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Stenhouse Jr. to Cup with Best Buy in 2013

Basketball’s “Dream Team” first hit the scene with the United States’ participation in the 1992 Summer Olympics.  Roush Fenway Racing was just five years old at the time but a generation later, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush has what he feels to be an exceptional “starting five.”
 
Roush characterized the drivers who’ll steer him into the 2013 season as stock car racing’s “Dream Team” during last month’s pre-season media tour and who can argue?
 
Reigning two-time Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is stepping into the No. 17 Best Buy Ford as the replacement for Matt Kenseth, who’s moved over to Joe Gibbs Racing.  There’s stability with the No. 99 Fastenal team, where Carl Edwards is returning for his 10th season.  And Greg Biffle is back after finishing the 2012 campaign as the highest-placed Ford driver in the championship standings, in fifth place.
 
The organization’s Nationwide Series program is in good hands with 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and action sports icon Travis Pastrana behind the wheel … leaving a big smile on Roush’s face as he heads into Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona.
 
“I’m as enthusiastic and as driven as I’ve ever been to take our absolute best effort to the racetrack every week,” said Roush, embarking on his 26th season in the sport.
 
Kenseth won a championship and 24 races while driving the No. 17 Ford, so Stenhouse goes into the 2013 season knowing he has big shoes to fill and plans to leave a big footprint in his rookie Cup season.
 
“We have to go out and try to win every week,” Stenhouse said.  “That’s how you achieve your best results.  We have to be consistent. That’s what I learned over the past three years racing in the Nationwide Series.”
 
Consistency, indeed.  In his 67 starts over the past two seasons, Stenhouse totaled 52 top-10 finishes with only three DNFs.  That includes eight wins.  In preparation for his advance to the Sprint Cup Series, Stenhouse made four Cup starts in 2012 with a best finish of 12th in the fall race at Dover.
 
“You can’t make big mistakes,” said Stenhouse, who’ll be teamed with crew chief Scott Graves.  “You have to take what the car and track will give you and go on.  Looking back over the last couple years, we really put ourselves in a hole when we tried to get too much.  Stick to the plan, and be smooth and consistent.”