Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 23rd in last fall’s AAA Texas 500, but what made it notable is that he finally completed all the laps of competition on this track for the first time in four starts.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. entered the STP 500 with back-to-back top-15s at Phoenix and Auto Club, but crash damage relegated him to 40th on the short track of Martinsville.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been running at the end of every Martinsville race he started, but in his first three attempts he failed to finish on the lead lap. Last fall, he finally went the complete distance and finished 15th.
In two previous attempts at Auto Club Speedway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has an average start of 26.5. This Sunday, he will roll off the grid 27th for the Auto Club 400.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has not yet scored a top-10 at Phoenix and he has only one top-15 in four starts, but in the right circumstances he could be a good value. His worst result on this course was an 18th in last spring’s edition of this race.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will concentrate on finishing better than 20th this week at Atlanta. In 22 previous starts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, he has finished worse than he qualified in nearly 75 percent of his attempts.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. posted the fastest single lap in the first open session of practice for qualification and the Gatorade Duels. His top speed was 202.643 mph.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was a late entry into the Sprint Unlimited and he will be looking for some redemption Saturday evening. Last year he crashed on lap 35 of 75 and finished 15th.
In the past few years, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been one of the best values on restrictor-plate, superspeedways, but he demanded attention on NASCAR’s short tracks last year as well. He finished second and sixth in Bristol’s two races and scored a top-10 at New Hampshire.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the fourth driver to be added to Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited to fill the 25-car field.
Roush Fenway Racing has announced its 2015 crew chief lineup and the No. 17 Fastenal team will be led by Nick Sandler, who spent the last four seasons working as the head engineer for the No. 99 team under Jimmy Fennig.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s No. 17 team has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during pre-qualifying inspection Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Justin Allgaier, and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify for the Geico 500. In the new style of qualification, the timing of one’s final lap is crucial and these three drivers failed to cross under the flag stand in time for their last lap to count.
In three starts at Talladega during his career, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a perfect record of top-15s. His worst finish of 13th came in his inaugural race last spring.