 105 for four fresh tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment, and an air pressure adjustment. Stenhouse Jr. cycled through stops in the 5th position, but was running 4th again by lap 118. The only caution of the night came out on lap 124 when the No. 18 of Kelly Bires spun. After a pit stop for four tires and fuel, Stenhouse Jr. restarted 5th on lap 131 and began his charge to the front. Eight laps after the restart, he was up to 2nd.

In the closing laps of the 250-lap race, he continued to run inside the top five, but on lap 245, his chances of a great finish disappeared. The No. 6 Ford coasted to a stop off of turn two as it ran out of fuel. Stenhouse Jr. finished 21st and dropped to 6th in the standings, 17 points behind leader Justin Allgaier.

It was a tough one for the team to swallow, but Stenhouse Jr. says the team will “bounce back after this weekend and we’ll be strong all year.”

Next up is the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 6. The race is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN2.
Fuel Mileage Proves Costly for Stenhouse Jr. at Richmond Fuel Mileage Proves Costly for Stenhouse Jr. at Richmond Reviewed by Whitney R. on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 Rating: 5