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Jun 13, 2014 - 01:32 PM
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2014 Michigan Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Jack Roush
Posted by: ASkyler on Jun 13, 2014 - 01:28 PM
2014 Michigan Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Jack Roush

Ricky Stenhouse, driver of the No. 17 EcoPower Ford Fusion, and car owner Jack Roush participated in a press conference this morning announcing their involvement with EcoPower re-refined motor oil, produced by Safety-Kleen. In addition, they answered questions regarding the 2014 season to date. Below is a transcript of that Q&A session:

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. - No. 17 EcoPower Ford Fusion - HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR SEASON TO DATE AND ARE YOU HAPPY OR UNHAPPY? "We’re always expected to do well. Jack is always expecting us to do well and we expect ourselves to do well. This season we’ve had some high points and we’ve definitely had some low points. Last weekend, we got a decent finish at Pocono. I haven’t had a lot of experience, so that was a good run into Michigan for us. The last two races at Michigan in the Cup car last year we had top 10s going and we blew a right-front tire in the first race, and got caught on pit road when the caution came out in the second races, so I feel at Michigan we’ve got some speed and Jack is the winningest car owner here, so that gets us motivated even more to make sure we come up here and put our best effort into it and really try to get to victory lane for Jack and EcoPower and all of our other partners. We’re definitely not satisfied with how this season has gone and we’re definitely working really hard to make sure we get consistently into the top 10 each and every week and Jack’s putting a lot of effort into it, along with myself and our whole team, so we’re gonna continue to work on it and build some more confidence and better results as we go."


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HAS THE INCREASED SPEED HERE PUT MORE STRAIN ON COMPONENTS AND PARTS? "It definitely does. Anytime you increase the speeds at the race track you’ve got suspension parts that are getting more load put through them. Goodyear has to re-invent a tire that can keep up with the race track and the speeds. There’s just a lot more load on everything. Doug Yates does a million tests on engine parts and putting them through all kind of tests to make sure that it will live up to the horsepower that he puts out with our engines and the speeds that we produce at Michigan, so I’m confident with the equipment that we have. Jack puts really good equipment underneath us, so there is a lot more load and a lot more pressure on that stuff, but I’m confident with what we’ve got."

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner - No. 17 EcoPower Ford Fusion - "With today’s electronically-controlled dynamometers you’ve got the opportunity, if you’ve got the data for it, to replicate the duty cycle for an engine on the race track. With Doug’s most arduous and toughest duty cycles is the Michigan cycle. When I was building the engines in Michigan by myself, that was the cycle I used as well, so if you’ve got a weakness in your engine, you’ll find it at MIS. Either the valvetrain or the bottom end, either one, it’s pretty tough."

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. CONTINUED - WHERE DO YOU FEEL THE STRENGTH OF YOUR TEAM IS NOW AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE? "I think the strength of our team and our organization at Roush Fenway is everyone’s got their head down and working together. I think that’s what I see that’s really good right now is nobody is giving up just because we haven’t had the results that we wanted. I think everybody is working really, really hard. There are a lot of little things. I don’t think it’s just one part that’s gonna fix us to run consistently like we want, but there are just a lot of little things. Jack is sending us testing. We’re doing a lot of R&D. We’re really putting a lot of effort into making our cars better, which we do each and every week, but it’s always tough to see those results happen really fast. This a tough sport. The best of the best are out here and we think we’re the best of the best and we’ve just got to get there. We’re working hard at it. The race tracks, I think I had my best run at Bristol, so we’re looking forward to getting back to Bristol. Carl won and we ran second there and had a lot of success and really thought we’d be able to just keep that going, but I think for us we just need a little bit of turn in our front-end package, but we’ve made some strides and we’re seeing the gains already and we’ll continue to work on that."

JACK ROUSH CONTINUED - WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOUR PROGRAM IS AT THIS POINT AND DO YOU HAVE ANY UPDATE ON YOUR DRIVER LINEUP FOR NEXT YEAR? "In due time we’ll have announcements for 2015. We’ve got a lot of 2014 in front of us and we’re obviously focused on that. If you looked at our year we’ve been probably challenged more than some of the teams have with the difference in the ride height. I know that’s changed the dynamic of the underbody of the car and it’s been a revelation. How low is low enough and how low is too low. Too low is higher than we thought it might have been a month ago and we’re sorting that out. We’re committing to test as much as we can. We’ve got a test going somewhere virtually every week, either a tire test at a NASCAR race track - a sanctioned test - or a bootlegged race track test that’s not on the NASCAR circuit, so we’re testing. We’re running our eight-post machine in the lab real hard and we’re taking very careful note of the ride height changes on the race track and where we seem to have our challenge and our best result returned. I think that most of the answer for the things that we need are in our box of parts - it’s the bump stops, it’s a rubber, it’s those spring combinations - it’s the roll bars. We don’t seem to have a kinematic problem. We don’t seem to have a fundamental error problem. Certainly the Penske guys are running really well with very similar cars and we’ve just got to get back to where we need to be. This business cycles. We’ve had times when we’ve been the cars to beat for an extended period of time to everybody’s frustration and now we’re just struggling to get back to where we need to be."

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