Last weekend’s topsy-turvy qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway left full-time Sprint Cup drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier out of the race.
Obviously, they’re both looking to put that behind them this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. They had no issues in qualifying Friday; Stenhouse will start Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 in 18th, while Allgaier will roll off 22nd.
In a NASCAR.com piece, Stenhouse insisted that he and the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team have learned from what occurred at Talladega.
“I learn real quick of things to do and not to do,” said Stenhouse, who adds that he ended up watching the race from his motorhome with some pizza and a Coke. “Sitting there watching races, especially long Cup races, makes you sit there and think about everything you need to do, whether it be get more focused and help the guys at the shop on our team more to figure out what we need to do to make our Fords fast again like they need to be.
“[I’ve] spent some time with my guys about already looking ahead to next year at the things we need to do differently so we’re not in the circumstances we are (in) right now in terms of being further back in points and not running as well.”
Stenhouse’s girlfriend and on-track rival, Danica Patrick, revealed yesterday that she was angry enough over the qualifying format used at Talladega to vent her frustrations in person at the NASCAR hauler – partly, according to her, because of her beau missing the show and partly because she felt it could have been her in that position.
In that same press conference, Patrick said that Stenhouse had initially wanted to go home after the DNQ.
“As much as a girlfriend [that] I wanted him to stay and be there, I was like ‘I get it, if you want to go home – go home. I get it,'” she said. “He wanted to ride the tractor all day and not even watch the race, which kind of for a second made me go, ‘Oh, then you won’t watch. I get it.’ I wouldn’t want to watch either if I was in that scenario, so I really understood where he was coming from.”
However, Stenhouse ultimately stayed to take care of sponsor commitments at the track.
Meanwhile, Allgaier was equally stunned to miss Talladega (according to USA Today’s Jeff Gluck, a reporter broke the news to him before he got official word from his HScott Motorsports team). But he’s hopeful that better times lie ahead at Martinsville.
“We had a tough weekend at Talladega, and the best cure for that is getting back in the car,” the Cup rookie said this week.