Stenhouse Jr. Gives Ford First NASCAR Nationwide Series Win of 2012
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his third career NASCAR Nationwide Series race and became the fourth different Roush Fenway driver to win a series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, joining Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle.
· The win was the 13th at LVMS for Roush Fenway and Ford in 30 combined NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at the facility.
· Ford has now won a NASCAR Sprint Cup or Nationwide race 11 out of 16 years at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang – WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE:
“It was really cool. Looking at all the fans in the stands that came out was pretty cool before the race and to win here was fun. I got here Sunday, so I’ve been here a while and it paid off. Our Ford EcoBoost Mustang was not as good as we wanted at the start of the race. If you would have listened to our radio, I’m sure Mike over here was tired of listening to me, but he kept taking notes of what I was saying and made it better. It was weird. The track went loose for a while and the last couple runs it started tightening back up and Mike made a good pit call there at the end and got us freed up. The guys on pit road did an awesome job to get us out first and that really helped to win us that race.”
MIKE KELLEY, Crew Chief – No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang – “This race today was a lot about what we knew about notes about these cars and these tracks, and not coming here on Thursday and Friday and making a lot of changes to our car based on what we saw when we got on the track. We just kept the course of what the whole plan was for the day. Ricky is really good about giving feedback. He talks and explains to us everything the car is doing, what the track is going through, what temperature is doing to the track, and we’re scanning other drivers and we kind of knew where we started that if the track did what we thought it would towards the middle of the race, our car would start to find its way to the front and it did. A few more changes later it showed some speed and the guys did a great job on pit road and got him out front when we needed to, and, from that point on, it was Ricky setting sail. The car was fast. Doug and those guys gave us a really good motor and Jack and Ford allow us to build great race cars and I can’t say enough about my team. They’ve been working a lot of hours here and it’s really hard at the shop. We’ve downsized some and running less teams and we’re trying to build cars for us and Trevor and bringing really good pieces to the track. I felt like we had a shot at winning Daytona coming off turn four and I felt like we had a really good car at Phoenix and just missed on getting him out front when we needed to, but I’m just so proud of my guys and proud of Ricky for coming out of the box strong. We didn’t get the finish we wanted at Daytona, but, obviously we showed today that we’re here to win.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. CONTINUED – DID YOUR CAR LIKE CLEAN AIR THAT MUCH WHEN YOU GOT OUT FRONT AND IS THIS INTERMEDIATE TRACK WIN A BENCHMARK WIN FOR YOUR CAREER? “It definitely was good out front. I think that’s gonna be the case at a short track or anywhere. We stretched the lead out there to four or five seconds and then I just kind of rode around and saved the tires in case we had a late restart. To win on a mile-and-a-half is big for me. I feel like our cars are better than I am at some mile-and-a-halves, and I feel like I drive really hard at the short tracks. I think we’ve got a really good package going right now and to get that win on a mile-and-a-half feels good.”
WOULD YOU HAVE WON IF YOU CAME OUT OF THE PITS SECOND OR THIRD? “I definitely think we had the car to beat. I feel like we could have started sixth and still won that race at the end. I found a line that I liked to run and the car was coming around to it. Mike Kelley made some awesome pit calls there and I think we just had the car to beat. We were running Mark down the run before. We were catching Brad and he had his troubles, so I feel like we could have won if we started second or third row, but it was definitely a lot easier starting on the front.”
WAS THERE ANY CALL DURING THE RACE THAT HELPED GET YOU TO THE FRONT? “We were at the front all day. I don’t think we really ran out of the top five at all and the guys getting me off pit road first, we came in second and got off first, so that was huge. That meant I could start the race where I wanted to on the outside, where I had been running, so that was nice. We tightened the car up when we needed to tighten it up and we freed it up when we needed to be a little bit looser, and Mike did the adjustments on how far to go and I think we all worked as a team this weekend and worked really hard.”
TREVOR BAYNE – No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang (Finished 4th) – “It’s good when you can say a top five is disappointing. We want to be in Victory Lane every week and there for a while I thought we had a shot at it. We just got too tight at the end when the sun went down, so it’s a decent run. I’m proud of the team for having two cars in the top five with very limited guys and budget and everything else, so they’re doing a great job this year. I just hope we can keep it going. I really want to contend for this championship this season. We’ve got an 11th and a seventh and a fourth, so we’re getting better every week and that’s all you can hope for. We’ll see what happens here in the future.” WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FINAL RESTART WHEN YOU FELL BACK? “I got trapped in the middle. I was pushing Mark Martin and thought he was going to get the lead and I just got trapped right there in the center of them and when you get in the middle you just drop back. I was doing all I could do, but it just took us too long to get back by everybody.”
MICHAEL ANNETT – No. 43 Pilot/Flying J Ford Mustang (Finished 13th) – “It was just a long day. Obviously, we had a bunch of pit stops to try and make it better, but we struggled for speed all weekend. Our trouble spot through practice was turns one and two, and then in the race it was three and four so it kind of flip-flopped on us. We definitely got a lot of notes. We found some things that helped us and definitely didn’t, so we’ll put that in our notebook and try to make ourselves better for California.”