Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Captures First Cup Series Win At Talladega; Ends Roush Fenway Racing’s 101 Race Winless Streak

by May 7, 2017 0 comments

TALLADEGA, Ala.- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. made a late-race pass on a hard-charging Kyle Busch in NASCAR Overtime to claim his first-ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Victory on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

The 29-year-old driver of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford  broke a 101-race winless streak for the team with his GEICO 500 victory. Stenhouse Jr. began the race as the pole-sitter after winning the second Coors Light Pole Award of his career. The win comes in the Mississippian’s  fifth full-time season in the series, after years of ups and downs in the Roush Fenway Racing organization.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Stenhouse. “We’ve run really well here at Talladega. This is the closest race track to home. I got a lot of cheers riding around here today and the fans were awesome. We had a lot packed in here at Talladega and it felt old-school. Man, to finally get that win for Jack and everyone on our team is really special.”

Stenhouse Jr. led the opening 13 laps of the event before trash on the grille of his No. 17 Ford Fusion began to run his water and oil temperatures up to a point where he had to fall through the field. After an incident on lap 187, the caution was thrown, setting up the field for NASCAR Overtime. Kyle Busch, driver of the No. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Skittles Red, White and Blue Toyota Camry restarted as the leader with Stenhouse Jr. on the front row beside him. Busch surged to the lead on the restart, but Stenhouse Jr. was able to side draft just enough to get an impressive run to the front. Stenhouse Jr. was able to block the No. 18 enough to hold off his run as the field battled behind him. The Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 17 car crossed the finish line first, claiming the victory of his series career.

“There was so much going on and I knew I had to keep the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) back,” Stenhouse explained regarding the final restart. “The 1 (Jamie McMurray) got a huge run. I think the 18 thought I was gonna go to the top and we ended up getting to the bottom. We were side drafting each other like crazy, so that was one heck of a race and I’m glad we came out on top.”

Jamie McMurray was able to slide by at the finish to claim the second position, while Kyle Busch finished in third. Aric Almirola finished in fourth  with Kasey Kahne rounding out the top-five.

Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard and David Ragan completed the top-10.

There was one major accident in the race, when 17 cars were involved in the “Big One” on lap 170. AJ Allmendinger bumped into the back of Chase Elliott’s car, sending him sailing around just as Allmendinger began to spin as well. Allmendinger’s car landed upside down, while Elliott’s car was pushed along the track on its side as the field piled in behind them. Everyone involved in the incident was unharmed.

“I’m happy I didn’t get hit upside down,” Allmendinger said. ” I’m all good.  Our race team does a great job with safety.  It’s just Talladega.  It’s all it is.  The plan worked out.  We waited in the back and got up front and I had (Dale Earnhardt) Junior pushing me, I had the best guy pushing me.  I’m not sure.  Chase (Elliott) was kind of… the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and the No. 24 of Chase they were kind of moving around and at the time I think (Kevin) Harvick got behind me and we were shoving and Chase opened the door and then kind of closed it and I tried to check up just a little bit and tapped him and when I checked up it was a big wreck after that.

Kyle Larson leads the points standings in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series over Martin Truex, Jr. by 54 points.

The series returns to competition on Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET for the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. Live coverage will be found on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN).

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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