Ricky Stenhouse Jr tossed the steering wheel before the car was even done barrel rolling in the Gateway Dirt Nationals
Stenhouse started at the back of the field and was inside the top-10 when he rolled it
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr qualified 13th on Friday night at the dirt track. He was in attendance for the debut of midget racing inside The Dome. He then went on to have issues in the heat race, finishing last.
The 31-year-old attempted to pilot the Keith Kunz Motorsports machine through the entire field in the B-Main. He succeeded, finishing 4th and grabbed the final transfer position into the main event on Friday.
After starting at the tail of the field, he was flying to the front in St. Louis. In the 20 car field, Stenhouse was up to 9th in a matter of no time. But, while attempting to pass two cars at the same time and take 7th, it all went wrong. He barrel rolled in turn three after smacking a rut.
On Saturday, Stenhouse started at the tail yet again. This time it was in an LCQ race. He finished 7th, missing a transfer spot into Saturday’s main event. Overall, it was an up and down weekend for Stenhouse in downtown St. Louis, Missouri during the debut for the midgets in The Dome at America’s Center.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr discusses the Gateway Dirt Nationals
I’d like to hear your thoughts on the comparisons between the Gateway Dirt Nationals and the Chili Bowl Nationals?
“Well, obviously the track’s different,” Stenhouse told RacingNews.co on Saturday morning. “The whole event’s different with the dynamic of modifieds and late models racing. It definitely changes the track for us. It makes it a little bit rougher for us, the way those cars get into the corner.”
“All in all, I think it’s a really cool event to be a part of. I felt that a lot of us, especially midget racers always kinda felt left out the first couple years when we were watching these races online.”
For the 2017 race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr actually visited The Dome as a race fan. He sat in the grandstands to watch the event.
“It’s cool to be a part of it. I thought the race track for the midgets was pretty spectacular. Real racy.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr flips in the Gateway Dirt Nationals
This interview was done on Saturday morning. The night before, Ricky Stenhouse Jr went for a wild ride in his midget.
He started at the tail of the feature. But, within a few laps he was up to 9th. Stenhouse was flying around the top and passing cars like they were on the brakes. He was putting on a show for the St. Louis dirt racing crowd.
Until he went to the bottom for the first time. Stenhouse clipped a rut. The car launched toward the sky and was sent into and immediate barrel roll at the entry to turn three.
“I had been running the top the whole time. I passed a lot of cars. I ran up on Logan Seavey and one other car. I just caught them really fast.”
“At the last second, I turned to go run the bottom. I hit a rut that I guess was fairly big.”
I think that was your first time to the bottom. Right?
“Yeah. That was my first time to the bottom.”
“I generally don’t like running the bottom. I ran down there a little bit in the B-Main. It was rough but it didn’t seem that bad.”
“I guess just as the modified and late model races went on, it just got a little bit rougher. They fixed it for the second feature.”
The Gateway Dirt Nationals staff brought out some equipment after that feature. They filled in some of the holes with dirt then packed them in to smooth out the track for the second preliminary midget feature on Friday night.
The crash looked violent. Just, because it rolled so quickly. At the same time, it didn’t even look like there was any damage to the car after the crash.
“Yeah, not much. I probably could have jumped back in it and kept going. I thought there was no way that was going to happen. So, I just got on and left.”
I’m pretty sure you tossed the steering wheel before the car was even done flipping?
“Yeah, I tend to do that,” Stenhouse concluded with a laugh.