Ford Racing interview: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

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This Week in Ford Racing

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide series, will take a 14 point lead into the next race at Dover. Stenhouse talked with Ford Racing about his points lead, what it will take to maintain it, how much he has thought about winning the championship and more.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE FOR YOU TO MAINTAIN YOUR LEAD? “I think we gotta keep running like we did at Atlanta and Richmond. We need to make sure we are running up front with Carl (Edwards) and Kyle (Busch). If we can do that then I think we will be in the top-five and top-fives are gonna be what wins it. The 32 and the 2 and the 31, they all run in the top-10. I think it will take one step further of running in the top-five every week to secure that championship.”

HAVE YOU PICKED THE BRAIN OF CARL OR MATT (KENSETH) OR GREG (BIFFLE) FOR ADVICE ON HOW TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP? “Carl has kind of helped me out this year. Whether it is when we are racing and it is late in the race and a caution comes out and he will switch over to my radio and be like, ‘Hey man, make sure you keep it calm. You have a really good point’s day going and that is what you need to think about.’ Little things like that have helped me out that Carl has been able to do for us this year.”

DID YOU THINK AT ANY POINT THIS YEAR OR EVEN BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED THAT YOU COULD BE IN THIS POSITION? “I felt like we had a really good shot at it. Nobody else really did but as a team we sat down at the beginning of the year and this was our goal. We felt like we could do it. Definitely we thought we could do it and it is kind of like a dream come true to be in this situation. Overall, I think we felt like we could do it for sure.”

YOU HAVE HAD SOME FRUSTRATING MOMENTS ON THE RACE TRACK THIS YEAR WITH DIFFERENT THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED. WAS THERE A TURNING POINT? WAS THERE A SPOT WHERE YOU FELT YOU GOT THINGS FIXED OR FIGURED OUT? “Well, when we started to figure out our fuel mileage, that was a frustrating thing. We would be really fast and not get the fuel mileage that everybody else was getting. There were six races that we gave five or six spots up, just on fuel mileage. After we kind of got that figured out, I think it was kind of the turning point. We can race hard, run up front, and still get that good fuel mileage.”

ARE THERE CERTAIN THINGS THAT YOU OR THE TEAM WILL THINK ABOUT OR MAYBE EVEN CHANGE IN THESE LAST FEW RACES OR DO YOU JUST STAY THE COURSE? “We are going to try to keep things as consistent as we can and do our normal deal. We don’t want to do anything out of the box. We want to stick to our game plan that we have been doing all year because it has worked out for us. We have had Mustangs that are top-five every week in speed and that is all you can ask for. Typically we won’t really points race until we get to Phoenix or Homestead and know exactly what you need to points race. Right now it is way too early to tell.”

HOW DOES THAT WORK FOR YOU WHEN YOU ARE POINTS RACING? ARE YOU LOOKING DURING CAUTIONS? ARE THEY TELLING YOU IN YOUR EAR? “I will try not to look. I will let them tell me where everybody else is. Every now and then, if we are having a bad race, I wasn’t happy with the car at Richmond, Mike Kelley would come over and tell me where the 2 car and 32 car were at and he would encourage me. That reminds me that we are still in a good position, even if it is not as good as we want it to be. Little things like that will help us down the home stretch.”

DO YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO DAYDREAM AT ALL ABOUT WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “I try not to but obviously we are human and you go there. I have been thinking about it ever since we were in Homestead last year. We won Rookie of the Year last year and we were at the banquet watching the 22 team up on stage winning that championship trophy. Mike and myself were sitting there at the table and told each other that we wanted that to be us next year. We have been thinking about it ever since last year. This team has put a lot of hard work into it. We want to do it for everybody at Ford and Roush Fenway and all our sponsors. You daydream about it a little bit but we still have a job to do.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , Mike Kelley
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Tags ford, roush, stenhouse