By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – Winning two out of three plates should make Stenhouse a favorite heading into next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. However, Stenhouse is not counting on winning and is focusing on points.
Taking the finishes of those in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs at the first Charlotte, Kansas, and Talladega races, Stenhouse would move on to the Round of Eight on points alone. However, stats alone still do not guarantee that Stenhouse and his No. 17 SunnyD Ford Fusion team an easy advance into the Round of Eight.
Although Stenhouse would love to win, he’s being realistic on that it will be points that will advance him and others to the Round of Eight,
“Man, I don’t know. I’d love to do it by winning Talladega, but I think, realistically, you’ve got to plan on points. That’s our mindset for now. If we took the races – the first Charlotte, the first Kansas and obviously the first Talladega – not counting the win to advance us, but if you take those points, we would have sat sixth out of the drivers that are left, so Pattie kind of showed me that this week, that if we can get back to doing what we were capable of earlier in the season that we can do it on points as well.”
“That’s gonna take a lot of effort. We’re not there right now, at least in this practice, but, like I said, as the weekend went last time we were here for the 600 we got a little bit better until we ran at night. I thought we were a little bit off, but our mindset is points right now and we’ll see how that changes after Charlotte.”
In 11 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Stenhouse has yet to score a finish inside the top-10. So far this season, he has scored two victories, four top-fives, seven top-10s, and one pole position.
Stenhouse enters the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte eighth in the Playoff Standings after the reseeding for the Round of 12. For him to move on to the Round of Eight, Stenhouse and his Roush Fenway Racing team will have to finish strong on Sunday.