Bad News Came Out Of The Blue For Stenhouse

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 28 2019
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. didn’t see the axe coming. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. admitted Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he was blindsided by Roush Fenway Racing’s decision to replace him for the 2020 season with Chris Buescher.

“I got a text on Tuesday night that said for me to swing by the shop tomorrow at 11,” Stenhouse said after qualifying 21st for Sunday’s Bank of America 400. “I have gotten plenty of those texts before so I didn’t really think anything of it. I was drinking coffee at 7:30 Wednesday morning, getting ready to go work out, and my agent called me and told me he had been called to come to the shop. When he said that I thought, ‘This probably isn’t very good.’

“We went into the shop at 11 and I found out just before everybody else did. I didn’t have any knowledge that it was coming, but that’s part of it. I know people get fired from their jobs every day. I can’t feel sorry for myself. I have to look forward.”

For the 31-year-old Stenhouse the last two days have been filled with a wide range of emotions.

“Over the past two days I would say I went angry, sad, optimistic … you know, sometimes change is good,” Stenhouse said. “It’s like they said, it just didn’t work and it hadn’t been working over the last couple of years.”

During Stenhouse’s 11 years with Roush Fenway, he won back-to-back Xfinity Series championships and two Cup and eight Xfinity Series races. However, he hasn’t visited victory lane since 2017, which was the year he finished a career best 13th in the Cup standings.

“Ultimately, we’re here for results and they weren’t coming,” Stenhouse said. “We’ve had speed. We just haven’t had consistent finishes, so I think that’s what sucks for myself.”

Team co-owner Jack Roush said Friday he didn’t know if Stenhouse would have remained with the team if Buescher hadn’t become available. 

“It’s hard to say if I would have made that change,” Roush said. “Certainly, I was thinking about what would be best for Ricky and what would be the best for us. It was on my mind.” 

  Stenhouse said he would like to remain in NASCAR’s Cup Series, but with only eight races remaining this season it made his search for a new ride more difficult.

“Halfway through the season would have been a little nicer to be able to go look for something else to do, but it’s their business and I have to go with it,” Stenhouse said. “No hard feelings. I’ve been angry at times, but, for the most part, I look back on all of it and I’m super thankful.” 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, September 28 2019
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