NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Ford EcoBoost 400
Topics: Ford EcoBoost 400
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
November 17, 2013
KERRY THARP: We have our 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Congratulations, Ricky. If you could, reflect back a little bit on your first year full‑time in the Sprint Cup Series, what it means to win the Rookie of the Year honor.
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: It means a lot, looking at all the other names that have won this award. It definitely wasn't the season that we wanted, but we slowly but surely got a little bit better throughout the season.
I was proud of what we did throughout the season, of getting better, qualifying better, having runs up front, leading laps throughout this year. Thought we had a chance at winning some races there, at least being in contention. I was proud of those moments.
We had a lot of bad moments we want to forget. All in all, it was definitely a huge learning experience. It was about all I thought it was. Coming in, I didn't expect to run top 10 every week. We wanted to definitely have more than we have right now.
All in all, it was a huge learning experience. Thankful we made it through, it's behind us now. We can move on to next year, look on improving every spot at every track that we can in the final points standings.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions.
Q. I asked Danica the same question the other day. During the year, did y'all talk about, joke about, make fun of each other about the Rookie of the Year deal?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: I don't know if it was just that I was going to win it. Heck, for the longest time I think she led it. She jumped out there at Daytona with a top‑10 finish. She was in front of us for a while and had the best finish of us for a long time, too.
It was fun. We joked a little bit about it, but we didn't really focus too much on it. We definitely wanted to focus all our efforts on the racetrack, just try to get the best finish we could every week.
Obviously the points just kind of play theirselves out. We both wanted to just finish as best we could each and every week. Then ultimately in the final points standings of the whole field I was shooting for a top 15, didn't quite get that. But all in all, I think we both had decent years and we both learned a lot.
We both have a lot to work on throughout the off‑season and through next year.
Q. What was your biggest take away from racing?
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: There's a lot. I would say the biggest thing is learning how to drive these cars throughout practice so we can get them exactly where they need to be throughout the race. Trying to get the right feedback so we can make the right adjustments to be better at the end of the races.
We still struggled with that a little bit. But then again, I know that's what we need to work on. We got our qualifying efforts better. We start the race a lot better; we just have to finish it off. Next year that's the biggest thing, just finishing the races kind of where we start them.
KERRY THARP: Ricky, thanks for coming in.
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.: Thank you.
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