Stenhouse Jr. Earns Seventh Top-10 Finish of the Season at Darlington

Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. knows all too well just how cruel "The Lady in Black" can be. Last season, he made his first start at Darlington Raceway and ended up with a DNF after crashing on Lap 64. This time around, he would not only finish the race but also earn his seventh top-10 finish of the season in the Royal Purple 200.

When rain fell on Friday, NASCAR had to call off the Nationwide Series qualifying which meant that the No. 6 Ford would start the race that night from the eighth position. Just a few laps into the race, Stenhouse Jr. was battling the No. 32 Dollar General Chevrolet of Reed Sorenson for fifth position when both drivers got sideways off the turn. Luckily for them, both were able to keep their cars off the wall and continue the battle. On Lap 25, a competition caution came out so teams could check the tire wear due to the rain that had washed some of the rubber off the track earlier in the day. The No. 6 team made track bar and air pressure adjustments to help with the free-handling issue that Stenhouse Jr. was dealing with.

Stenhouse Jr. continued to run inside the top-10 for much of the race. On Lap 125 of the 147-lap race, he scraped the wall while pressuring Justin Allgaier in the No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet for fourth position. The car damage wasn’t major but it was just enough to mess up the handling on the his car. Stenhouse Jr. slipped back a few positions as the race wound down and finished 10th. He is fifth in the standings - 24 points behind leader Justin Allgaier.

“I would assess the night, overall, looking at the whole race, we were really good. I felt like we had a top four car and was trying to get by the 31 [Allgaier] and got a little bit tight and got into the fence.” Stenhouse Jr. said. “I just got too tight to stay up there with him and ended up tenth. It was a mistake on my part. We had a really fast Mustang all weekend, and I was really hoping to come away with a top-5. We’ll get out of here with a top-10 and go on next week to Dover, which I think we’ve got a really good setup for our Mustang. It’s a bummer that we finished tenth, but we know we had a better car, and we’ve been running better. All in all, it’s an okay night.”

Next up for the team is the 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 14. The race is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Stenhouse Jr. Earns Seventh Top-10 Finish of the Season at Darlington Stenhouse Jr. Earns Seventh Top-10 Finish of the Season at Darlington Reviewed by Whitney R. on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Rating: 5