Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is ready to repeat as Champion of the NASCAR Nationwide Series
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 NOS Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing, is currently second in the standings six points behind the leader Elliott Sadler. Last season Ricky beat Elliott for the NASCAR Nation Wide Series championship by 45 points. This year it is much closer than last year and baring some catastrophe happening to either of them they will be racing for it right until the end.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was recently asked what it would mean to win the championship again. “I think it would be huge. Last year it was cool getting our first one, and then to be able to back it up, I think that would be a big accomplishment. I think it’s been tough. I feel like we’ve performed better this year than we have last year, but we found ourselves still behind. It would be a huge accomplishment for our team and some good momentum.”
Roush Fenway Racing teams have won the last four of the Nationwide Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. Ricky won the race here in April. Ricky has a great chance to catch Elliott this weekend at Texas. When asked about his chances Ricky said;
“We’re taking our Chicago car that we won with back to Texas. We’re going to take our setup that we won with at Texas earlier in the year on that race car. So we feel like we’ll have a good showing at Texas. Phoenix, we finished third, I think, earlier in the year, and not too far behind Elliott, who won. I think we’ve got some great racetracks for us. The 2 car also has great racetracks for them. But we’re just going to stay focused on what we’re doing and what we’ve done to win and get to this point. With the racetracks we have left, we feel like we’re in a great position right now.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is moving up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year as driver of the No 17 car replacing Matt Kenseth. One would think that since he already won his championship in this series and is moving on there would not be any pressure.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure. There has been all year. I think it doesn’t really come from outside pressure. I put a lot of pressure on myself and on our race team.” Ricky said, “ But I think we made a mistake last week, or two weeks ago at Kansas I made a mistake, but my guys never gave up, they kept working hard, and we came back to win the race. I think if you make a mistake, it had better be early in the race so you can bounce back from it. But there’s definitely a lot of pressure on everybody running for a championship, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s a Nationwide Series championship or your local dirt track series championship. It’s tough to win championships no matter what. So yeah, that pressure is there.”
Regardless of the pressure it is still great to win a championship no matter what series. One would think it gets easier once it has been done but according to Ricky it is not. When asked how this championship would be different he said, “Yeah, I think last year I made fewer mistakes actually. I think this year we’re in more contention to win races, and so I think sometimes I lose track of that we’ve got a championship to win, and I go out to win races. We’ve kind of got to get back to last year where we don’t make any mistakes the last three races. But I don’t think it’s any easier. I think it’s actually a little tougher to get your second one in a row. But I think we’re up for the challenge.”
It looks like Elliott Sadler will be challenged right until the end by Ricky. The next three weeks of NASCAR Nationwide Series races will be something to watch.
If you can’t get to Texas Motor Speedway, the Race will be on ESPN at 7:30 PM ET
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