This Week in Ford Racing
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend, leaving the spotlight squarely on the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Nashville Superspeedway. Roush Fenway drivers Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Trevor Bayne are fourth and seventh, respectively, in the series point standings and took time out earlier this week to talk with Ford Racing about their expectations.
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – No. 6 Blackwell Angus Beef Ford Mustang
TALLADEGA DIDN’T GO AS WELL AS YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED, SO HOW DO YOU VIEW THIS WEEKEND? “Talladega wasn’t good to us, but we were really fast. Trevor and I just kind of met in the middle there and it didn’t quite work out for us. There was nothing on purpose or anything like that, so we’ll go on to Nashville this weekend. Nashville isn’t one of my favorites, but this Mustang we’ve had this year has been really strong at every race track, so that’s why I’ve got high hopes going to Nashville. The guys have been working on it for two weeks since Texas because at Talladega you don’t really work on a setup, so they’ve been focused on Nashville and I think they’ve come up with some really good stuff. I think all of our cars are gonna be really strong and we’re looking forward to getting there.”
IS THIS THE FIRST TIME ALL YEAR WHERE WE GET TO SEE THE CHARACTER OF YOUR TEAM AND HOW IT REACTS TO SOME ADVERSITY? “I think so. Obviously, it showed last year with getting it turned around from the first half to the second half, and to win a championship you have to be able to bounce back from weekends like Talladega with a strong finish at the next event, and I think we can do that. Our confidence is still as high as it was, and, like I said, we’ve been fast every week. We had a really fast car at Talladega and could have won the race. We led some laps, so our confidence is still high, we just have to go and not make mistakes and I think we can be up front.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU SAW THE POINT STANDINGS AND REALIZED YOU’RE ONLY EIGHT POINTS OUT OF THE LEAD? “It’s close. That’s what we built that points lead up for is for a bad race. We went into Daytona just hoping to get out of there and we did. Bristol was kind of the same way, you kind of go in there and just want to get a decent finish and finish the race. We built the points lead up and knowing Talladega anything can happen and, obviously it did, but we’re only eight points back. We’ve been behind before. We didn’t start this thing on top and we just have to make sure we finish up there.”
The concrete tracks have been an issue for me...
WHAT’S THE CHALLENGE FOR YOU AT NASHVILLE? “The concrete tracks have been an issue for me and just really getting the feel I need in the race car, but Bristol was the first time we ran the Mustang on a concrete track and we were really fast. I felt like I got a better feel for it and, hopefully, Nashville will be the same way.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT HAVING TO RUN ONLY ONE RACE THIS WEEKEND AT NASHVILLE? “This is gonna be the first time for a Nationwide only weekend. I’ve done a Cup only weekend, but now I’m looking forward to the Nationwide only weekend to really spend some time with the guys and focus on that car. Plus, it’s Nashville. It’s a hometown track. It’s more of my style as far as heavy braking and those kind of deals, so I like it.”
We’re 12 points out of the lead and we gained probably 20 last weekend...
WHAT ABOUT YOUR POSITION IN THE NNS STANDINGS? “We’re 12 points out of the lead and we gained probably 20 last weekend, so I feel like it can change very fast and that’s why it’s important to be consistent every weekend and that’s what we’re trying to do, consistently finish in the top-10 and top-five and if we do that, then we’re gonna be good to go. I’m glad to see the points deal is playing out this close. It’s good for NASCAR, but it’s a little stressful on the drivers, where if you have one bad weekend you can fall pretty quickly, or you can gain a lot, but, hopefully, we’ll be in the lead here soon and go on with our year.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON THE NATIONWIDE CAR ONLY FOR A FEW WEEKS? “I’m pumped about it. I think it’s gonna be really good for the Nationwide team. I wish I was running the Cup races. I wish I was doing both because I love running these Cup races, but it’s gonna be good for our points and good for our weekends when I can just focus on one car.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFICULTY IN GOING FROM THE NATIONWIDE MUSTANG TO SPRINT CUP FUSION? “As far as the physical part and the muscle memory and driving these cars, Talladega and Daytona are the best places because it transfers back and forth, but when you go to a place like Richmond or places like that it’s totally different to drive those two cars. When you can just focus on one it gives you a mental break, a physical break, it gives you everything just because you can focus on that car, but, then again, you’re getting double the track time when you’re running both series. So, like I said, everything is two ways. There are good things and bad things to both of them.”
-source: ford racing