Ricky Stenhouse Jr. posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Geico 500. His top speed was 200.780 mph.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished 20th in his first plate race in 2012. That result came in the Daytona 500 and he waited until his rookie season to make a second start on this track type. His next six plate races all ended in top-15s until an accident in the 2014 Coke Zero 400 put him off course.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. survived several incidents early and kept his nose clean late to finish fourth in the Food City 500. It was his third straight top-10 finish after recording a second last spring and sixth last fall.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been remarkably strong at Bristol in his four previous attempts. He swept the top 20 as a rookie and the top 10 as a sophomore.
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.