Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 9/14/12

DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 25: Team owner Jack Roush walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 25, 2010 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

Roush Fenway Racing confirmed today that 2011 Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will pilot its historic No. 17 Ford Fusion next season in the Sprint Cup Series. One of the emerging talents in NASCAR, Stenhouse steps into a championship-caliber program in the No. 17, with current team partners Best Buy, Fifth Third Bank and Zest each returning to the team as primary sponsors in 2013.

“It will be an exciting transition for Ricky and the team next season,” said co-owner Jack Roush. “We take great pride in driver development, and it is rewarding for all involved any time we are able to watch one of our young men grow and progress. We have seen Ricky develop into a NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, and now his career path comes to fruition in the Sprint Cup Series next season.

“I can’t think of a better fit for Ricky than the No. 17 team,” added Roush. “Ricky will have the luxury of being flanked by a championship-level team from the start. His drive, determination and commitment to winning will mesh very well with the demeanor of the No. 17 team. It will be our job to put him in the best equipment possible, as well as to guide him through the learning curves that are part of his rookie season.

“It is certainly going to be a lot of fun to watch as Ricky continues to improve his skills each week as his progression rate is accelerated by the increased level of competition around him in the Sprint Cup Series.”

Best Buy, Fifth Third Bank and Zest each joined Roush Fenway’s No. 17 team as primary partners in 2012. These three partners will return to the No. 17 again next year, with each increasing their commitment in 2013 for Stenhouse’s entry into Sprint Cup competition. With their involvement, the majority of Stenhouse’s races for 2013 are fully sponsored.

“In this sport, having great partners is critical to our ability to field top-tier race teams and we are thrilled that Best Buy, Fifth Third Bank and Zest have had such success in our first year together that they are growing their programs for 2013,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “We’re privileged to have companies of that caliber and reputation as anchors on the No. 17 program, and appreciate that each of them is very excited about the future with Roush Fenway.

“We have reserved a few primary races with Ricky and the No. 17 team for next year and are in discussions with several companies right now who are interested in what promises to be an extremely exciting rookie year. It’s really a great opportunity for companies that are looking to tap into the power of the sport.”

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