Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – A True ChampionBy Jason Schultz
The Nationwide and the Sprint Cup Series differ, a lot. The Nationwide Series is full of young, soon to be successful drivers and drivers who are trying to salvage a career. The Sprint Cup Series is filled with the best stock car drivers in the world and it is way more competitive than the Nationwide Series. The Sprint Cup Series will throw many surprises at Stenhouse Jr. as he enters his rookie year in 2013 and it will be the way Stenhouse Jr handles them that will dictate how successful he will be. Stenhouse Jr. will be looking for his third consecutive NASCAR championship next season but it likely won’t come. He will need to gain some experience and in a few seasons, he will be competing for another championship.
The season Stenhouse Jr. had this season was memorable and exciting. Numerous times we witnessed Stenhouse Jr. in the wall or involved in a wreck but when he wasn’t involved in a wreck, he was running up front. Stenhouse Jr. won six races this season and no race was more memorable for Stenhouse Jr. this season than the Kansas race in October. Stenhouse Jr. essentially wrecked halfway through the race but he managed to win the race after completing an incredible comeback. Stenhouse Jr. passed Kyle Busch for the lead in that race on the final lap when Busch ran out of fuel. That race was a race a champion drove and conquered.
One of the lows for Stenhouse Jr. this season was at Dover in June when he wrecked. The most shocking thing about that wreck was that it occurred without contact from any other driver and Stenhouse Jr. wrecked himself. At that time, Stenhouse Jr. was having a rough patch and that wreck added salt to the wound. The true champion Stenhouse Jr. is allowed him to bounce back and be dominant enough to win the championship. By the summer races, Elliot Sadler was doing very well and leading the points and for Stenhouse Jr. to catch up to him like he did was incredible and showed how ready Stenhouse Jr. is for the Cup Series.
Stenhouse Jr. had such a great season in 2012 and it was the ups and downs that propelled him to the championship. Stenhouse Jr. could have easily given up halfway through the season when times were tough but he didn’t. He kept on going and his hard work paid off when he held up the championship trophy in Homestead. If there was any driver who was ready to take on the challenges the Sprint Cup Series has to offer, it’s Stenhouse Jr.
During the three seasons Stenhouse Jr. was in the Nationwide Series, we’ve seen him grow into a top level race car driver. He will create some noise in the Sprint Cup Series one day, and once he does, he will be unstoppable.