Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and three primary sponsors will remain with Roush Fenway Racing through the 2021 season.
The announcement was made Tuesday at the team’s Concord, North Carolina, headquarters a day after Stenhouse earned his best finish of the season (fourth) at Bristol Motor Speedway. Three Ford Fusions wrapped with Fastenal, SunnyD and Fifth Third Bank colors served as the backdrop.
“It means a ton for our No. 17 team and everybody at Roush Fenway Racing,” said Stenhouse. “It’s always nice to have the partnerships we’ve had for a long time continue and show the support they’re showing us through the 2021 season. It’s a partnership with all three that we’ve grown to be family over the last handful of years.
“We’re continuing to get our competition side better, still striving for more on that side, you’ll never be done continuing to get better there. But it’s always easier to do when you have those partners who are willing to step up and be committed to you.”
Fastenal will increase its number of primary races going forward. However, a specific number of races was not announced. The company joined Roush in 2010 and has been a partner of Stenhouse in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2015.
Fifth Third Bank and SunnyD will also remain primary sponsors.
Fifth Third Bank partnered with RFR in 2010 and moved into the Cup Series in 2012 with Carl Edwards. The company has been a part of Stenhouse’s team since 2015. SunnyD joined the team in 2016.
Stenhouse has driven for RFR since making his NASCAR national series debut in 2009. A two-time Xfinity Series champion (2011-’12), he moved into the premier series in 2013 and won the Rookie of the Year award.
Last season, Stenhouse captured his first two career wins at Talladega in the spring and Daytona in the summer to make the playoffs for the first time. He finished a career-best 13th in points.
Steve Newmark, the president of RFR, credited Stenhouse for maturing as a leader within the organization.
“He’s always been an unbelievably talented kid, very smart. But I think he even he would tell when he got here it was a bigger scene than he imagined from a small town in Mississippi,” said Newmark. “For the first few years he was really trying to understand the lay of the land, develop his relationships and he was really looking to Carl [Edwards] and Matt [Kenseth] and Greg [Biffle] for guidance. But I think his personality is never one to take a back seat to anyone, so you’ve really seen him emerge and he’s very assertive and he understands that he’s got to play a role in making the cars better, it’s not just his driving on the track. It’s what goes on during the week.
“He’s worked on providing better input and learning how he can tell the guys in the shop what he needs. He’s not shy about sharing that, and that’s what he needs to do. He needs to be in the meetings demanding certain things to make the cars faster.
“On the business side, I think the first time we ever had him, it was with Fastenal, speak to 100 people at a hospitality tent when Carl was in the car; he looked about as uncomfortable as you can be and now he’s very natural and has a lot of direct relationships with the partners and interacts directly with them. I think he really enjoys being a part of these companies.”