Ricky Stenhouse Jr. felt he was forced below the yellow line by Ryan Blaney, resulting in his penalty late in the Daytona 500.
Stenhouse served a pass-through penalty under green flag conditions with 38 laps to go. NASCAR officials determined that Stenhouse, the Daytona 500 pole-sitter, had advanced his position by going below the yellow line when making a pass on Blaney, who was leading the inside lane from the fifth position.
“I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with the 12,” said Stenhouse. “I went low to not crash him, and I got called for going below the yellow line. So, I don’t know. That’s the second one I’ve been called for when I felt like it was either crash the field or go below the line. I felt like I was blocked to go down there.
“When you’re going 200 (miles per hour), your momentum just carries you after they throw a block on you, so frustrated with that.”
In 2018, Stenhouse was also penalized in the Daytona 500 for the same violation. It also occurred going down the backstretch in passing Kyle Busch.
Stenhouse’s misfortune on Monday continued when, a few laps later, he had trouble coming to pit road for his scheduled pit stop. Run into from behind by Erik Jones, Stenhouse went for a spin toward the entrance of pit road as the hood of his Chevrolet bent upward. No caution was thrown, and Stenhouse lost three laps as his team made repairs.
That accident is what “ultimately ruined our night,” said Stenhouse, who finished 20th. “Went ahead and finished it off.
“Our Speedweeks were good. Our Kroger Camaro was really fast. We got to lead laps, got to run up front, got stage points in all the stages and ran up front like we wanted to. Just didn’t get the result that we wanted.”
The 24 laps that Stenhouse led were the third-most of any driver. He led the first 20 laps from the pole and restarted the postponed race from the lead on late Monday.
Stenhouse finished seventh in Stage 1 and was third in Stage 2.
Near the end of Stage 1, Stenhouse was involved in an incident that took William Byron out of the race. Stenhouse hit Byron in the left rear, which spun the Hendrick Motorsports down into the infield on the backstretch and nose-first into the wall.
Stenhouse immediately took the blame over the radio, and again post-race.
“I was going to go block the 10 [Aric Almirola] and then when I looked, the 24 [Byron] was going to follow me down and I didn’t think he was,” explained Stenhouse. “So, I just got into his left rear. I hated that because I felt like the Hendrick and Chevy’s were working really well together.”