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NASCAR Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NASCAR

NASCAR Media Conference

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
July 24, 2012

THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., driver of the No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.  The 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion has three wins and 13 top‑10 finishes this season, sitting third in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings, 19 points behind the leader.  This weekend’s inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will mark Stenhouse’s first race at the historic track.
What would it mean for you to win your first race at Indianapolis?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  I think it would be huge.  I've never made laps around there.  I've been there.  But to see all of the history, and I've lived in Indianapolis in 2007, racing for Tony Stewart, and being able to go to a 500 and a couple brick yards; to be the first winner of any Nationwide race is cool, at any venue, but definitely there at Indianapolis.  It would be really cool.

Q.  After New Hampshire you were ill and we saw you fall down after getting out of the race car and last week, Elliott Sadler was pretty ill.  When you are ill that way, how much tougher is it on you in the race car, and how much tougher does it make your job?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  You know, I didn't really feel it in the race car at New Hampshire; I didn't feel it until I got out.  I think when we get in the race cars, you kind of block everything out that's going on with you and you get in there and drive as hard as you can.
So I don't think it affected our races at New Hampshire.  I think if we would have been, you know, feeling great and good to go, I still think we would have finished where we finished.  You know, I gave it all I had.
So I think it just gets you when you're out of the car.

Q.  Did it surprise how much more wiped out you are after the New Hampshire race?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  Definitely.  Like I said, I didn't feel bad in the race car, so I really wasn't expecting that when I got out of the race car.  So I think that's what caught me off‑guard is I felt fine in the race car and we battled with Austin and Kasey there to stay in the Top‑5 and then got out and then it all hit me at once.

Q.  Just some stuff earlier where Trevor said he is coming back next week to Roush Fenway and going to run the Nationwide car.  Curious to get your comments on having that teammate situation stabilized, and what kinds of preparations will you be going through this year to get you ready to drive the 17 next season?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  Yeah, it will be good for Trevor to get back racing more often.  You know, hopefully we'll be able to be in another Nationwide car and like to run some races next year, as well, so that would be cool.
As far as myself for next year, I think we have got some races lined up that we are going to be running.  I've stayed a couple of weeks now on Sundays hanging out with Jimmy Fennig and the whole 17 guys, just seeing how they operate and how things are going.
I think getting in the car some this year will definitely help that for next year.

Q.  Will that be the 6 car and do you know what dates it will be yet?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  I know we are going to run Dover.  Other than that, we don't have all the other ones lined out yet, but we are close on them, and it will be in the 6 car for the ones that we race this year.

Q.  I just want to ask you, going into Indianapolis this weekend, how much more pressure, if any, is on you when going to an inaugural racetrack or a racetrack for the first time?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  I'm going to treat it like I do every racetrack.  You know, we go in to win every racetrack and any race that we are at.  That's how I'm going to think about it.
When we go into practice on Thursday, they give us a lot of track to really figure out the racetrack and to figure out what we need in our race cars, and just to get comfortable.
So I'm looking forward to that.  That will be a little different.  Sometimes these racetracks that I've been to, they are similar to other racetracks.  Well, Indianapolis has got all its own characteristics, so that will be a little different.  I'm going to talk to Matt and some of our teammates here about things that I need to look for and what I need to work on to be fast there and we'll go at it that way.
But I think we are going to go in, like I said, every week, just as hard as we can and see what comes about.

Q.  Some drivers are going to Penske for the Nationwide Series; can you just talk about what it's like being a young driver going to a big team?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  Yeah, it's tough.  I think I looked at it as, you know, a great opportunity.  You know, you definitely want to get in the best equipment out there, and be with a top organization like I was at Roush Fenway, it was huge for my success.  I wasn't worried if the cars were capable of running up front.  I wasn't worried about things falling off the car.
I was out there to go drive and learn as much as I could, and I knew that stuff was going to be reliable, and I think that was one of the biggest keys to me being able to learn as much as I could.

Q.  I don't believe I've ever seen a practice session, as you just mentioned, as long as the one we are seeing on Thursday for you guys in the afternoon, I believe four and a half hours.  Can you give me your approach to how to best use that amount of time on Thursday for practice?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  Well, we have got some simulation stuff that we have been running on our cars throughout these last couple of weeks, trying to find the best set up that we can get.
You know, with not having a lot of motor in our Nationwide cars, we have got to do whatever we can to I think get the car to go as fast as they can down the straightaway.  Obviously you don't want much drag in the car but you've got to have a balance to get through the corner as far as some downforce and things like that.
So, you know, we have had long practice sessions, like say when we go to a Michigan and it was repaved, we had a long session.  I'm sure we'll have a couple extra sets of tires that we can really get out there and run.
But like I said earlier, it's going to be more of me learning the racetrack, and we'll make a lot of adjustments and a lot of different setup changes that we want to run through that we have kind of already scienced out, and I have an idea of what they are going to do, but I haven't been able to feel them on the racetrack.
We'll use that time to run through a lot of things, and hopefully be fast by the end of the practice.

Q.  Who are you comfortable with going to during that practice and saying‑‑ maybe somebody who has been to Indianapolis Motor Speedway before; do you have anybody that you can go to?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.:  I'll talk to our teammates here at Roush Fenway on the Cup side.  But maybe during practice, you know, I don't know, I haven't really looked at the entry list on who all is going to be racing with us.
I'll look at the entry list and maybe pick one or two guys that's been around there in a Cup car, and who is also running the Nationwide car, because obviously the Nationwide car is going to drive a lot different than the Cup cars do.   It would be nice to find somebody to do that.  There's a lot of great guys that are going be to running, I'm sure, with us, but I haven't looked at the entry list yet.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much for joining us today, Ricky, we wish you all the best this weekend at Indy.

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