Roush Fenway Racing travels to Michigan in confident mood after Stenhouse Jr. career-best

Resplendent in the striking new Acronis livery on his No.17 team Acronis Ford Mustang for the first time, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. battled to a career-high 15th-place finish at Watkins Glen International over the weekend.

It was an encouraging race for Stenhouse Jr., who had also achieved a career-best starting position of 12th on the grid. And it could have gone even better but for losing a handful of positions at the start. However, Stenhouse was able to recover well to 13th at one stage when the first green-checkered flag was waved.

The race then became one of tactical decision making, crew chief Brian Pattie choosing to keep Stenhouse out on track in the hope of going the race distance on one more stop. Dropping back to 21st, the stop for fresh tires, fuel and chassis adjustment saw him running 18th for the final 25 laps before improving to 15th by the finish.

“All in all it was a decent weekend,” Stenhouse said afterward. “We usually struggle in qualifying so to advance to the second round was a huge accomplishment for our No. 17 team. I think this downforce package helps me a little bit here because you can be harder on the throttle through the esses. Overall, it was a mistake-free weekend for our No. 17 team which is what we needed.”

In the other No.6 Acronis Ford Mustang, Ryan Newman experienced a double dose of bad luck, an air gun issue during his first stop forcing him to the rear of the field before a right-front tire problem forced an unscheduled stop on lap 50. To compound his misfortune, Newman drove through too many boxes exiting the pit road, leading to a pass through penalty.

Restarting 33rd after a caution allowed him to take the free pass, Newman pitted a final time on lap 64 and made up several places to finish 25th.

The team will be hoping for a more trouble free showing when racing resumes at Michigan International Speedway on August 11.

“I’m looking forward to this weekend at Michigan,” said Stenhouse in his team’s race preview. “We have made some improvements to our Fastenal Ford since the last time we raced there. This is the home track for Ford and Roush Industries so we always want to perform well in their backyards. Jack has had a lot of success at Michigan. Last weekend at Watkins Glen, we executed really so looking to carry that over to this weekend. I think if we can have another mistake free weekend, then we should leave Michigan with a solid finish.

“Michigan has always been an entertaining track due to it being so wide, which creates some exciting passing and racing,” added Newman. “We earned a top-10 last time there in June, so we’re hoping to capitalize on that and gain some valuable points this weekend in the back yard of Ford and Jack Roush in our Wyndham Rewards Ford Mustang.”

Motorsport Technology