Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s first career NASCAR victory party started sans his father, who had been detained by Talladega Superspeedway security while attempting to make his way to Victory Lane in a bizarre sequence of events.
Watching from a trailer near Turn 3, an "extremely excited" Ricky Stenhouse Sr. found himself out of position to celebrate the end of his son's 158-start winless streak following Sunday's Geico 500. Like any good dad might, he improvised.
What followed is a story the Stenhouses won't soon forget, as recounted by Russell Branham, the public relations director at Talladega:
“His son wins the race, (so) he goes down, he 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 of the perimeter road of turn No. 3 outside the venue.
“He wants to go through the tunnel (under the track) and get in here. Our guys saw it. Naturally, they stopped him, asked him who he was (and) said, ‘Would you get in the car?’ They placed him in the car, talked to him. They said, ‘Who are you?’
“He said, ‘I’m Ricky Stenhouse’s father.’
"‘Hold on one second, sir. Let me call the director of security.’ (They) called our security guy, and our security guy said, ‘Take him to Victory Lane.'"
Apparently the elder Stenhouse had his golf cart stolen at some point over the weekend, complicating matters. He eventually made it in time to catch the end of the celebration.
Ricky Jr., 29, has been racing in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2011, so if ever there's an occasion that warrants scaling a massive fence out of pure excitement, this was it. In fact, the younger Stenhouse revealed after the race this wasn't the first time his dad went to extreme measures to congratulate his son after a race.
"When I won at Kentucky (an ARCA race in 2008), he climbed the fence, and I climbed the other side and met him at the top," Stenhouse said. "My dad has done so much for me and my career. Everything I have learned is from him."