Stenhouse looks ahead


By now, it’s pretty much old news that reigning Nationwide Series champion and current championship contender in that series, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will be making the move to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing in 2013 to replace the departing Matt Kenseth behind the wheel of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. But with Kenseth’s official announcement of his move to Joe Gibbs Racing last week, the news of Stenhouse’s move to Cup for Roush has sort of returned to the forefront.

On Friday morning, car owner Jack Roush, Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark, Stenhouse, and fellow-Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards stepped into the Chicagoland Speedway media center to discuss Stenhouse’s future behind the wheel of the No. 17 and to announce that Best Buy will be the primary sponsor on the car. Below, is a transcript of the press conference:

STEVE NEWMARK, President, Roush Fenway Racing – “We want to make some announcements about what our lineup will look like in 2013 and there are two primary pieces to that. First, we are pretty excited to announce formally that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be piloting the iconic No. 17 car next year and seeking to continue the championship heritage that Jack has created for that program. I know we had talked previously about Ricky stepping up into Cup but this is the official confirmation that he will in fact be in the 17 car next year. The other piece is, and it is just as important to our organization is that we are thrilled to announce that Best Buy is going to return and serve as the anchor sponsor to the No. 17 car and Ricky Stenhouse next year and will also be the primary sponsor for several races with Carl Edwards on the 99.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., 2013 No. 17 Cup driver, Roush Fenway Racing – “I am honored to be able to step into the 17 ride that has won a championship for Jack and the whole team is a top caliber team. I feel good that they have the confidence in me to be able to come in and run a car like that. I am honored to have that and to have Best Buy come back – I was kind of shocked. To be with a company that I support and that I believe in and use their products and shop in their stores, I think that is really cool to be associated with someone like that. I know that they have had a great season with Matt (Kenseth) and we are looking to continue that next year and run for the Rookie of the Year next year. To be a teammate to Carl and Greg (Biffle) is going to be a lot of fun on the Cup side. I will be leaning on those guys quite a bit to get these cars figured out. We have had success in the Nationwide Series but it will be a tough road ahead. I think we are up for the challenge and looking forward to continuing our growth with Best Buy and our teammates to run up front next year.”

CARL EDWARDS, No. 99 Ford Fusion –  “It is really an honor for me to be sitting here when Jack is announcing that Ricky is going to be driving the 17 car. I think all of you in this room know that Ricky Stenhouse is going to be a force in this sport and I think today is officially the beginning of a new era for our sport to have Ricky in the car. He says he is going to lean on us a little bit. I hope he means figuratively. He is a hard racer and we have had a lot of good races together. It is going to be very exciting to have Ricky in the 17 car.”

JACK ROUSH, co-owner, Roush Fenway Racing – “As far as Ricky is concerned, Ricky is a very lucky young driver because he is able now to step in to a mature team, regardless of how the personnel winds up being distributed next year, he winds up taking one of the three seats at our table which have been very good seats this year based on the work that Robbie Riser has done on the manufacturing side and all the crew chiefs at the race track. Unlike a lot of rookies that have to wait their time to either grow a team that can give them what they need or to find a senior driver that backs away that leaves a spot open, he is very lucky to have that. Roush Fenway and Best Buy and Zest and Fifth Third are very lucky to have Ricky. Ricky, as Carl said, is going to make a statement in this business. He is at the head of his class, this generation of rookies coming through. He has one championship behind him and another one in his clutches and I am very happy and proud of Ricky and what he might do. I couldn’t be happier with the association with Best Buy.”

— Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

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