AVONDALE, Ariz. –Though Ricky Stenhouse Jr. didn’t win Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix by staying out on old tires—as Ryan Newman did—the driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford did hold onto fourth place during a two-lap overtime.
That Stenhouse was able to score his eighth career top five is emblematic of improved performance at Roush Fenway Racing, but Stenhouse says there’s still work to do.
“I have definitely seen a difference in the quality (of the RFR cars),” Stenhouse said. “We still have a long way to go, but we’ve made a big improvement from last year, especially the end of last year. In Atlanta, we had a really good car and got the right front fender tore off on the last restart. I thought we would finish fifth to 10th there. I thought we had a 15th place car in Vegas and had an issue with the axle at the end.
“Today, I thought we had a 10th-place car on the long run and took a gamble, and were able to get a better finish there at the end. I think our cars and the attitude at the shop is really good. (Teammate) Trevor (Bayne) has some solid finishes here in the first few races, and that’s something encouraging and something to build off of. I feel like we have had speed, just haven’t gotten the finishes for the speed we have. It’s better to have speed and have to figure out how to get the finishes.”