Stenhouse Jr. Down But Not Out

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"We keep our head up because we’re only four points out, so I think that’s the key message around the shop this week was we had, by far, the worst race we could have ever thought of having and we’re still close. " (Photo: Getty Images)

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is not giving up hope after getting off to a bad start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Stenhouse Jr. had a rough day last Sunday in the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway starting with a trip into the wall and eventually ended up with a 25th-place finish.

It dropped the Roush Fenway Racing driver to 14th in the playoff standings coming into Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“It’s the worst playoff race I’ve ever had,” Stenhouse Jr. joked Friday morning at New Hampshire.  “Actually, it was only the first playoff race I ever had, but it did not go according to plan. 

“We had some tough meetings this week about just why we missed it.  Looking back at the test that we had that we felt pretty good about at Chicago and trying to figure out where we went wrong, just trying to work through the process of why our cars weren’t any better there – really mine or Trevor’s.  There were some tough meetings had, but they were productive at the same time.  I’m just very fortunate that we really had some good meetings that really opened a lot of people’s eyes and really, I think, got everybody working even harder than what they already were.”

Stenhouse Jr. won two times in the regular season at Talladega and Daytona to make the playoffs and remains optimistic he can get out of the hole he dug to start the playoffs with a pair of good finishes to end the opening round in New Hampshire and Dover.

“We had a decent race last time we were here and I feel like over my race here we’ve had some fast cars, so I look forward to the strategy and things that we can play come Sunday,” he said. “First off, we’ve got to get driving good throughout the weekend, but it makes New Hampshire and Dover very, very important.”

He believes nobody on his team has given up despite the disappointment experienced last weekend.

“We keep our head up because we’re only four points out, so I think that’s the key message around the shop this week was we had, by far, the worst race we could have ever thought of having and we’re still close.  I think that’s the key,” Stenhouse Jr. said.

 

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