Stenhouse Jr., Almirola post
career best finishes at Bristol
Image by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images
Brad Keselowski leads the field to the green. Fords finished in four of the top-five positions Sunday.
By Dominic Aragón
March 17, 2014
While Carl Edwards virtually locked himself into the Chase with his win, two drivers scored the best finishes of their career to date Sunday.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driving for Roush Fenway Racing in his second full-time year, ran second behind teammate Carl Edwards while Aric Almirola recorded a third place effort in Richard Petty’s No. 43 car.
Stenhouse Jr.’s second place effort is his first top-5 this season, and second in the last nine races.
“We didn't qualify as well as we wanted, but we thought we had a pretty good race car,” said Stenhouse Jr. post-race. “[Crew chief] Mike [Kelley] made some good calls. We stayed out there and kept our track position and ended up second, so it was cool to have a one-two finish for Roush Fenway this weekend.”
The finish moved Stenhouse Jr. to tenth overall in points.
Almirola ran in the top-5 for much of the latter part of the race. He and Edwards started on the front row on the final restart, with Edwards eventually pulling away and claiming victory.
“The first half of the race was just a struggle to get to the front,” said Almirola. “We had a really good car, we just qualified really back in the field, and so we had to pass a lot of cars.”
The third place run was also a career best for crew chief Trent Owens, who is in his first season atop the pit box for Almirola.
Almirola moves to 20th in points, the highest ranking thus far for the team this season. But the driver believes his team is performing better than the results show.
“We've had good cars, we've had good runs,” said Almirola. “I feel like we have some really good cars right now. I think it shows, [Ford] had four of the top 5 cars tonight. Everybody has been working really hard, and that hard work pays off.”
Stats provided by racing-reference.info.