Ford Racing press release
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 Blackwell Angus/Cargill Ford Mustang, is leading the NASCAR Nationwide standings by 14 points going into this weekend’s OneMain Financial 200. He spoke to members of the media on Friday morning about his hopes for maintaining that advantage.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS STRETCH RUN? “For us, every time I’ve come to Dover we’ve had a better finish. We finished fourth the last race here and had a really fast Mustang, but we just needed a little bit more so if we can make that a little bit better, I think, obviously, we’ll have a good race here but I’m really looking at the last six race tracks. They’re really good race tracks for us. We’ve run really well at the rest of them. Jamie Allison from Ford came in this week and we’ve got a lot of things going. We’re obviously going for the driver’s championship. We’ve got to get Carl the owner’s championship (in Nationwide) and then we’ve got to get Ford the manufacturer’s championship (in Nationwide), so there are a lot of things going. Ford is putting a lot of effort into it and we’ve got a lot of things to accomplish this year and I think we can do it as a race team."
WHAT DO THINGS LOOK LIKE FOR 2012? WHAT DOES JACK SAY? “We haven’t really talked about it. Right now, my biggest focus is this Nationwide championship. I think I’ve always said after running a couple years in Nationwide I would like to run maybe a partial schedule or something just to kind of get my feet wet. I don’t want to jump into things too quick, but, like I said, I haven’t talked to Jack about it. Right now, our first order of business is getting this Nationwide Series championship wrapped up and once we get that done, maybe we’ll sit down and have some talks about it, but, right now, we haven’t had any talks about it. It was really cool to get our first start at Charlotte in the Wood Brothers car and had a lot of fun and learned a lot. We finished 11th and qualified ninth, but we didn’t run as strong as I felt like we needed to to really feel ready for it, so there’s just a lot to learn if we do run it, but we’ll have to see where that goes."
WILL YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE THIS YEAR? “No, nothing this year."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP? “It would mean a lot, it would definitely be my biggest accomplishment ever in my racing career. After the way last year went, struggling so bad the first part of the year and turning it around at the end of the year, it really makes you appreciate where we are right now as a race team. The same guys are on my car as we had last year and it would just mean a lot to everybody at Ford, my family and everybody on this race team to get that championship. We came into the year thinking that we were gonna be able to run for it and now that we’ve got six races left and have a shot at it, it’s exactly where we need to be."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR MENTALITY HEADING INTO THESE FINAL FEW RACES OF THE SEASON? “I think you’ve got to do what got you here. We go out each and every week and we feel like we have an opportunity to win. We feel like we bring great race cars to the track and that’s what we do. We go out there, we practice, we work on our car, we don’t worry about what anybody else is doing, we just make our car better and better and we go out and race and try to get the best result that we can. I think you have to be on your game, you have to go out and feel like you can win and try to win because Elliott Sadler is not gonna finish outside of the top 10, so you have to do something better to beat him in this championship. We’ve got to go out and do the same thing we’ve done all year and that’s go out and consistently run in the top five and challenge for some wins.”
ARE YOU READY TO RUN CUP? “Am I ready? I think you have to have the confidence when you go do it that you’re ready. I don’t lack any confidence. It’s something that I really want to do. I feel like the time that I got to run the Cup car I got to test it at Kentucky in the fuel injection test, so I really feel like the power kind of suits my driving style a little bit being able to play with the throttle and things like that coming from dirt cars and sprint cars, so I feel like the cars maybe suit my style a little bit better than the Nationwide cars, where you have to almost be wide open and on the edge at some of these mile-and-a-halves the whole time, I feel like you can really drive the Cup car. I feel like that part of it I’m ready to do."
KANSAS IS UP NEXT WEEKEND. WHAT’S YOUR ATTITUDE FOR NEXT WEEK? “I’m really looking forward to Kansas. We got to do the Goodyear tire test there earlier this year, which will hopefully benefit us. Last year, that was one of the good races we really had heading down the homestretch. We ran in the top five and I think we got a penalty and had to go to the back and drove our way back up to the front. We restarted third, I think, on the last restart and got trapped on the bottom and finished sixth, but had a really fast race car and ran really well, so I’m looking forward to getting back there.”