There was some excitement over at Fastenal’s Outlet Store on Monday, as community members of all ages lined up to meet Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 17 Fastenal Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Stenhouse, who is in his first season with the Fastenal sponsorship, drove all the way to Winona yesterday after a long weekend of racing in Indianapolis. The trip was worth his while, he said.
“I always enjoy meeting the employees at Fastenal that support us while we’re racing,” he said, adding that his favorite part is meeting the younger fans of the sport.
“It’s fun seeing the kids come out and seeing them excited about racing and NASCAR — they are shy at first and then open up a bit.”
One such fan, Parker Krause, 4, of Winona, anxiously waited in line to meet the NASCAR driver, wearing a white Fastenal baseball cap and t-shirt.
Krause had been looking forward to meeting Stenhouse since he first heard about the meet-and-greet event last week, his grandma, Ann Oevering said.
Krause has been a fan of NASCAR since he was two-and-a-half, he said, and collects all of the cars and records the races.
“Ricky’s here!” he said when he spotted Stenhouse from across the parking lot.
Krause cautiously approached Stenhouse and asked for his autograph, smiling big while his mom, Kayla, snapped a picture.
Krause walked away with his signed t-shirt, hat and photograph.
“Mom, what does it say?” he said, pointing to Stenhouse’s signature. Krause is excited for next year when he turns five, because his grandma plans to take him to his first NASCAR race.
Though Stenhouse has had a slow start to the season this year, with only one top 10 finish back in April, the racer is hoping to get back on track and finish out the season strong.
“We started out really far behind as an organization, but the last month I think we’ve been heading in the right direction,” he said.
“We have some good tracks coming up here that we’re excited about and we have some chances to get some things accomplished yet this season.”