HAMPTON, Ga. – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. heard some less-than-flattering, in-car comments from competitors following last weekend’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
He’ll remember them going forward.
“There’s a lot of people mad or saying things on the radio that we saw this week, which I don’t appreciate,” Stenhouse said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “But I feel like I do everything that I have to do to make sure our car stays in the front and we led the most laps of any of the other Ford drivers and they all want to run their mouths …
“I definitely file it away. They don’t get any help from here on out. I think everybody was a little bit frustrated.”
Joey Logano was one of the most prominent voices on the radio regarding Stenhouse last weekend, radioing to his crew, “Ricky Stankhouse. God. He sucks. He’s awful,” at one point during the race.
Stenhouse’s crew chief Brian Pattie relayed Logano’s comments during the race to Stenhouse, who fired back at the No. 22 on his own radio: “Yeah the 22’s an idiot. We know he’s out for himself. I don’t care to help the 22 ever,” he said.
Logano acknowledged his initial comment, as well as Stenhouse’s response on Friday.
“We all say things on the radio, right?” the Team Penske driver said. “We’re in the heat of the moment and sometimes you just press the button and it makes you feel better. That was right after a moment that we about crashed.
“When I say ‘about crashed,’ if I didn’t lift, the whole field was going to crash because of a move that was happening. That made me pretty mad because I lost 10 spots after that. So, that was my frustration, rightfully so.”
The No. 17 driver was pulled into the spotlight unfavorably again later on after a Lap 195 crash in the Daytona 500. Stenhouse shot through Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson, who blocked the No. 17, causing a multi-car pile-up – and some negative comments on social media toward Stenhouse.
But the No. 4 wheelman didn’t have qualms with Stenhouse when asked ahead of Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“I don’t really feel like Stenhouse did anything wrong,” Harvick said. “I feel like the 42 pulled a block that was like three seconds too late and smacked him down into the side. I don’t feel like he really did anything wrong in shooting that gap that was wide open. It was just a really, really bad block by the 42. That is why you should always watch before you complain and make a fool out of yourself, like I have done in the past. Initially that is what I would have done.
“I would have been mad at him but then you go watch the video and that wasn’t the case.”
With “100 things going on in your race car,” the cockpit of the race car can breed heated responses, according to Logano – and drivers don’t typically know the entire background of a situation.
“It’s part of it sometimes,” he said.
“You take things out of context a lot, especially in the heat of the moment when you’ve got 100 other things going on in your race car. …You don’t know until after the race, so, I don’t really hold much weight to a lot of that stuff because until you really know the whole story …
“You’re going to be on both ends of these things every now and again. You just go with the flow. Gotta be you. Be the best you you can be.”
Tune in Sunday for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta (2 p.m. ET, FOX).
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