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In the Draft: One win down with more to come

March 13, 2012, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com



In the Draft: One win down with more to come
Stenhouse backs up Phoenix top-five with memorable win at Las Vegas

Well, after that victory I think Las Vegas might be one of my new favorite tracks. Our Ford Mustang wasn't perfect at the start of the race, but my crew chief, Mike Kelley, kept doctoring on our No. 6 Ford Ecoboost Mustang and by the end of the race our car was the strongest it had been all weekend.

I want to dedicate this win to all the guys in our shop. They have put in a lot of extra hours building stout race cars for both Trevor [Bayne] and I, and all their hard work is what put us in Victory Lane on Saturday.

"Victory Lane at Vegas is an awesome event. It is inside "The Neon Garage" so when I crawled out of the car, I saw a sea of people looking down and celebrating with us. That is by far one of the coolest Victory Lanes I have ever seen."

--RICKY STENHOUSE JR.

Victory Lane at Vegas is an awesome event. It is inside "The Neon Garage" so when I crawled out of the car, I saw a sea of people looking down and celebrating with us. That is by far one of the coolest Victory Lanes I have ever seen.

At the beginning of the year, [Mike] Kelley and I sat down and reviewed our season from a year ago and we both felt that we gave some races away. Our main goal this year was to be able to close the deal and win more races. We both felt like we could win six or more races this season, so we got one down and more to come.

The championship points' battle is looking like it is going to be a close one. Both RCR cars are looking strong, but we will keep fighting and hopefully keep reeling them in.

We have been out west for two straight weeks now. Last week we raced at one of my favorite tracks on the circuit, Phoenix International Raceway. I have had a lot of success there so I always look forward to going there to race. We had a strong Ford Mustang at Phoenix. After about five laps, we would be the fastest car on the track but couldn't catch Elliott [Sadler] or Brad [Keselowski] there at the end. We came home with a strong top-five finish and gained some points that we lost in Daytona with the late accident.

I decided to stay out west during Phoenix and Vegas because my sprint car team that I formed with Jason Johnson was racing close by. The trip was well worth it, as we got our first win! Out of three races, we have finished seventh, first and third -- not too shabby. I am really proud of Jason Johnson and the entire team for all of their hard work, and I look forward to racing some of the sprint car races this year.

In addition to all the racing, last week, I went to Texas Motor Speedway for their media day. Eddie Gossage and his team sure know how to put on a show. It was really neat to meet Kelly Hansen from Foreigner and Graham Rahal from the IndyCar Series. Foreigner will be playing the pre-race concert for all the fans when we come back in April to race. I love racing at night because it brings back memories of Saturday night racing with my dad growing up. I can't wait to get back there and hopefully get our No. 6 Ford back in Victory Lane.

We head to Bristol this weekend and I can't wait. We sat on the pole there last year for this race so hopefully we will have the same outcome. I am also excited to see all the Cargill/Blackwell Angus folks. They were great supporters of us last year, and I am thrilled to have them back as a partner this year.

I have a busy week before heading to Bristol. I will be making an appearance on NASCAR Now on Tuesday and have some media with Sirius and MRN.

Before I sign off here, I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to Chad Norris, the crew chief on the No. 60 team, and his family. Chad's dad passed away while we were in Vegas so I want to send my condolences to him and his family.

Make sure you follow me on twitter, @stenhousejr, and Google +.

Until next time...later!

In the Draft with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a twice-monthly blog and the opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Follow him and the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team on Twitter: @stenhousejr, @pr6nns, and @roushfenway.