Stenhouse Jr. Avoids Last-Lap Crash to Finish 4th at Dover

Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
On Saturday morning, rain fell at Dover International Speedway, and NASCAR was forced to cancel Nationwide Series qualifying. The field was set according to the speeds from Friday’s practice session. For Ricky Stenhouse Jr., it was no problem. He had been fastest in practice until ten minutes remained when teammate Carl Edwards bumped him from the top spot.

Stenhouse Jr. ran a special Mississippi Flood Relief/NASCAR Unites paint scheme at Dover and had high hopes of getting a great finish Saturday afternoon during the 5-Hour Energy 200. A native of Olive Branch, MS, Stenhouse Jr. saw firsthand the devastation the storms caused in Mississippi when he went to visit family last weekend. His plan was to donate his entire portion of the Dover race earnings to a Mississippi flood relief fund.

After starting from the 2nd position, Stenhouse Jr. quickly took the lead from the No. 60 of teammate Carl Edwards before the first lap was completed. The No. 6 Ford had been one of the fastest cars all weekend, and in the early going, Stenhouse Jr. looked like he would be the driver to tame the Monster Mile. He had just over a one-second lead over the No. 33 of Clint Bowyer when the caution came out on lap 21 when the No. 52 of Kevin Lepage had a right-front tire blow out. A majority of the drivers stayed out under that caution because a competition caution was scheduled for lap 40 due to the rain. The race restarted on lap 25, but Stenhouse Jr. couldn’t hold onto the lead. He fell to 2nd, but charged back to reclaim the lead on lap 30. He led until lap 38 when Bowyer passed him again and didn't lead any more after that. In all, Stenhouse Jr. led 33 laps on Saturday. It was the first time in his career he had led any led at Dover.

The competition caution on lap 40 allowed the No. 6 team to make some adjustments since the car had become a little too loose. Shortly after the restart on lap 45, Stenhouse Jr. began to drop back as the adjustments had caused the car to become tight.

For much of the second half of the race, Stenhouse Jr. ran just outside the top-10. A caution came out on lap 198 of the 200-lap race for the No. 62 of Michael Annett spinning on the frontstretch. It would set the field up for what would be the first of two green-white-checkered attempts. The race restarted on lap 202, but the caution came out once more before the leader took the white flag. On the last lap of the second green-white-checkered attempt, Stenhouse Jr. had worked his way back inside the top ten when teammate Carl Edwards and the No. 20 of Joey Logano were battling for the lead. Logano got loose and slid up the track, coming back down and collecting the No. 33 of Bowyer as well as several others. The multi-car incident unfolded right in front of Stenhouse Jr., who was able to get by without any damage. NASCAR had to review the footage to finally get the finishing order straightened out. Stenhouse Jr. finished 4th as teammate Carl Edwards won the race. He gained one position in the standings to 4th, just 16 points behind leader Elliott Sadler.

Next up is the John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway on Sunday May 22. Coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Interested in helping the NASCAR community help those affected by the recent natural disasters? Check out for more details.

A die-cast of the No. 6 Mississippi Flood Relief/NASCAR Unites Ford will be made and 5% of the proceeds will go toward Mississippi flood relief.
Stenhouse Jr. Avoids Last-Lap Crash to Finish 4th at Dover Stenhouse Jr. Avoids Last-Lap Crash to Finish 4th at Dover Reviewed by Whitney R. on Monday, May 16, 2011 Rating: 5