Stenhouse, Roush Racing Ford Chicagoland post-race interview

Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 6 Blue Bird Ford Mustang
TALK ABOUT YOUR WIN HERE TODAY. “We felt like we had a great race car in practice. We started the race and were a little tighter than we thought we would be. We thought the race track would loosen up a little bit but Mike and the guys made great adjustments throughout the race and we kind of went both ways a couple of times but seemed to really hit it that last run. I cost us a lot of spots there when I stalled it on pit road so we had to drive back up through the field and then that last restart I felt like we would catch Kyle (Busch) but thought it would take a little longer. He jumped out a little quicker in the runs before and then kind of fell off there towards the end but we were able to catch him pretty quick and take our Mustang to victory lane. It felt like we left one out on the table here last time we were here leading the most laps and ended up second so to get the car exactly where it needed to be at the end, I really had no complaints that last run. That thing was really solid and that is Mike’s hard work and all the guys at the shop and Roush Yates engines. Everything was working well today.”

MIKE KELLEY, crew chief, No. 6 Blue Bird Ford Mustang
TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE CHANGES YOU MADE ON PIT ROAD TODAY. “Like Ricky said, we started off tighter than we thought we would and made small adjustments early trying to figure out what would make it get the drive off and bite that he needed without making it too tight in the center. We made a real small adjustment one time and he didn’t like it. We were trying to go back on that and made a few other changes, multiple changes one time and went the wrong way on one and had to compensate for it the next time. The guys did a good job getting adjustments in when we make multiple adjustments, we just missed it that one time. When Ricky stalled the car on pit road that one time we could see the lap times were good and the 54 had a little fall off and that is all we needed was a chance to get in close and that last restart he fired off there and the lap times were pretty incredible. We were able to pull it off and I think we led 135 laps here the first race and cautions fell just exactly the wrong way and I think Ricky wasn’t going to be denied today. He stepped up and took it today.”

JACK ROUSH, co-owner, No. 6 Blue Bird Ford Mustang
THIS YOUNG MAN LOOKS BOUND AND DETERMINED TO WIN HIS SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP. “He certainly is in championship form. It was great to be here with a new sponsor, Blue Bird. Since we hadn’t won here I don’t think Ford had won here either so we got caught up on that. One of the things that is hard to look at in watching Mike and Ricky from a safe distance
I was down at the other end of the pit stand there but Ricky does a really great job of finding a part of the race track that will work for whatever setup he is given. Through the race he was moving around and finding what the race track would give him and Mike was doing what he could but was fighting two things. One adjustment would make it better at one part of the corner but the same adjustment was making it worse on the other part. Ricky found a place on the race track he could run and was really on his game today. Congratulations guys, you did a great job.”

YOU TOOK THE POINTS LEAD FROM SADLER TODAY. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE MOMENTUM NOW WITH 10 RACES LEFT? “The last four races I think we have finished second and first, second and first. I feel like we have good momentum. But in this business and this sport anything can change at any time. You have to keep your guard up and keep not making mistakes. We were very fortunate that we overcame the mistakes that we had today, both on pit road with a wrong adjustment and a stalled car. We overcame that today and that is what we need to keep doing. As we keep going we have to make sure we don’t make those mistakes and I feel like the 2 car is not done winning and we aren’t done winning either. We have to stay on our ‘A’ game.”

HOW MUCH THAT YOU LEARNED TODAY WILL YOU BE ABLE TO USE TO YOUR BENEFIT TOMORROW? “The cars are so much different and the engines are different with much less power so there won’t be a great benefit. The tires are the same and what was done with the pressure today and how that affected the car throughout the run, the crew chiefs for tomorrow’s race will be after Mike tonight. He won’t be able to hide from them. He will have to give it up. That will be probably the only benefit is the things that went right or wrong on tire pressure.”

DO THE OTHER DRIVERS COME ASK YOU QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW YOU DID TODAY FOR THEIR RACE TOMORROW? “No, I don’t think so. Our Nationwide cars you don’t have to lift all the way to run through the corners here and the Cup cars you have to lift. You have to use brake and you drive them totally different. I think you could learn quite a bit watching on TV. If they are sitting in their motor home watching the different lines we run and how they come in and things like that. That is the biggest thing. Like Jack said, I think the biggest thing for them tomorrow is talking to Mike and looking at air pressure because that is the one similarity between the two cars that they have. They won’t ask me anything.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED “Well, they probably should but I don’t know that they will.”

DOES THAT MEAN YOU CAN’T CELEBRATE TOO MUCH TONIGHT? “No, whether we win or not we sit down with my engineer Seth and the engineer from Ford and always do a race debrief and we send that out to all our Cup crew chiefs and engineers. As the night rolls along I will get in a conversation with Matt Puccia, Chad Norris and Jimmy Fennig and we will talk between tonight and tomorrow multiple times I am sure. They will ask us what we thought the track did, what the tires did, what the changes did. The motors they run versus what we do
we can’t help them a lot with car stuff but we have a real good working relationship with those guys. I have worked with Jimmy Fennig for a long time and he is like a dad to me and taught me most the stuff I know on race cars and working with drivers. Any information we can give to him and Matt or Puccia and Biffle or Carl and Norris to give them a shot tomorrow we definitely will. We all succeed when our Cup teams are doing well.”

WAS THERE EVER A POINT IN THE SEASON SO FAR YOU FELT YOU DIDN’T HAVE A CHANCE AT ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP? “Never, no. I felt like we have been one of the best cars each week and that we have been really consistent. We have been consistent when we didn’t need to be too with three consecutive races of like a 26th finish. We were consistent in the wrong way those three races. I feel like in those three that we had a top five race car just about every time. We don’t ever count ourselves out of it and it doesn’t matter how far we are back. We have come from way back and gained the points lead and then we turned around and have lost it as well. I think we gave up 35 points at one time in that three race stretch and lost the points lead. I think you don’t ever count yourself out in this sport and this business. Like I said, anything can happen at any time and you just have to make sure you are watching everything you are doing.”

AT ONE POINT THERE WERE PLANS FOR YOU TO RUN SOME CUP RACES THIS YEAR TO GET YOU READY FOR NEXT YEAR. ARE THOSE PLANS SET OR DOES IT MATTER ON IF YOU ARE IN CONTENTION FOR THE NATIONWIDE TITLE? “We are going to run Dover and a couple others. Right now we are really focused on this Nationwide series championship. If we felt like running a Cup race would distract us then we wouldn’t do it but I just like track time. It doesn’t matter in what type of car it is. It could be a truck. As long as we are out there getting lap experience on any race track I feel like I am learning something. I don’t think that is going to change but I guess that is up to Jack. I feel like we are good to go.”

“There are three races but could be more. We don’t have a plan for more but if there becomes a compelling reason to run more then we will run more.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO SIT WITH CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BOTH THE NATIONWIDE AND CUP SERIES AT THE END OF THE YEAR? “Most of the years when we haven’t won a championship I have felt that I didn’t do something. I will feel like I haven’t let them down this year if we could win both. I would be proud to be part of them.”

HOW MUCH SIMILARITY FROM SPRINT CARS TO YOUR SUCCESS HERE CAN YOU GIVE TO THE DIRT TRACK EXPERIENCE YOU HAD? “Mike gives credit to it. The race cars are totally different but when we have a loose race car and I am having to turn to the right I am not uncomfortable. In these Nationwide cars with the lower horsepower there is a fine line that you want it loose and sideways to run fast. Generally I am not very happy if I am just turning left. Mike gives a lot of credit to that and I learned everything I knew about racing from my dad and running sprint cars and watching him runs sprint cars for a long time and then when I was behind the wheel. That is where I learned racing. I feel like it has taught me a lot.”

Source: Roush Fenway Racing

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About this article
Drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Article type Press conference
Tags ford, kelly, nationwide, roush, stenhouse