Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes
Auto Club 400 Advance – Auto Club Speedway
Friday, March 18, 2016
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion, comes into this weekend’s race 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after a tire issue forced him to the garage early last week at Phoenix International Raceway. The 37th-place finish dropped him seven spots in the standings, but he’s optimistic that he and his team will bounce back in Sunday’s Auto Club 400. He spoke with Ford Performance before today’s practice session.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS WEEKEND AFTER WHAT HAPPENED IN PHOENIX? “I feel good. I think we learned a lot from Phoenix on things we can do to make our car better, but not have issues like we did. The things that we take away from last weekend is how can we not blow a right-front tire next time. The good news is we had really good speed. We qualified well and qualified in the top-10, so that’s something you can take away as well. You have to take the positives and the negatives and work it out, and come back to the next short track and be ready for it. But we’re back at a bigger race track, where Atlanta and Vegas were really good to us. I’m hoping for another great effort with our Fastenal team. I feel really strong about the direction we’re headed. Everybody is like, ‘You’re back.’ We still have a long ways to go, but I’m definitely happy about the effort and the direction that we’re going.”
WERE THERE ANY PEP TALKS DURING THE WEEK OR ANYTHING TO ADDRESS TURNING THE PAGE ON LAST WEEK? “You don’t really have to say anything. In this sport every weekend is big. It’s just like every year. Everybody is like, ‘This is a make or break year.’ Well, last year was too. For me, every race is important. Every year is important even if we’re not running well and can’t get the progress or the results that we want over the last couple of years every race was still important. This weekend it would be nice to bounce back with a solid top-10 finish and get back to where we were running before Phoenix. I believe we can do that. I talked to my guys after the race last weekend and just said, ‘Hey, we’ll get ‘em next week.’ That’s what you’ve got to do. It’s no different than a golfer. If you have a bad hole, you’ve got to move on to the next one and that’s what we’re gonna do this weekend.”
FOUR RACES AND FOUR DIFFERENT WINNERS. IS THAT A TESTAMENT TO THIS NEW PACKAGE OR JUST A COINCIDENCE? “I don’t know. The package is tough to drive, but it’s a lot of fun. I think the drives are having some of the most fun out there that we’ve had in a long time. I think the direction that NASCAR was able to go with the package and the low downforce made it fun for us. I think it’s making it interesting, especially late in these races when you can hustle the car a little bit more than you could last year. I think that’s making it very interesting and hopefully there will be another winner and a new first-time winner on Sunday.”
HOW WILL THIS TRACK BE DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER PLACES SO FAR THIS SEASON? “I think it will be kind of like Atlanta because the tires fall off here. There are multiple grooves, which means you can run all over this race track. With this package and this race track, I think it’s gonna be a very, very exciting race and probably one of the better ones we’ve had all the way throughout the race.”