Ford NNS Post Race (Race Winner Press Conference)

Ford Racing Notes & Quotes:

Kansas Lottery 300 NNS Post Race (Kansas Speedway)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

American Muscle


JACK ROUSH, Owner, No. 6 Ford Mustang – TALK ABOUT THAT EXCITING RACE AND THE VICTORY WITH RICKY TODAY. “If I can get my heart back in my chest I will be all set. Today was a never say die day for the guys. Ricky has been fraught with frustration over some of the things that have happened and Mike Kelley has done his best to figure out what he needs. It has been a building year. We had the year this year that probably we should have had last year and last year should have probably been this year. At any rate, the car was not very good in practice and they were disappointed with where they qualified. It was a revelation when they got in the race that they figured out when they stayed out and everyone else pitted that the car was pretty good out front. From that point on they decided they were going to try to stay out front all afternoon so they could be with the better setup going for them. Of course then Ricky had his problem with Joey Logano which from what I saw was 100-percent Ricky’s fault. He just ran into him. I am sure Ricky will call Joey and talk to him about it but we are all sorry about that. I figured that was the end of the day for him. He lost two laps and had the car tore up. Probably the rear axle is bent and the truck arm is probably bent and the quarter panel is organized so it wouldn’t make much side force so I figured that would be the end of it. Of course as we get close to the end, and I have been doing this for 25 years and watching from a safe vantage point behind pit road, I had a feeling that making up the lap when he did and what everyone else was doing on gas could be a formula and a strategy that could wind up winning the race. Of course that caution came just at the right time and it took awhile to clean the race track up and ran everybody out of gas. It was a race we didn’t deserve to win but we will take this one and move on.”

HOW DO YOU THINK WHAT WE SAW TODAY WILL RELATE TO THE CUP RACE TOMORROW? “I think the race track got better as rubber built up on it today. I think it was better after the ARCA race then it was before. I think the second groove will open up and it will be the kind of Kansas race we have been used to with a little more grip and I guess tomorrow it is supposed to be a little warmer than it was even today. I think the track will be fine and the apprehension about getting on and off pit road proved not to be a problem or at least I am not aware it was. I think we are in for a great race tomorrow and the fans will enjoy it.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR, No. 6 Cargill/Sam’s Club Ford Mustang – TALK ABOUT THAT RACE OUT THERE TODAY. “It was eventful. We had a lot of things go wrong and then we had a lot of things go right. It felt like at the beginning of the race I wasn’t as happy with the car as we were in practice. We got out front and Mike made some changes and I felt like we had one of the fastest race cars here and then I made a mistake where we got some debris on the grille and I was trying to get it off on the 18 up on his back bumper. About that time he had to lift and I turned and drove right into the side of him. I thought our day was done but Mike and the guys did a great job at repairing the right side of the car as best they could and making adjustments so that we could still run fast. I thought we had a top five car still with all the damage. The cautions fell our way and Mike kept making great calls when we would come down pit road and we were able to get back on the lead lap and it put us in position where we were able to get fuel. We weren’t worried about running out and that played into our favor for sure. I thought we were going to end up second and then Kyle ran out there at the end and it played right into our hand.”


MIKE KELLEY, crew chief, No. 6 Ford Mustang – STRATEGY WAS A BIG PART OF TODAY’S RACE. TALK ABOUT YOUR VIEW FROM UP THERE ON THE PIT BOX. “It changed about as many times today as anything I have ever seen. We talked a lot earlier in the week and last week I felt I missed an opportunity to make a strategy call and win us a race on fuel mileage and that ate at me all week. We talked that this week we had to make something happen. Me and my engineer we looked at what we could do to put ourselves in position, whether it was try to lead the most laps early or take this race. We had the strategy that we would get off sequence early and put ourselves up front and that with a single groove race track early in the run it would keep us up there a long time. The car was good up front and then we got in that incident and it looked bleak there. We were two laps down and generally when you get that way you can’t get those laps back with so many cars one lap down. It worked out in our favor and we kept looking at different things we could do. It is tough because the leaders weren’t having to pit so we weren’t able to take the wave around and we kept getting stuck there but then it all shook out and we got back on the lead lap and we knew we had a fast car. We just needed track position and cautions to fall the right way and it did. Those guys were basically sitting ducks. They had made their bed earlier on fuel mileage and for one time it played out in our favor and we were able to take advantage of it.”

RICKY STENHOUSE SR., — TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELING WITNESSING YOUR SON MAKE THAT COMEBACK TODAY. “It was one of the most unbelievable finishes I have seen except for the one where they blew the engine. It is just the way it is with never giving up. We never give up. Jack Roush has never given up on him and even when he had a rough time Jack believed in him. He has won six races this year and two last year to make eight total and I think there are a lot more for him.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – “This is a great family to be a part of. I feel like I am part of the Stenhouse family. They asked me before if what I had done to help manage Ricky in a manner to help him realize his potential and I really said I didn’t have anything to do with it but that he was all raised before you gave him to me. I would like to hear Ricky Sr.’s answer to that.”

RICKY STENHOUSE SR. CONTINUED – “Well, we worked hard at it and kept him focused all his life and he has been a good kid and stayed focused on his goal and this is where it has taken him. I think if any kid coming up will just stay focused on what he wants he will get it.”

MIKE KELLEY CONTINUED – WHAT KEPT YOU AT THE TOP OF YOUR GAME GOING FOR EVERYTHING YOU COULD TODAY? “You go through life and you have days that are tough and knock you down and you always hear that story about getting back up. There are four of us sitting at this table that went through 2010 and it was as tough as anything I have ever been through personally. We stuck together as a team then and tore up a lot of stuff and fought through it and fixed race cars and spent a lot of time, me and Ricky, just talking. We made it through that and made it through last season and I knew one race today wasn’t going to stop us. We had to keep our poise and I knew that what we have been though this year, we have given away more races than I think we have won. I will stand up here and say that. I think we have made more mistakes this year and this championship would have been put away long ago had we not made the mistakes. I think today when it happened you saw 18 people buckle down and say, ‘Not again, We are going to fight through this and get this.’ That is what you saw today.”


RICKY STENHOUSE JR. CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET AFTER THE RUN-IN WITH JOEY? “I don’t think I probably thought that we would contend for it but I knew we would try to salvage as many points as we could. To be honest I was thinking top-15 and to try to get back one lap down and it was one thing at a time and we were able to do that. I turned around and looked up and they were having to pit for fuel and we were able to stay out there so I think at the beginning it was just to get as many points as we could and move on and at that point we were going to need something to happen in the next three races to catch him but things worked out and they played out and we drove as hard as we could all day. Like I said, I still think we had a top-five car, even with all the damage and our guys never gave up. I think throughout practice the last two days that we changed just about everything on the race car, probably more than anybody else in the garage. I talked to the guys before the race and they were up to making as many changes as we needed as long as we got the job done. That is what kind of workers we have on our team and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU AS A CAR OWNER? “I am just a guy that follows along behind and tries to clean up a mess if I can. I think Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is going to be as good a race car driver as NASCAR has seen, certainly in the modern era and I am glad he is on my side. He has been worth the effort. It is much easier to slow a driver down and give him caution and make him conservative than it is to speed him up if he doesn’t have the drive. Ricky is driven to a fault. He is as motivated as anybody I have ever worked with.”

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