Tulsa, Okla. (January 17, 2009) – In just his fifth start at the annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, Roush Fenway Racing’s rising star Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., advanced directly to Saturday night’s A-main for the first time in his career. Stenhouse, Jr. competed in Saturday night’s finale in the Esslinger-powered RFMS Racing No. 132 Spike but it would turn out to be a long 50 laps for the 21-year old.
“I felt pretty good going into Saturday’s A-main,” said Stenhouse. “We had a good car on Tuesday and won the heat, the qualifier and fell just shy of winning the main. The car was tight on Tuesday but we figured out that we had a few issues so we got those fixed for Saturday.”
Stenhouse, Jr. maintained his eighth-place position for the first half of the race while veteran driver and four-time Chili Bowl champ, Sammy Swindell drove away from the 25-car field. In an effort to advance his position, Stenhouse, Jr. moved to the top of the track but to no avail, he fell steadily from eighth to 14th. The coveted Golden Driller trophy eluded the Olive Branch, Miss.-native when an ill-handling car ultimately saw him finish 14th. A disappointing day for the open-wheel stand out.
“I don’t know the car just didn’t handle that great.” Stenhouse, Jr. continued, “I ran the bottom for a long time then got bored so I went up top to see if I could make something work and all I did was fall backwards. At that point, you either win or you don’t. I was definitely disappointed but we’ll give it a try again next year.”
Swindell went on to capture his fifth Chili Bowl title followed by Tracy Hines and Brad Kuhn in second and third. Stenhouse, Jr. will assume driving duties for Roush Fenway Racing on April 11 when the Nationwide Series visits Nashville. Stenhouse, Jr. will pilot the No. 16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion for six races and the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion for one race in 2009. Stenhouse, Jr. will share seat time with veterans Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Colin Braun.
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.