April 26th, 2015
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. might be a two-time Nationwide Series champion, but he’s still just a rookie in the Sprint Cup Series this season. While it hasn’t all been roses for Stenhouse, he sits 21st in points, and is eager to continue learning towards improving his results.
“It’s been up and down (his season). I would say that we’re right at a C, I think. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement. We’ve had some strong runs. We’ve had speed. We’ve made good decisions. We haven’t got everything to fall our way to capitalize on those. In these Sprint Cup races, you have to have everything fall in place and you have to be fast every week to get those good finishes you’re looking for. We definitely got a lot of room for improvement. I knew it was going to be tough coming in. I’m still hoping for that strong finish like we had in our Nationwide Series rookie campaign in 2010 so that we can carry some momentum into next year. Definitely a lot of room for improvement, but we’re working hard at it,” Stenhouse told media members during a conference call Monday afternoon.
While he has yet to crack the top-10, Stenhouse does have two 11th place finishes. The first came at Kansas and the second at Daytona.
“For our team, we’re going to work hard on just making sure that we find that speed, have that communication, that we keep building on what we’ve built so far this year. I think this past weekend at Michigan was a strong start to that. We’re going back to these racetracks for the second time. This weekend at Michigan, we started 22nd and we drove all the way up to 10th under green flag. I felt really good about the weekend, the way it was going. We blew a right front, knocked the right front brake caliper line off of it, didn’t have any brakes on it for a while. We were able to finish on the lead lap 19th. I would say this weekend was a strong start going back to these racetracks for the second time. Just gain some momentum heading into next year, maybe even take some chances on the way we’re calling the races to put ourselves up front and in position to take advantage of good track position and maybe sneak a few top 5s, top 10s out of the end of the season,” Stenhouse explained.
It’s all about getting the additional track time that comes with going to a track for the second time. Stenhouse and his team can continue to build that notebook up on what does work and what doesn’t.
“I thought we would be running in the top 10 a little more consistently by now. I knew the beginning of the year was going to be a struggle. I also wanted to finish this season off running competitively, running faster throughout the races, throughout the weekend, at least give ourselves a shot at running in the top 10 more consistently. I think so far we’ve done that going back to these tracks for the second time. I just want to carry that momentum into next year,” Stenhouse continued.
Stenhouse and his crew go back to the Bristol Motor Speedway for a second time. The first time around he finished 16th in the spring. For his career he scored a sixth and second place finish in 2012 in the Nationwide Series at Bristol.
The action will get underway at 7:30 PM EST when the green flags for the IRWIN Tools Night Race, you can see it on ABC.