Ford Performance NASCAR: Stenhouse Looking To Continue Upward Climb

Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Sylvania 300 Advance – New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 17 EcoBoost Ford Fusion, will start 14th in tomorrow’s Sylvania 300 and is coming off consecutive Top-20 finishes at Richmond (16th) and Chicagoland (18th). He spoke about his team’s improved performance and goals for the final nine races of the season between practice sessions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 EcoBoost Ford Fusion – IT SEEMS EVERYONE HAS TALKED ABOUT HOW THE INTENSITY HAS GONE UP IN JUST ONE CHASE RACE. HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH THAT DYNAMIC OF COMPETING, BUT BEING RESPECTFUL OF THOSE GUYS IN THE TITLE CHASE? “I feel the same intensity, but you want to be aware of what everybody has going on around you because you don’t want to do anything to cost somebody a chance at a championship. You just go out there and let the race play out. We found ourselves right in the middle of all of them last week and we raced hard, gave them room, and ended up beating a few of them. All in all, we’re in a good starting spot for tomorrow. I felt good in first practice about our car. Hopefully, we’ll dial her in here with the sun out because this will be a little bit more like tomorrow than that first practice, but the intensity is definitely high and we just want to be aware of what everybody else is doing around us and what they’re racing for.”

American Muscle

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR TEAM IS MAKING PROGRESS AS THE SEASON WEARS ON? “Yeah, we’re finally just being more consistent and getting the finishes that we can out of our race cars and trying to do everything right. The guys at Roush Fenway are making a ton of changes and have been all year, and finally we feel like our cars are getting a little bit better as we go. I’m definitely proud of everybody working so hard and hopefully we can continue to have a really good rest of the year and take it into the off-season.”

WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE OVER THESE FINAL NINE RACES? “Winning is always the goal and if you can put yourself in the right position you would definitely go for it, but we want to have our best nine races in a row this year. At Richmond we had a decent race and in Chicago we had a really good car and just got trapped a lap down, but we want to have our best nine-race stretch and carry that on into the off-season and hopefully we can learn from it and carry some momentum into next year. When you look at somebody like Paul Menard, he made the Chase with four Top-10s, so anything is possible next year and we just want to make sure that we’re ready to capitalize on it when we do have really good race cars.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF THIS YEAR? “It’s been tough. You wanted to give up there for a while, but then as you keep going and keep working you don’t see the guys giving up and you’ve got to remind yourself that it’s a tough business. You look around at your teammates and they’re struggling as well. It’s not just the 17 team that was struggling, it was all of us. We’re still struggling and still not where we want to be, but I’m still seeing everybody continue to work hard, myself included. I’ve done a lot more in-depth looking at notes and setups and things like that to help Nick and the guys, so we can get our best setup under the race car. I’m just looking at a lot more notes and getting more involved. There for a while on the XFINITY side when I was running and winning championships I wasn’t really as involved. I just showed up and drove. Mike (Kelley) and the guys took care of the cars, but they were already fast and we weren’t trying to make ground up. Making ground up is a lot different than being fast already, so it takes a lot more work out everybody, myself included.”

YOUR TEAM, OLE MISS, IS OFF TO A GREAT START IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BEING ABLE TO WATCH THEM EVERY WEEKEND? “I love towards the end of the year on Saturdays when you get to sit around and watch college football all day and all night. My Rebels play at 8 o’clock Eastern tonight, but they’re having a good season. They had a really good game last weekend by beating Alabama, but we beat Alabama last year and things didn’t quite work out as much as we wanted, so hopefully coach has them tuned up and ready for the game today and for the rest of the year.”

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