RICKY STENHOUSE JR. PREPARING TO GET BACK ON TRACK Concord, N.C. (April 1, 2008) - In what might be considered a bad April Fool's joke, The No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing ARCA team landed in Iowa for a one day test on Tuesday but awoke to snow and...
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. PREPARING TO GET BACK ON TRACK
Concord, N.C. (April 1, 2008) - In what might be considered a bad April Fool's joke, The No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing ARCA team landed in Iowa for a one day test on Tuesday but awoke to snow and freezing temperatures. Iowa is the third in a series of five test sessions the team is participating in prior to the April 13 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Salem Speedway. With driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. behind the wheel the team first tested Rockingham Speedway Easter weekend with success.
"I definitely like it," Stenhouse said of the track most refer to as "The Rock". "I talked to Matt Kenseth before I got here and he gave me some real good pointers and told me it would be the closest thing to a dirt track, being on pavement that I'd ever get to. He was right about that. Off of (turn) two it gets pretty free but it's a real fun race track to drive and all the Roush Fenway guys got the car pretty good. We were just trying some things out but on old tires we were pretty consistent and pretty pleased with our lap times."
After "The Rock" it was off to Salem Speedway for a one day test with teammate Colin Braun then on to Iowa, two tracks that Stenhouse has raced at before.
"I think our Salem test went well." Stenhouse continued, "I made a lot of laps and adjusted to driving a stock car there versus a sprint car." Stenhouse raced a USAC Sprint car at the demanding .555-mile oval in 2007 and says his previous experience was helpful. "I think racing there last year was helpful. It helped me know what line to run from the beginning which was good. Salem is a track that I really like because I like running up by the wall."
Stenhouse also raced a USAC Sprint and Midget car at Iowa last year finishing 24th and 18th respectively but don't let the finishes fool you; it's another track that Stenhouse enjoys driving.
"Iowa is in between a short-track and super speedway," said Stenhouse during the snow-delayed test on Tuesday. "It's a track that you use quite a bit of brake at which is what makes it similar to a short track, but it feels like a super speedway. I think it's a 7/8-mile but in a sprint car it definitely feels like a super speedway. It's fast."
Following Iowa, Stenhouse will travel to Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway for a one day test at each facility with the No. 99 team. Then it's off to the races as the ARCA RE/MAX Series hits the pavement at Salem Speedway for a 200-lap event, the second race of the season. When asked about all the testing and finally racing again, Stenhouse eagerly says he misses being in the race car.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Stenhouse. "Being off this long has definitely not helped especially not having a good finish at Daytona; I've been kind of dwelling on it so that's not too good. We have quite a few tests coming up here so it keeps me in the car. We'll be ready for Salem and after that we'll keep going to every single race track and hopefully making more laps and gaining a lot of confidence. I just want to race."
Stenhouse will get his chance to race this weekend as he jumps in the No. 11 USAC Sprint car owned by Walker/Guiducci Racing. Stenhouse will drive in the season opening race at the famed Eldora Speedway on Saturday, April 5, 2008. He's looking forward to getting back in the seat and back on the dirt.
"I love dirt racing and to race on the high-banks of Eldora is a lot of fun." Stenhouse raced to a win in Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) No. 21 USAC Midget last year at the "Four Crown Nationals" event and he's looking to add a Sprint car win in 2008. "There's a lot of history at that track and to win the 'Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic' would be great. To have my name next to guys like Jay Drake, Jack Hewitt and Jac Haudenschild would mean a lot. I'm going to try my hardest to win there on Saturday."