Tulsa, Okla. (January 13, 2009) – In just his fifth start at the annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, Roush Fenway Racing’s newest driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., advanced to Saturday night’s A-main and a shot at the championship title. Stenhouse, Jr. competed in Tuesday night’s opening qualifier races against 66 other competitors in the Esslinger-powered RFMS Racing No. 132 Spike.
In front of a packed house, Stenhouse, Jr. won his heat and the fourth qualifier race advancing him into Tuesday’s A-main. From the third starting position Stenhouse, Jr. assumed the lead after a lap three restart and set the pace for the field. With 11 laps to go, Stenhouse, Jr. made contact with a charging Kevin Swindell but was able to continue leading the 24-car field while Swindell was out. Stenhouse, Jr. ran the top side through turns one and two and then rounded turns three and four on the bottom leaving an opening for USAC regular Brad Kuhn to make a move in the final lap. Kuhn set up his pass in turn two and overtook the Olive Branch, Miss.-native for the win in the last two turns. Stenhouse, Jr. took home second advancing him directly into Saturday’s finale.
“The track was pretty racy tonight,” said Stenhouse, Jr. following the race. “You could run the bottom but you had to hit the top perfect every time and that’s what Brad (Kuhn) did on the last lap. We were a little tight all night and by the end of the race had to slow down through the center of the corner to turn and he got me. I put everything out there, just fell a little short. Saturday is what pays the big bucks so we’ll loosen the car up a bit and see what we can do Saturday night.”
When asked if advancing to the A-main was a relief Stenhouse, Jr. commented, “It’s a big relief. Normally I have to find a seat in the bleachers to watch the A-main on Saturday but it’s nice to know that I already have my seat in the No. 132.”
Stenhouse, Jr. returns to Chili Bowl action on Saturday for hot laps in the afternoon followed by Saturday night’s feature event. The 50-lap A-main event begins at 10:00 p.m. CST and will be broadcast tape delay on Speed (check your local listings for times). For more information on the Chili Bowl visit www.chilibowl.com.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR’s largest team operating nine motorsports teams. Five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; three in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Colin Braun; and one in the Camping World Truck Series with Braun.