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Stenhouse Jr. wins Sunoco Rookie of the Year

November 17, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Stenhouse

Roush Fenway Racing driver already looking forward to 2014

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been rewarded for a solid rookie season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series with the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award.

Stenhouse, 26, moved up this season to the sport's premier circuit following back-to-back titles in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Stenhouse was happy earn the honor and is ready to accomplish more in the Sprint Cup Series.

"It means a lot, looking at all the other names that have won this award," Stenhouse said. "It definitely wasn't the season that we wanted, but we slowly but surely got a little bit better throughout the season. I was proud of what we did, of getting better, qualifying better, having runs up front, leading laps throughout this year. I thought we had a chance at winning some races there, at least being in contention. I was proud of those moments."

Stenhouse came on in the second half of the season, posting his three top-10 finishes in the final 11 races of the season. His third-place finish in the October race at Talladega Superspeedway is his best result to date.

Stenhouse also scored his first Coors Light Pole Award in the second half of the season, capturing the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In his first full season in the Sprint Cup Series, Stenhouse finished all 36 races and finished 19th in points.

"All in all, it was a huge learning experience," Stenhouse said of his rookie season. "Thankful we made it through; it's behind us now. We can move on to next year, look on improving every spot at every track that we can in the final points standings."

Stenhouse's girlfriend and fellow Cup Series competitor, Danica Patrick, was also in the running for Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

Stenhouse said he and Patrick joked a bit about the competition for top rookie honors at times, but that both were focused on their racing performance.

"We both wanted to finish as best we could every week," Stenhouse said.

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