Southern dirt - thick and red, soggy and sloppy - moved Ricky
Stenhouse Jr. to the big leagues of American auto racing. He's gone
from a youngster driving winged sprinters in his native Mississippi
to navigating the most massive motorsports venues in the world as a
25-year-old NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.
There were multiple stops in between, of course. Ricky went from
the Southern-based United Sprint Car Series to the popular levels
of the United States Auto Club. Then, after he posted gaudy numbers
in USAC and was named the top rookie in USAC's National Sprint and
Midget Car series in 2007, Roush Fenway Racing came calling to
promote Ricky to the upper levels of stock car racing.
In 2008, Ricky barely missed a championship in the ARCA Racing
Series, leading the points standings for 13 weeks before being
carelessly knocked out in the season finale.
Ricky would get his - and a lot of it.
There were tough times in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series
season of 2009, but Ricky rebounded and took the honor of the
series' top rookie in 2010. The breakthrough came in May 2011, as
Ricky and Roush Fenway's No. 6 Ford combined to earn their first
Nationwide win at Iowa. The series championship followed, as did
another in 2012.
That's back-to-back Nationwide championships in 2011and 12 -
peppered with eight victories, 35 top-fives and 52 top-10s in those
two seasons. Ricky became the sixth driver to win consecutive
titles in NASCAR's steppingstone series, and now he's in his rookie
Sprint Cup season in 2013.
A native of suburban Memphis, Tenn., Ricky golfs, plays
racquetball, shoots hoops and, like most drivers these days, works
out. An avid fan of country music, Ricky sports his Serratelli
cowboy hat and Tony Lama boots when the helmet and driving shoes