Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford to a fifth-place finish in the Monster Energy Open Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Our Fastenal Ford was strong on the long runs,” Stenhouse said. “We struggled on restarts so the late cautions during the stages set us back. I think we learned some things for next weekend’s 600, so we’ll be read to go when points will be on the line.”
The two-time Xfinity champion rolled off in the 15th position for the three stage, 50-lap race. With a combination of strength and finesse, Stenhouse powered his way into the top 10 in only two laps. When the caution flag waved on lap 16, Stenhouse was scored in the seventh position reporting his Ford was a tad tight.
As most of the field took the opportunity to pit, Stenhouse brought his Ford to pit-road for four tires and fuel. With the first stage going into overtime, Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the eighth position for the two-lap shootout but fell a few positions to take the first green checkered in the 11th position.
After staying out during the stage break, the Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the seventh position for the next 20-lap stage. The caution was displayed with two laps remaining in the stage two allowing Stenhouse to bring his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for multiple changes in hopes to help his tight-handling condition.
Once again, the second stage went into overtime with a two-lap shootout. Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the 11th position and quickly maneuvered his way through the field picking up four positions before the second green-checkered flag waved.
On the final 10-lap segment, the two-time MENCS winner lined up in the fifth position but newer tires prevailed forcing Stenhouse to settle with a fifth-place finish in the Monster Energy Open.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26. Race coverage begins at 6 p.m ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUSXM radio channel 90.