Ricky Stenhouse's dad climbs NASCAR catchfence hoping to reach Victory Lane
Overcome with emotion, Ricky Stenhouse Sr. made a decision on Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway that could have cost him a chance to celebrate with his son in Victory Lane after he captured his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
As has become the usual, the elder Stenhouse had opted to watch the GEICO 500 from his RV parked outside the Alabama Gang Superstretch. But the triumph meant that Stenhouse Sr. needed to find a way inside the track to reach Victory Lane.
Instead of reaching out through official channels, Stenhouse just decided to climb the backstretch fence, something that quickly garnered the attention of track security. He was eventually escorted to his son and the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team but not without a story that quickly reached the media center.
The younger Stenhouse was asked about it during his winner’s press conference but wasn’t totally sure of the details. Fortunately, Talladega director of public relations Russell Branham was on-hand to humorously interject the track’s side of what happened.
“He was extremely excited about his son winning today, and naturally so,” Branham said. “He was actually perched on the back straightaway, up top the Alabama Gang Superstretch in an RV. His son wins the race, he goes down and tries to find a way to get across the track. He tried to climb the fence, found out he couldn’t. He begins running down outside the perimeter road outside of Turn 3, outside the venue; he wants to go through the tunnel and get in here.
“Our guys saw it, naturally they stopped him, they asked him who he was, said would you get in the car. They placed him in the car, talked to him, they said, ‘Who are you?’ Said, ‘I’m Ricky Stenhouse’s father.’ ‘Hold on one second sir, let me call the director of security.’ Called our security [and] the security guy said, ‘Take him to Victory Lane.’ And that’s what happened.”
The 29-year-old fifth-year Cup Series driver said this wasn’t out of the ordinary for his father. He said the same thing happened in 2008 at Kentucky Speedway after he captured his first ARCA triumph. As a result, Stenhouse actually drove slowly around the backstretch on Sunday hoping to pick up his dad.
“So, yeah. I went down the back straightaway [at Talladega] and looked up to see if he was there, but I didn’t see him,” Stenhouse said. “My dad, man, he’s done so much for me in my career. Everything that I’ve learned is from him, and making sure you have the right people around you is one of the things he’s all about. Making sure that you have people that respect you, that will do anything for you, and man, he sacrificed a lot for me and my career.
“Everything that I know about racing, I learned from him. I’m glad he was able to be here in Victory Lane.”