Stenhouse Jr. Turnaround; Tale of a Champion
MIAMI (Nov. 17, 2011) – A year and a half ago Roush Fenway’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr., was fighting for his job in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang in the Nationwide Series . This weekend he heads into the NASCAR Nationwide Series finale with a 41-point lead and on the cusp of his first NASCAR Championship.
He’s going to be as good in this business as anybody has been.
“Ricky Stenhouse a year ago, was just a possibility,” said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush. “He was not a reality for sure. Ricky has matured over the winter. His Dad, Ricky Sr., has certainly counseled him and Ricky Jr., has taken his advice.”
Roush goes on to point out that the rejuvenation of Roush Fenway’s Ford Mustangs has played a role in Stenhouse’s continued development but the veteran owner adds that he feels Stenhouse is going to grow into one of the sports’ elite drivers.
The title would be Roush Fenway’s third Nationwide Series driver title and its sixth overall NASCAR Championship.
“We’ve managed to put him in better cars this year than he had last year, which could account for some of the missed wrecks that we’ve benefited from,” added Roush. “But he’s just matured. He’s arrived on the scene and he’s going to be as good in this business as anybody has been.”
Stenhouse rebounded in 2010, scoring top-10 finishes in five of the last 10 races and finishing the year by earning Rookie of the Year honors in the Nationwide Series; the 12th Rookie of the Year Award for Roush Fenway Racing.
Entering the 2011 season the team was poised to compete for the championship.
“Our goal coming into the season was to compete for the Nationwide Championship,” said Stenhouse. “We’ve led the points for the majority of the season, we’ve led quite a few laps and we’ve contended for and been able to win races. That has been the key this season for this No. 6 team.”
Stenhouse earned his first career NASCAR win earlier this year at Iowa in May and followed it up with another win at Iowa in August.
In a year to remember for the Mississippi native, Stenhouse also made his Sprint Cup debut in 2011, an 11th-place finish driving the famed No. 21 Wood Brothers’ Ford in the Coca-Cola 600 in May.