Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has chance to tie an Earnhardt record at Talladega

Success on superspeedways wasn’t necessarily what Ricky Stenhouse Jr. envisioned when he began his NASCAR career.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has chance to tie an Earnhardt record at Talladega
Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford

But entering Sunday’s Alabama 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Stenhouse has a chance match a NASCAR record set by an Earnhardt family member, which is no easy task when talking about restrictor-plate racing.

A victory in Sunday’s race would give Stenhouse three consecutive wins in restrictor-plate races – something that hasn’t been accomplished since Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1990.

Kurt Busch (Daytona 500) and Stenhouse have combined to win all three restrictor-plate races in 2017. A victory on Sunday would also mark the first time in NASCAR history that Ford has won all four events in the same season.

“Throughout my whole Xfinity career I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know about the superspeedways.’ They weren’t my favorite,” Stenhouse said Friday at Talladega. “We ran good, but I never really felt like I knew how to put myself in position for our team to win, so the mile-and-a-half and short tracks I always felt like were our two good tracks.

“On the Cup side, especially here at Talladega, it’s always been a track where we’ve been pretty consistent and, like I said, missing wrecks and getting good finishes, but I guess I didn’t see my first win coming at a (super)speedway.”

Stenhouse, who is ranked last among the 12 drivers remaining in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, needs a win, or at least a good finish Sunday, to remain in championship contention.

The four playoffs drivers lowest in points without a win will be eliminated from title contention following next weekend’s race at Kansas.

“Maybe tying Earnhardt is really cool, even just to have the opportunity. I didn’t know that stat. I try not to look at things too much and really focus on each week that’s coming up,” he said. “It would be awesome to get a third win this season and three in a row on superspeedways.

“I’m enjoying them more now than I used to. I used to not really enjoy them because I felt like your outcome could be in a lot of other people’s hands.”

Having fast cars capable of winning has increased Stenhouse’s confidence each time he returns to a superspeedway.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I’m able to do more with our car than I maybe wasn’t able to do early in my career,” he said. “When we won here the last time I was like, ‘OK, my spotter and I worked really well together and we know what it takes to win.’

“When we had the red flag at Daytona late in the race (in July), we felt confident of what we needed to do to win that race.”

Watch this interview with Stenhouse Jr.:

 

shares
comments
Kahne and Earnhardt lead final practice at Talladega

Previous article

Kahne and Earnhardt lead final practice at Talladega

Next article

Dale Jr. drives his father's old car around Talladega Superspeedway

Dale Jr. drives his father's old car around Talladega Superspeedway
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021