Springfield, Ill. (August 17, 2008) – The No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing ARCA team entered Springfield third in points but left a trail of dust behind as they climbed to second. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. grew up racing dirt tracks in a variety of open wheel divisions but for the first time in his young career, he drove a stock car on dirt. In 102 laps, the Olive Branch, Miss.-native drove to a second-place finish showing how fun it is to get dirty.
Coming off a fourth place finish in the USAC Silver Crown car on Saturday, Stenhouse entered Sunday’s race as one of the favorites to win. Stenhouse knew the opportunity was there to gain in the point standings and he didn’t let his team down. He qualified the No. 99 Ford third for the race while ARCA veteran Frank Kimmel put his car on the pole breaking the track record with a fast lap time of 32.878 seconds.
The dust flew and the fans stood on their feet as the field roared across the start finish line for the start of the race. The No. 29 of Ron Cox jumped into the lead and Stenhouse moved into fourth with the words, “tire management”, engraved in his mind. The first of seven cautions flew on lap 24 when the No. 06 hit the wall in turn two and crew chief Jeff Campey called for Stenhouse to come down an awkward pit road for the first and only time of the day. Stenhouse reported that the car was a little on the tight side but overall okay.
The No. 99 team made a track and wedge adjustment and took on fuel but a congested pit area cost Stenhouse a position as he returned to the track in seventh. With the No. 44 at the helm, the field took the green on lap 31 but would quickly see caution two on lap 33. Stenhouse entered the top five under green by lap 39 and only looked out the windshield from that point on.
At the half-way point, Stenhouse was on the bumper of the No. 60 finally passing him on the back stretch for fourth. He continued to hunt the No. 25 of Brian Tyler and closed the gap with each passing lap. On lap 62 the third caution flew and Stenhouse reported that the track was coming apart in turns three and four. An issue that he felt would give him an advantage which would later prove to be the case.
Stenhouse bounced between fourth and fifth for the next 30 laps but on lap 82 moved into third behind Kimmel and Tyler. At this late juncture in the race, many cars were starting to experience tire issues but not Stenhouse who had saved the best for last. Stenhouse drove his heart out in the closing laps but a series of late race cautions hampered the youngster’s efforts.
In a green/white/checkered finish, Stenhouse made a dramatic pass around the No. 25 in turns three and four for second place but could not get to Kimmel before seeing the checkered flag. Ford drivers swept the top-two positions with Kimmel first and Stenhouse second followed by Tyler in third. A solid day for Stenhouse who still has his eye on the big prize of an ARCA RE/MAX Series championship.
“I was just trying to get every spot I could," said Stenhouse while brushing the dust off. "I would have liked to run up there with Frank (Kimmel). We were a little tight in turns one and two all day but pretty good in turns three and four. The track started coming apart in turns three and four which I think helped me get through there a little better. Overall we had a pretty good day.”
“I headed into this race third in the point standings and it ended up being a pretty good point’s day today. I think we moved to second and gained a little on Scott Speed. I’m excited to come back in a couple weeks and improve on our finish position at DuQuoin.”
Stenhouse moved to second in the overall point standings, 10 points ahead of Matt Carter. Speed continues to lead but Stenhouse chipped away at his lead closing the gap to 110 from 145. The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to action on Labor Day at DuQuoin where the No. 99 team will once again try to leave the competition in the dust.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating 13 motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil, Bobby East and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.