ROOKIE TO LEAN ON ORGANIZATION'S SUCCESS AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY! FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2010) -- Rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will make his first career start at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Series' Stater Bros. 300.
ROOKIE TO LEAN ON ORGANIZATION'S SUCCESS AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY!
FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2010) -- Rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will make his first career start at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Series' Stater Bros. 300. While Stenhouse might be short on experience at the California track, the team he drives for is long on success at the two-mile superspeedway. Since 1999 in Nationwide Series competition, Roush Fenway Racing has scored six wins, 18 top-fives and 29 top-10's in 45 starts at Auto Club Speedway. In those 45 starts, five rookie drivers making their first career start in Fontana for Roush Fenway Racing averaged a 16th place finish.
"Confidence is definitely there," said Stenhouse. "Roush Fenway Racing cars always run good there and Ford always seems to be running up front. With the average finish of 16th for Roush Fenway Racing rookies running there first career Nationwide race in Fontana, it gives me a great feeling about the weekend, especially after crashing in Daytona last week. The car we're taking is good and one that I'm familiar with. The guys have been working really hard on it and I think it's one of our better cars and hopefully it will show when we get there."
Roush Fenway Racing Rookies at Auto Club Speedway
First Career Nationwide Start In Fontana
2001 -- *Greg Biffle -- Finished Sixth
2005 -- *Carl Edwards -- Finished Sixth
2006 -- Todd Kluever -- Finished 12th
2006 -- *Danny O'Quinn -- Finished 31st
2006 -- David Ragan -- Finished 41st
*Rookie of the Year
The 22-year old Mississippi-native will also have the luxury of leaning on veteran crew chief Ben Leslie who has spent the better part of 15 years patrolling garages in NASCAR. Leslie has worked with several drivers -- young and old -- in his career and is confident Stenhouse be fast in California and will raise eyebrows in 2010.
"We've got to get the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion driving good for Ricky this weekend," said Leslie. We feel pretty confident that he's going have plenty of speed. Since he hasn't raced in Fontana before, it'll take him some time to get used to the track. He'll pick it up quickly, I have confidence in him."
"Ricky is pretty amazing," added Leslie. "He appreciates people's hard-work and from a competitive standpoint he has as much or more talent than I've seen in a young driver in a long time."