The Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway could’ve went smoother for those drivers representing Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but a determined Ricky Stenhouse Jr. managed to give the Blue Oval a top ten despite the automaker’s rough luck.
Things were rough for Ford from the get-go. After a 90-minute rain delay the green flag finally waved at Bristol and two of top Fusion drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, lost their chances at finishing on the lead lap almost right away. Keselowski was running near the outside on Lap 19 when his car got loose and slid across the track, collecting teammate Joey Logano at the same time.
“The rain was coming in and out and the car just took off on me,” said Keselowski. “I would like to blame the rain, but I honestly don’t know. Usually when a car gets that far sideways and it’s kind of out of nowhere there’s a reason behind it. I just really hate that I tore up my teammate in the process. That’s really a bummer. I felt like I had a pretty normal line and it just flew crazy sideways on me. It’s a bummer for everybody at Team Penske to tear up both cars that way.”
A red flag was put out for rain once again following the wreck and racing resumed four hours later. Stenhouse earned some much-needed track position by taking a strategic two-tire pit stop under caution on Lap 62, helping him moving into the top ten by the race’s midway point. He pitted for the final time with 125 laps to go and restarted 15th, but a series of good restarts allowed him to quickly gain positon.
Stenhouse was sitting in sixth for the final restart under a green-white checkered flag and used the final two laps to move his way up to fourth. Aric Almirola, David Gilliland and Sam Hornish Jr. joined Stenhouse in the top 20, finishing 13th, 18th and 19th, respectively.