Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was running in the top 20 when his Ford Ecoboost Ford suffered two blown tires in the final 15 laps, forcing the two-time Nationwide champion to settle for a 34th-place finish in Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

“I’m glad today is over,” said Stenhouse. “I think we would have had a top-20 finish but we suffered two blown tires in a matter of 10 laps. It was great to see all the fans at Fontana and their excitement.”

The 2013 Rookie of the Year started his second career Cup start at Auto Club Speedway in the 22nd-position but gradually fell back as he battled an ill-handling machine. With multiple cautions displayed due to tire issues, Stenhouse steadily moved forward running in the top-20 as the laps dwindled down.

With 15 laps remaining, Stenhouse was running in the 19th-position when he suddenly blew a right rear tire causing his Ford to spin through the grass and forcing him to pit-road. The Olive Branch, Miss. native returned to the two-mile track in the 34th-position. A few laps later, Stenhouse suffered a flat left rear forcing the Roush Fenway Racing driver to settle for a 34th-place finish.

RFR PR