FORD FAST FACTS:
· Ford drivers are leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup (Carl Edwards) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.) point standings this week.
· Ford has three NSCS wins in seven races this season and one more will match the entire total from 2010.
· No current Ford driver has a NSCS win at Talladega Superspeedway.
· Ford has 18 all-time NSCS wins at Talladega, led by Buddy Baker and Davey Allison with three each.
· Baker’s three Talladega Ford wins came consecutively in 1975-76.
· Dale Earnhardt leads all drivers with 10 career NSCS Talladega wins, but did you know the first of those came while driving the Ford of Bud Moore in 1983? Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., driver of the No. 6 Blackwell Angus Beef Ford Mustang, comes into this weekend leading the point standings for the second straight race week. He spoke to the media about what it’s going to take to get through Saturday’s race and still be in first place.
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – No. 6 Blackwell Angus Ford Mustang – WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE LEADING THE POINTS COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND? “It’s cool coming to Talladega and, obviously being the points leader. This is one of the races that we’ve focused on to make sure we finish. We feel like if we can finish, we’ll be in the top 10 and in these races you never know what’s gonna happen, so that’s one of our key things that we’re focusing on. We focused on that at Daytona and Bristol and this is the next one we’re kind of focusing on just to get a finish and be conservative and make sure we come out of here with a clean race car and close to the front. Talladega is fun. I like the two-car draft like we did at Daytona. We had a lot of fun with that for the drivers, and I’m just looking forward to getting out there. Hopefully, we get qualifying in. I’m not sure if we will or not, but, hopefully, we do.”
WHAT IS YOUR POINT OF VIEW ON THE RICKY VS. TREVOR PROMOTION GOING ON? “It’s a lot of fun. Trevor and myself, we compete in everything we do. Everything turns into a competition, so having it on our website is kind of cool for everybody, just to let everybody see we’re competitive, but yet we’re still friends off the race track and like to hang out. Hopefully, I get the win in the end. Obviously, I think the ultimate win is to get the championship, so, hopefully, we’ll be the ones to do that.”
HOW DO YOU PLAN ON FINISHING THIS RACE BECAUSE MUCH OF IT ISN’T IN YOUR CONTROL? “Talking to Carl Edwards, he’s been a lot better here at the speedway races at finishing, and he thinks if you do get shuffled in the back to just kind of ride back there. With the two-car draft, you’re not gonna lose the draft. As long as you have a partner back there with you, you’re not gonna go laps down or anything like that. Obviously, staying up at the very front is a good spot to be, or at the very back. I think once you kind of get eighth on back it gets kind of hairy, so we’ll try to stay at the very front or probably the very back.”
HAS NASHVILLE BEEN A LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP FOR YOU? “It has not been our specialty, for sure. I love Nashville and the city and the fans that come out there, but I haven’t gotten along with the race track too well. We haven’t been there with the Mustang yet, and I feel like I’m a little stronger in the Mustang. I feel like our team has a little better handle on the Mustang, so I’m looking forward to getting there. I think we’ve got a good setup for us with the stuff we’ve been working on. The Roush Fenway guys have been working really hard on it, so I’m actually looking forward to getting back there and kind of redeeming ourselves there.”
RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – DOES THE RELIANCE ON TWO-CAR DRAFTING CHANGE THE LEVEL OF THE ‘WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN HERE’ MENTALITY? “I don’t think so. I think it’s still all up in the air about the same. The way it is now, I feel like the drivers have a little bit more control. You’ve got trust who you’re with, though, and that’s the key. I drafted with Carl and Trevor yesterday and, obviously, I have a lot of confidence in both of those guys. We swapped around a couple of times, but I feel a little bit more in control than just being in one huge pack.”
DO YOU THINK THERE IS MORE OF A CHANCE OF A BREAKTHROUGH FOR A NATIONWIDE FULL-TIME DRIVER TO WIN AT TALLADEGA THAN ANY OTHER TRACK? “Probably so. Over the years it seems the superspeedway races have produced some winners that maybe wouldn’t have a chance to win at other race tracks, but a win here in the Nationwide Series at any track is gonna be good for us. You still have to go out and beat those guys. We want to get a win this year, and we think we can. If we can do it here at Talladega, that’s gonna be fine with us, but we definitely want to do it with the Cup drivers in the field. We’d like to win some stand-alone races, but we definitely want to win a race with all the Cup guys there, too.”