Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ‘relieved and confident’ about next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opportunity

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November 09, 2019 10:05 PM

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ‘relieved and confident’ about next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series opportunity

NASCAR’s 2013 rookie of the year in the Cup Series moving to JTG Daugherty for 2020

Eric Johnson

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Ricky Stenhouse is in his final month with Roush Fenway Racing.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. says he’s gotten over the shock and anger of losing his ride in the No. 17 Ford Mustang in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for team owner Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing.
For Stenhouse, 32, it has been a seven-year run with just two wins and one Playoff appearance (2017). Next year, it’s on to JTG Daugherty Racing. The announcement that Roush was replacing Stenhouse with Chris Buescher for 2020 was made in late September.
Stenhouse talked about the change ahead of this weekend’s race at Phoenix.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Yeah, yeah, it’s all good. I definitely didn’t see it coming. From all the talks and everything we thought we were going to continue to get some more time to get our cars better. That wasn’t the plan, I guess at least on their side. That obviously threw a wrench in things. For us, it was pretty late in the game. Luckily enough, I’ve had really good people working behind the scenes busting their butts for me in looking for another job, another ride and another opportunity. We landed at JTG Racing.

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At first glance, what do you make of the JTG Daugherty Racing organization?
R.S.: Everything that I’ve dealt with them so far has been a breath of fresh air, that’s for sure. And I feel really good about the people over there and the ownership, the partnerships that they have on the cars. Like I said, they’ve been a breath of fresh air already. I’m looking forward to building on that over the off-season and hitting the ground running in 2020.
How did the JTG deal come together? Did you have that opportunity in your back pocket or did you and your representation guys have to scramble?
R.S.: No, no, we had to scramble! I guess you can say that we weren’t a front runner to get that job just because there had been people who had been talking to them. There were other guys looking for that ride as well. It was just a big scramble on my agents’ parts. The Kevin Harvick management company busted their butts. They worked hard. Kevin helped out. We had a lot of people kind of reach out and help out. It was cool to see all the people who were behind me and ready to see something good.

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The team and its equipment: Do you feel that you’ll be competitive? Can you win races with them in 2020?
RS.: Yeah, you know from the outside looking in, I like the direction JTG Daugherty Racing is going in. They have an alliance with Hendrick for some of their simulation and they get their engines from Hendrick. Chevrolet has a new Camaro body coming out next year that I think that is going to be beneficial to the program. I think my ability and maybe some of the people I can bring over can continue to develop the team and keep going in the direction that they’re going   slowly gotten better and I feel like this year they’ve kind of been taking a lead and developing their own cars. I thought that was pretty impressive. You don’t think about them being a team that is building their own cars and bodies and things like that, but when you do those things your quality control is a lot better than if you’re buying your stuff from somebody else. I feel really good about everything in place.
And change can be good in racing, can’t it?
R.S: Oh yeah. It definitely lights a fire under me. You lose a little bit of that spark when you’ve kind of been stuck in that same rut. You don’t really see a way or a plan to get better. So for me, a change of scenery and a change of people and just whole thing, I think it’s going to be a great fit.
The exit from Roush Fenway Racing came rather abruptly. Have you spoken with Jack at all recently?
R.S.: Yeah, I’ve talked to Jack. Definitely not as much as I used to, but I tell people that the weekend that it happened, I kind of went through a lot of emotions. I was pissed off, mad, shocked, and sad. It wasn’t for a few weeks until I can say that I was kind of relieved. Now I’m relieved and confident and looking forward to the future.
Editor’s note: Contributor Eric Johnson is the communications director at Monster Energy.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/monster-energy-nascar-cup/ricky-stenhouse-jr-relieved-and-confident-about-next-monster

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