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DATE News (chronologically)
06/29/12
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Stenhouse talks about going Sprint Cup Racing


Ricky Stenhouse happy to drive full-time in Cup
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. met with media members Thursday afternoon to talk about his crazy week, finding out he would be elevated to a full time Cup ride in 2013. A partial transcript of his media availability, including responses to questions pertaining to his move to Cup racing in 2013 follows:

TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PLANS WITH ROUSH FENWAY AND COMING HERE TO KENTUCKY TO RACE THIS NATIONWIDE RACE AS WELL. “It was a big week for us. I got the call last week about it and I guess I didn’t really realize it was going to be that big when they announced it. I thought that was pretty cool seeing everything on Twitter and everybody texting me. It was like I won a race again with people texting me and things like that. It is a great opportunity. I was kind of shocked when I heard the news.

I thought for sure that we would be a fourth car and definitely didn’t see Matt (Kenseth) going anywhere but you have to take advantage of each situation that you are in and we have to go into next year ready to go and learn as much as we can and try to finish this year off on a strong note. We came in here this year wanting to win the 2012 Nationwide Championship and we want to stay focused on that. This week will be the toughest week getting all the questions about next week to stay focused on the race. Coming into Kentucky we have run very strong here. I won my first stock car race here in ARCA in 2008 and have had a strong run every since in the Nationwide car. Last year we were running third and had to pit for fuel late in the race and came home eighth. It is a race track that I think we can get the ball back rolling. We were off a couple weeks in a row and I think this is the place to turn it around and get it back going again.”

HAS IT SUNK IN YET? HOW ARE YOU FEELING NOW?“It feels great. I rode up here with Mom and Dad in the motor home and Dad asked me, ‘What do you think?’ I try not to let it get too big right now. I want to stay focused and have to stay humbled and keep going. You can’t look to far ahead but I feel great about the opportunity.”

CAN YOU GO THROUGH THE TIMELINE OF HOW YOU FOUND OUT ABOUT THIS AND IF YOU GET TO PICK THE CAR NUMBER AND IF YOU PLAN TO RUN MORE CUP RACES THIS YEAR TO PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR? “We’ve been talking about running Cup for a long time now. I think it started back in the offseason and Jack kind of wanted to run this year but I think the way sponsorship fell and things like that and me wanting to run another year in Nationwide got us that opportunity to run another year in Nationwide. Early in the year we were talking about running some Cup races toward the end of the year to get ready for next year. I think Jack had the mindset that we would do that no matter what. I am not sure what all happened. I just got the call Thursday that said we were going to run and Matt was not coming back. I have no idea how it went down. I just got a phone call and never would have expected that. As of right now, I don’t have a say in the car number. I am just excited to race. We have been the 6 for a long time with Jack, I say long time but a couple years, but I think that depends on sponsorships and things like that. I will let them figure that out.”

ELLIOTT SADLER SAID HE FEELS YOUR TEAM COULD GO TO CUP AND BE A CHASE CONTENDER NOW. IS THAT YOUR LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE NOW AND WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR YOUR TEAM AND MOVING EVERYONE TO CUP? “I feel like we’ve got a great race team right now. We have some new guys this year but Mike Kelly assembled guys in the offseason and we haven’t missed a beat since last year. I think they are one of the best teams in the business and I believe in each and every one of them. That being said, I have no idea what is going to happen next year. I have no idea if Mike will be the crew chief and if my guys are coming up. I know that was the talk if we were going to run a fourth team, that they were going to come with me, but now that we are going to be the third team I am not sure how all that plays out. We have people in position to make those decisions like Robbie Reiser who is a veteran of this and Jack and everybody. I am going to leave it up to them. I can give my input but I think they probably have an idea of what they want to do. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk with anybody yet. I think we will do that next week. I got the call Thursday, raced on Saturday and then have been in Mississippi this week. Hopefully we can get things more ironed out as the year goes on.”

DO YOU THINK WITH THE TIMING, JACK WANTED TO GET IT DONE TO REMOVE DISTRACTION AND LET YOU KNOW WHERE YOU WOULD BE FOR NEXT YEAR? “I am not real sure. I have no idea about the things that happened with Matt and Roush Fenway. That was none of my doing and I was not in those. I felt pretty confident about running full time next year, obviously in the fourth car. I don’t think that was really going to be much of a distraction the way Jack and I have talked over the last couple of months or so. I felt pretty strong about going full time Cup next year anyway.”

DO YOU FEEL THERE WOULD BE MORE PRESSURE TAKING OVER MATT’S SEAT AS OPPOSED TO BEING A FOURTH CAR IN THE NO. 6?“I think the expectations are high anyway. Being with an organization like Roush Fenway Racing who have been winning for 25 years I don’t think a number really decides how much pressure there is. I put a lot of pressure on myself each week and being in equipment that can win and run up front there is going to be a lot of pressure. I think I am going to put a lot of pressure on myself more than anybody.”

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE REST OF THE NATIONWIDE SEASON KNOWING YOU ARE GOING TO CUP NEXT YEAR? “I think I can go into it with more confidence and more pep in our step. I think the team is pumped about it and excited for me. I am excited about it. It puts a lot of confidence in me that Jack Roush and everyone at Roush Fenway believes in me to go up there and run that Cup car next year. I think it gives us a little bit extra edge going into the rest of the season and to finish it off on a strong note. I think that is the only way we need to go out, with a championship. We are going to work really, really hard for it.”

DID YOU HAVE OTHER TEAMS LOOKING FOR YOUR SERVICES FOR NEXT YEAR AND NOW THAT YOUR DEAL IS DONE, WHAT IS YOUR PLAN AT THIS POINT, WHERE WILL YOUR NEXT CUP RACE BE? “I have no idea when the next one will be. We have talked about maybe running Dover that was kind of already on the schedule based on sponsorship. I think we are going to sit down this week and look at the rest of the schedule. I think it would be important to run a place like Martinsville because I have never been there before. We will have to take a look at the race tracks coming up and the ones I could learn more on and get a few more laps on and maybe some I am comfortable with that won’t interfere with our Nationwide cars. As far as other teams, I heard of a bunch of teams that might be a possibility but I never really entertained any offer or anybody coming up to me. Jack Roush has been a great supporter and for somebody to take me out of the car and put me back in and really believe in me, I felt like I owed it to them to stay here and I feel at home here. Tony (Stewart) and I always mess around because I drove for him in the past and we really understand each other and get along but I felt pretty confident we were going to be at Roush.”

I UNDERSTAND YOU WERE BACK HOME AT THE RACE SHOP WITH YOUR DAD WHEN YOU GOT THE CALL. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE AND WHAT WAS HIS REACTION? “I got the call actually before Road America but they wouldn’t let me tell anybody. I kind of mentioned it the night before it came out to Mom and Dad but I don’t think they really understood what I was trying to tell them because the next day when they finally announced it they were very excited. It was cool to see the reaction on Dad’s face when I got to the engine shop. It was cool to spend time at home. I got to play some softball games and hang with my buddies and have some fun and now we are glad we are back at the race track.”

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