Ricky Stenhouse, Jr looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August, 26, 2011. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr drives for Roush-Fenway Racing's Nationwide team in the No. 6 Black Angus Quality Beef Ford Mustang. Currently he is the NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader with four races left in the 2011 season. Is it possible that he may be without a ride next season?
Many don't recall that Stenhouse, Jr won the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Award. This season, he has won two races at Iowa Speedway, finished in the Top 10 23 times, and has grabbed three NASCAR Nationwide Series pole awards. He even competed in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race during the Coca-Cola 600 and finished 11th, the second highest RFR car.
Stenhouse, who turned 24 earlier this month, comes from a background of racing in the USAC National Sprint Car Series. Even at a young race, he won tons of go-kart races.
Sprint Cup Dollars
The funding issues go back to the NASCAR Sprint Cup difficulties in finding sponsors. Currently, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan are both in need of sponsorship. As you recall, Crown Royal announced earlier this season that they would leave Roush-Fenway Racing. It has also been reported that UPS is leaving the No. 6 at the end of the season. With no end in sight for the current economic conditions, Stenhouse may not know where or if he is driving in 2012. Roush may have ran Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse in unsponsored cars for the Nationwide Series, but it would be most implausible to think an organization would ever run one car in the Cup Series without a sponsor, let alone two.
Sure a driver of Stenhouse's abilities would warrant a job at the highest level of NASCAR but Stenhouse recognizes the complexities and knows nothing is certain. Stenhouse said earlier this month "It's tough, especially when you just heard Dollar General signed with Joe Gibbs Racing to do Brian Scott's Nationwide car and join Joey Logano's Cup car. There are people out there that are going to want to do this. It's just frustrating we don't have anything now."
Roush-Fenway racing has ran teams unsponsored before but even a powerful organization has limits. Whether Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. full-time or part-time in either the NASCAR Nationwide Series or NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, I'm sure someone is going to make sure this talented driver will be in the seat in 2012.
Will Ricky Stenhouse, Jr get a sponsor if he wins the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship?