Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Passionate About Racing, Points Battling and Singing
By Mary Jo Buchanan On Fri, Jun. 01, 2012
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has many passions, from sporting his Nationwide championship belt buckle from last year to racing hard in his No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford against the likes of Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon for the points lead in this year’s Nationwide season.
But who knew that he had another secret passion?
“I really like to sing,” Stenhouse said. “I sing a lot, but I’m not really good at it.”
“I like country music,” Stenhouse continued. “I know a lot of lyrics but I can’t get them to come out the right way.”
“I karaoke to myself in the cars, but not on the stage or in front of anybody.”
Unfortunately, the young Roush Fenway Racing superstar did not have much to sing about after last weekend’s race in Charlotte. He finished the History 300 in the 26th position after suffering mechanical problems.
“You’ll have those bad races,” Stenhouse said philosophically. “We started out the season with a bad race at Daytona and then we had nine good races after that, with the worst finish being sixth.”
“We kind of had a stumble last week,” Stenhouse continued. “Charlotte, I feel like normally I would be disappointed and look at the bad things that happened.”
“But I feel like we got to look at the positives, in that we were really fast and we were able to learn some stuff when we got back out,” Stenhouse said. “Our guys changed a transmission and drive shaft in twenty green flag laps.”
“So, all in all, there were a lot of things that were really good about our day and one little bad thing in that we didn’t get the result that we felt we could have.”
Stenhouse also credits his ability to put things behind him as a major saving grace in the midst of his racing passion. Although he admitted that he does give himself just a little bit of time to brood after a bad session.
“You put it behind you and go on,” Stenhouse said. “You have to take one race at a time, especially because it is a long season.”
“The way I generally look at things is that I reflect on it for a day and then move on,” Stenhouse continued. “So, Sunday, I thought about it and Monday I was thinking about Dover.”
Stenhouse Jr. is also pretty passionate about points racing, especially since it is with his nemesis Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet. He currently has a 13 point advantage over Sadler in the point standings.
“We always want to outrun him,” Stenhouse said of Sadler. “We want to be the highest finishing Nationwide guy each week.”
“We want to win every week and beat all the Cup guys,” Stenhouse continued. “We’ve done it this year at the companion races and that always feels a little better.”
“We’re focused on beating everybody, not just the 2 though,” Stenhouse said. “Like I said, when we race, we’re both going to be right there.”
Stenhouse Jr. also acknowledged that he might not just be racing the No. 2 car exclusively for the championship. One other challenger may well be Austin Dillon, in the No. 3 American Ethanol/New Holland Chevrolet, racing for his grandfather on the Richard Childress team.
“He’s definitely there every week, running really strong and really consistent, like we knew he would,” Stenhouse said of Dillon. “He’s really good and has a lot of seat time and has run a lot of these race tracks.”
“He’s in really good equipment and has someone to learn from like Elliott,” Stenhouse continued. “I think he’s going to be there all year.”
“Right now, everybody’s talking about Elliott and me but Austin is not that far out,” Stenhouse said. “One bad race for us or for Elliot and I and he is right there in it.”
“It will be a tough battle all year.”
Stenhouse Jr. will next unleash his racing and points battling passion on the Monster Mile, a track where he has not quite had the finishes that he would have liked.
“Dover’s been good to us but we haven’t been the best,” Stenhouse said. “We’ve been really fast in practice but kind of missed it in the race.”
“We’ve had some good luck and finished in the top-five,” Stenhouse continued. “This race last year, we were probably an eighth place car and finished fourth after the wreck coming to the front straightaway.”
“There’s things we need to do to get better,” Stenhouse said. “It’s a fun race track and I really enjoy it.”
“There’s a lot of things you can do like move your car around or change your line on the race track to improve your car,” Stenhouse continued. “We’ve led laps here, just not at the right time.”
Stenhouse Jr. is not, however, as passionate about racing on the concrete. But he also realizes that everything that challenges him at the Monster Mile affect the other drivers as well.
“We’ve struggled a little bit on the concrete,” Stenhouse said. “We’ve been decent at Bristol and at Dover, but just haven’t been really, really great.”
“The concrete creates some challenges as far as the seams and the expansion joints so it gets a little rough,” Stenhouse continued. “But I like tracks that are a little rough that makes it fun and really challenging.”
“The way I look at it is that it’s the same race track for everybody so it really doesn’t matter,” Stenhouse said. “If it’s a problem for one, it’s a problem for everybody.”
Stenhouse’s final passion was fulfilled prior to his ever setting foot on the track at Dover. He got to participate in the local golf tournament raising money for autism awareness.
“I don’t have any family members or anything like that with autism but I was able to play in the Drive for Autism golf tournament and had a lot of fun doing it,” Stenhouse said. “It was my first time there and to meet all the kids and to try to find a cure, it was really cool to be a part of it.”
“It was a great atmosphere and I won’t miss it ever again.”