Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Makes Dramatic Last-Lap Pass To Win NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his fourth NASCAR Nationwide race of the season and first at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
· The win was Ford’s fifth NNS win of 2012.
· Stenhouse Jr. now has six career NNS victories and all have come in Mustang (3 at Iowa and 1 each at Las Vegas, Texas and Atlanta).
· Mustang has now won 18 all-time NNS wins since joining NASCAR full-time at the start of 2011.
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW:
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford Mustang:
TALK ABOUT THE FINAL RESTART. “The 22 is gonna be a great Ford teammate next year. He pushed us down that front straightaway. He had the new tires on and definitely helped us get to the win. These guys did an awesome job on pit road all weekend long. We had a great Cargill Beef Mustang and the engine was strong under the hood. Doug Yates has been working really hard on that. I just had to get down on him as tight as I could. I’m glad we could make the end of the race interesting because he killed us for the first 194 laps. He killed us, but it was cool to get him on that restart. Kevin is a great driver and it was fun to go up against him.”
WHAT MADE YOU THINK YOU COULD GET THE 33? “There for a second I was really just counting on trying to get to second and staying there, but we got a good restart and hung out on the outside of him and I was able to slow him up a little bit. On the white flag lap I think he got loose coming off of two and we really got a huge run and he gave me the top going into turn three and we were able to make it work.”
HOW DOES THIS SET YOU UP FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE? “It’s not gonna be easy. That 2 car is obviously strong and runs up front with us every week. It’s gonna be a good battle. It was good to get this win.”
WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford Mustang – “It started with making good adjustments. We were a little off there to run with the 33 and Mike kept tightening it up and tightening it up and ended up getting to where we were closer to the 33. We still probably weren’t exactly where we needed to be, but we were close enough to go get him on that restart. I got a great restart and the Roush Yates engine ran hard all night. We got a push from the 22 that definitely helped a lot, but just a great effort by the Cargill Beef team. They worked really hard all weekend and prepared really hard for this race in the shop. The body guys and everybody has done a great job with it and it was a great team effort tonight.”
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD ANYTHING FOR THE 33? WERE YOU SAVING ANYTHING? “I don’t think you could save anything to surprise them. They were fast, but I knew if I got a good restart that I could hang on his outside and slow him up enough to give ourselves a shot at it. It was probably our best restart all night and just nailed it. I was able to hang on the outside of him, slowed him down, and he gave us the top. He wanted the bottom and the 22 gave us a good push down the front straightaway and Kevin gave us the top again and didn’t slow our momentum up and that definitely paid off for us. I really thought we were gonna run that restart and I was gonna try to get to second and hang on, but when we got the good restart I went for it.”
MIKE KELLEY, Crew Chief – No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford Mustang – DID YOU HAVE ANY TIRE WEAR CONCERNS AT THE END? “All night long the tire wear was going away, but we never had an issue. We didn’t have a blister. We didn’t have a mark and that made me feel a little better about it. He was smart during the runs where Kevin had such a huge lead. Ricky would come on the radio and tell us that he knew he couldn’t run Kevin down, so he would try to save his tires just to hold off the guys in the back. I knew we didn’t put tires on until there was 20 or something to go and the short run there at the end, I knew tires wouldn’t be an issue. It was just really nice to be able to rely on your driver. We didn’t have the best car. I’m not gonna sit up here and tell you we did. I think we made gains on our car during the night, but when it came down to the end that was Ricky Stenhouse willing himself to a win and he carried our team to Victory Lane tonight.”
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner – No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford Mustang – “I’d like to follow on that. I’ve been doing this for 25 years here and many times at the end of the race you’re frustrated, the driver is frustrated, the team is frustrated because you just don’t get the best adjustment. And all night tonight for the three stops that we had, Mike Kelley dictated great changes, as good a changes I’ve seen in 25 years.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. CONTINUED – DO YOU FEEL YOU STOLE ONE TONIGHT? AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET THE WIN AND BONUS POINTS TOWARD THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “Heck yeah, we stole it. We’ve had a few stolen from us, so you go out and get as many as you can, any way that you can. It was good, hard, clean racing and I’m glad that we could put on a show for the fans because it really wasn’t a show up until that point. It was a great night and fun racing with Kevin there. Getting those bonus points is always nice. I think we got all but one – leading the most laps – so we came in here to get the most points that we could. We were shooting for 48, but I think we’ll settle for 47.”
DO YOU THROW WATER BOTTLES OUT OF YOUR CAR DURING THE RACE? “I do not because the team pays for our water bottles, so I don’t want to throw them out and waste them, so I keep them and give them to my guys on a pit stop. But I’ve run over water bottles before and it’s just part of it. I think plenty of people throw them out. It worked out for us tonight. I was pretty frustrated when the caution came out because looking behind us we had a good lead on the guys that we were racing for in points and I knew it was gonna shake things up when we had a late-race restart like that, but it paid off for us.”
YOUR FINAL WIN OF THE YEAR CAME AT IOWA LAST YEAR. WHAT KIND OF MOMENTUM DOES THIS GIVE YOU GOING INTO THE FINAL STRETCH? “I think we’ve got good momentum. I think all of the race tracks that we have left are ones that we run really strong on, but the problem is the 2 runs really strong on them as well, so I don’t think either one of us really has an advantage as far as the race track s go. They’ve got great equipment. We’ve got great equipment and it’s just gonna be who doesn’t make as many mistakes. We’ve got to make sure we do our job on pit road. I’ve got to do my job on the track and we just have to keep everything together and double-check everything that we do because it’s gonna be a tough battle.”