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Mar 17, 2014 - 08:28 AM
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2014 Bristol: Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Aric Almirola NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference
Posted by: ASkyler on Mar 17, 2014 - 08:21 AM
2014 Bristol: Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Aric Almirola NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. - No. 17 Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion - "It helps our confidence for sure. It’s been nice working with Mike and the guys again. We’re having a lot of fun. We’re just slowly working and getting better and better. I thought we were a lot better than our finish last week at Las Vegas, except I sped on pit road. So I think we’ve got some good cars and everybody back at the shop is working hard on building those, but for the race we didn’t qualify as good as we wanted. We thought we had a pretty good race car throughout all the practices this weekend. I was looking for the race track to rubber in - right before the rain I thought that run right before the rain we were coming on pretty strong when it was laying some more rubber, but after that rain delay it seemed to get kind of cold and it didn’t seem to be laying as much rubber for us. We were fighting the balance. We were a little bit loose and a little bit tight and could never really zone in on it, but Mike made some good calls. We stayed out there and kept our track position and ended up second, so it was cool to have a 1-2 finish for Roush Fenway this weekend."


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ARIC ALMIROLA - No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion - "It was a good night for us. The first half of the race was just a struggle to get to the front. We had a really good car, but we qualified back in the field so we had to pass a lot of cars. Like Ricky said, before the rain I thought our car was really good. It seemed like a lot of people were struggling for drive-off and my car was really good on drive-off, and when it cooled down it seemed like not as many people were struggling - they could hold on longer in the run. That was kind of our strong suit. It seemed like our car got better and better as the run went on. It’s frustrating because I had one shot to race Carl for the lead and these races are so hard to win, obviously. It was a great day for us and I’m not disappointed at all with third, but when you see it and you can taste it and it’s that close, you wonder what could have gone different. If our car would have taken off a little bit better, things might have gone different, but, all in all, it was a great day. Our pit stops were really good. I’m really proud of everybody on our team. We changed every part and piece on our race car this morning because we weren’t very good in practice, so I’m really proud of Trent Owens and all of our guys. They gave me a really good car."

RICKY STENHOUSE CONTINUED -- HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO RUN THE CORNER LIKE YOU DID TONIGHT? "Our car was definitely, compared to last year, we could not roll the bottom and I thought this year with the work we did in the off-season it seemed like Aric and Carl and my car rolled the bottom a lot better than we were able to last year. We focused on that a lot in practice because if you look back at these races the cars that are up front every race here at Bristol are able to run the bottom when they need to, but I was really happy with being able to run bottom, middle, top. Enter in on the top and turn and drive across the bottom. I was really, really happy with our car and the changes that we’ve made and the progress that we’ve made from last year."

WHAT DID YOU HAVE IN MIND IF YOU COULD HAVE HAD ONE LAST SHOT? "I don’t know. I was thinking I would use the bumper if the opportunity was there. If you get the win, you’re in the Chase and you can let the rest take care of itself later. That’s what I was really thinking if we went back green. I saw Aric was really strong on the restart before and I thought him and I were really pretty good on the bottom and Carl seemed to be a little too loose as soon as we went back green. I would have ran it in there pretty hard. He knows I would have. We’ve had a few races in Nationwide where they came down to the wire like that and we both drive really hard, so I was thinking about doing whatever I could to win."

WAS THE TRACK NOTICEABLY WET WHEN THE CAUTION CAME OUT? "Yeah. As soon as whatever the caution was for came out it didn’t matter. We weren’t gonna get to Carl no matter what, so really it was only gonna help us have the opportunity to get that one more spot. As soon as it came out going in three it started rain

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED - HAS THE START OF THIS SEASON SURPRISED YOU OR DID YOU THINK THIS IS WHERE YOU COULD MAKE SOME INROADS? "No, actually we’ve had a lot of positives. We didn’t run very good at Vegas last week. We struggled really bad there, but at Daytona we had a great car. We went up and led some laps and had a really strong car there, and then had a miscue on pit road where we had to serve a penalty under green and got caught a lap down and then I was racing for the lucky dog and got caught in a wreck. At Phoenix we had a good car and ran in the top 10 all day and then those last couple of restarts we didn’t have very good restarts and I finished 14th or 15th, so we’ve had good cars, we’ve had good runs - last week was an exception - but this is how we expect to run. We thought when we brought Trent over that he would come with some new ideas and our cars, everybody at Roush Fenway has been working really hard and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports has been working really hard together to get our cars better and I feel like we have some really good cars right now. I think it shows. We had four of the top five cars tonight, so everybody has been working really hard and hard work pays off. I know everybody works hard, but we were not very happy with how our season went last year and we’ve made a lot of changes and all of those changes seem to have been positive."

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