With one lap to go for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, it was Roush Fenway driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr who earned his first Monster Energy Cup win Sunday holding off Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne for the checkered flag. Waiting in Victory Lane was fellow driver and long time girlfriend, Danica Patrick who’s race was cut short due to “The Big One” with 20 laps to go.
“We’ve been terrible for a long time, but this year, every race, we’re getting better and better,” Stenhouse told Fox Sports. “This car was so fast today, qualifying on the pole, get the win. It’s cool to have Jack Roush back in victory lane. This is cool, closest track to my home town and man, the fans were here this weekend.” this win ended Roush Fenway’s 101st winless streak.
Fan and Vegas favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 22nd after having to pit due to a lost tire with 14 laps left to go until the finish. Earnhardt Jr had been struggling most of the race to get to the front. During the race, he complained of missing the set up on the car and struggling with the side draft.
“The Big One” as expected reared its ugly head late in the race and involved 19 cars including Elliot, Truex Jr, Harvick, Bayne and as stated, Danica Patrick. AJ Allmendinger pushed a little too hard on Chase Elliot causing the wreck which left him upside down on the track. Red flag flying and 26 minutes later we went back to green.
This win qualifies Stenhouse Jr into the 2nd round of NASCAR’s playoffs and will be his first time eligible to race for the Championship. Next week we are off to Kansas Speedway for The Go Bowling 400, Saturday night under the lights on Fox.