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MENCS: Stenhouse Quietly Scores Fourth Top-Ten of the Season

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If it was up to Ricky Stenhouse, driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway entry, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series would run at a short track every week. With his fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond international Raceway, Stenhouse scored his fourth top-ten at the four short tracks raced at this season.

It wasn’t all great news for the No. 17 driver at RIR despite starting the race fourth. Early in the race, Stenhouse made contact with the outside wall after getting loose in turn three. His pit crew had to work extra hard under the ensuing caution to get the car fixed and ultimately restarted 30th.

“Yeah, I made a lot of work for us there, getting in the fence later in that first stage and really we were fighting back all day from there,” Stenhouse said.

Stenhouse went on to finish the first stage 28th. He bounced back rather nicely in the second stage as he picked-up 12 positions to claim 13th in stage two.

In the final stage, Stenhouse stayed near the top-ten, but it wasn’t until a plethora of cautions late in the race which crew chief Brain Pattie chose track position over new tires for the final 20-lap shootout. He took the green flag second for the sprint to the checkers, which paid huge dividends for the team.

“It was a no-brainer there to stay out that last caution. I was glad it came out, because I thought we missed the opportunity the run before to stay out. It worked out perfect. Our Fifth/Third Ford and the guys never gave up, worked hard, and this track is a lot of fun in the sun.”

Sunday’s top-five finish was Stenhouse’s second top-five of the season with other coming at Phoenix when he crossed the line fourth.

“We had to fight hard for this top five,” Stenhouse Jr said after the race. “I made a mistake early. I thought we had a car capable of running in the top five for a majority of the race. I just got loose into turn three and got into the fence.

In addition to his top-five’s, Stenhouse has notched a tenth-place finish at Martinsville and a ninth place finish a week ago at Bristol

Up next for the Monster Energy Cup Series is Talladega Superspeedway, the biggest and fastest track on the circuit.

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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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