NASCAR Sprint Sound & Speed presented by SunTrust
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
January 9, 2010
KERRY THARP: We have our next group. We're all racecar drivers in this group here. Should be interesting here. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ran some races last year for Roush Fenway. He debuted in the NASCAR Nationwide Series here last April right here in Nashville. To his left is David Stremme. David is a veteran of NASCAR, competed last season for Penske Racing. We appreciate David being here with us today. To his far left is Logan Ruffin. Logan was in the USA Pro Cup Series at the end of last year. Look forward to hearing about what your plans are this year. And down on the far left we have James Buescher. James is one of our young drivers in NASCAR, made a couple starts last season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and this year is going to be full-time.
Ricky, tell us a little bit about what your plans are, how you're looking forward to this season?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: We're looking really forward to this season. We've got a full schedule. Last year we only had seven races. It was kind of tough to get in a rhythm.
This year I'm with a new crew chief, new team. Same car, same team owner, same manufacturer. We got Ford. I really think we've got some good equipment to run top 10s. That's what I'm going to focus on, is running top 10s. If you can turn those into top 5s, eventually those top 5s will turn into everything to get a win. That's kind of the goal this year.
KERRY THARP: David Stremme, we appreciate you being here in Nashville with us. Tell us a little bit about right now what you're hoping to accomplish here in 2010.
DAVID STREMME: Well, it's about like some of the other drivers: just looking for a ride, doing stuff. We'll see what happens here real quick. Might be able to announce something, a full-time deal. Until then, I don't really say much because if you're not signing anything, not worth talking about.
Got some cool things working with a guy that's going to be starting up with a full-time deal in '11 in the Nationwide Series with the new car, I think you'll see a lot of new owners coming in.
Just watching what we're going to do. I want to go around with a team that I can have fun with and be competitive. A lot of guys have to do start-and-parks to survive. I'm not in that position where I have to. I want to race. I've always grown up racing. Try to win. That's some of the stuff I look at.
Meanwhile, I come here to Nashville and have a good time.
Q. Logan, I know you live in the Nashville area. What are your plans for 2010 as far as racing?
LOGAN RUFFIN: I have a pretty big 2010 coming, USA Pro Cup, with Turner Motorsports this year. My first full season with them. Hopefully get to learn some stuff from James Buescher, he's my teammate. Running the trucks for Turner Motorsports. Last year didn't get to race a whole lot, didn't have a sponsor. Very excited to be back. Hopefully we'll make a good name for ourselves.
KERRY THARP: James, you're going full-time this year for Phoenix Racing. Up for Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Your thoughts about the season upcoming?
JAMES BUESCHER: Definitely looking forward to it. I guess you could say I had a rough year in the Truck Series last year. Like you said, up for Rookie-of-the-Year, like Ricky is, too. It would be great to get it. I didn't get it last year in the Truck Series. That's going to be one of our main focuses in the Nationwide Series.
It's going to be a great year. I get to run full-time for James Finch and Phoenix Racing in the Nationwide Series as well as running 18 or 19 or so Truck races for Turner Motorsports. I've got a busy schedule, but it's more fun that way.
KERRY THARP: Who has a question for any of these guys?
Q. You're all fairly young, early in your career. Some people might call it the young guns of NASCAR. Each of y'all had a racer that you admired or looked up to? I know Ricky was telling us his dad was a racer. Are there certain racers you looked up to, talk about the experience of racers you admired, pieces of advice?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: Obviously, my dad raced. I grew up racing around the racetrack. I looked up to him when I was younger.
As I went along in my career, got to watching other forms of racing, Tony Stewart was a big influence. I actually got the opportunity to drive for him in 2007. So he was one of my bigger influences.
Q. David, are you talking to people about a full-time deal for this year? Do you think it will be part-time this year, whatever you do?
DAVID STREMME: I've had a lot of interest from different people. Just nothing that's really excited me. It was kind of a strange deal, about two weeks ago. Like I said, until something is formally announced, I don't really talk much about it. This day and age, deals come and go real fast. Like I said, if everything goes through, it will be with a really competitive team. I'll be excited about it. We can move forward.
But right now I think our sport, you see there's a lot of changing, a lot of different things going on. I was stuck into a position where I was in a multi-year agreement with a team, and then they decided they wanted to do something different. So it kind of left me out. I've been looking.
We go out, have fun. In our sport, you look at other sports, we're still able to go and run, whether it's Nationwide, Trucks, or late-model races, we can go mess around, have a lot of fun. I think it's something that really separates us from, say, the other pro sports.
Q. Ricky, I enjoyed the battle between you and Scott Speed in the 2008 ARCA season.
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: A lot of people did (laughter).
Q. What happened in that season-finale race? Have you made up with Scott? Could there be a fierce battle, rivalry for years to come?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: What happened, obviously we got into the back of him there early on in the race. Then he crashed us later on in the race.
But I've talked to him since then. I think things are all right. I kind of forget about it. But, you know, we're not really racing in the same series right now. He's running the Cup Series. So we're in the Nationwide Series. You know, that's not really one of my main focusing right now. Main focus is myself and just, you know, getting my career going, established.
Q. Would you play that on in 2014 when you're in Cup or something like that?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: If that's what everybody wants to happen, we can do that. It doesn't really matter to me (laughter).
Q. James, I recall one race, you and Rick Crawford, what happened in that race in the Truck Series?
JAMES BUESCHER: I think you like controversy (laughter).
Well, I don't know. A lot of people talk about that race at Charlotte. It had been building over some races earlier in the season. I don't know. Coming in as a rookie, you have to earn people's respect. You get to a point where you think you've earned it, and they haven't given it to you yet, you have to go take it. That's kind of what happened there.
Q. Are you and Rick Crawford cool now or not seeing eye-to-eye?
JAMES BUESCHER: Well, we're all right. I mean, it's a little better now that we don't drive for the same team anymore. That kind of helps that we don't have to see eye-to-eye as much.
We're getting along all right.
Q. Logan, how old were you when you first started racing?
LOGAN RUFFIN: I was eight. I've been racing now for quite a while.
Q. How old were you the first time you went over a hundred, that you remember?
LOGAN RUFFIN: That's a good question. Maybe 13, 12 or 13. I think that's right, yeah.
Q. How old are you now?
LOGAN RUFFIN: 15.
Q. Do you have your driver's license yet?
LOGAN RUFFIN: I have my permit.
Q. How tough is it to go the speed limit when you do what you do?
LOGAN RUFFIN: It's very easy when you got mom yelling in your ear (laughter).
Q. What about you, David, first time you broke a hundred?
DAVID STREMME: It was funny because Logan here is 15 now. When I was racing, I started when I was 15, then they made me quit till I got my driver's license. It's amazing how things have changed.
Q. Ricky, growing up with a racing dad, did he put extra emphasis on you to put the pedal to the metal?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: No, sir, not really. Just growing up around it, that's something I've always wanted to do. He let me play other sports. Just, you know, told me to decide which one I wanted to focus on. I picked racing, so...
KERRY THARP: Thank you.
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