Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has a new favorite ride … well, next to his Sprint Cup car, that is

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You know, if this whole NASCAR thing doesn’t work out for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., he can always try his luck at the riding lawnmower racing circuit.

Just kidding, Ricky.

But Stenhouse is featured in a unique story on GolfIndustry.com, talking about his newly purchased Dixie Chopper XCaliber Twin riding mower – rather appropriately named since the Mississippi native hails from deep in Dixie – that he likes to drive, cut grass and relieve some of the stress of the Sprint Cup Series, all at the same time.

This baby has some power to it, too – although its 54 horsepower pales in comparison to the 800-plus horsies Stenhouse has in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion.

As the story said, “The XCaliber Twin delivers industry-leading power that slices through even the thickest grass with ease.”

How much does Stenhouse love his new ride?

“When the mower first arrived, I jumped right on and cut until dark (around his Concord, N.C. estate),” Stenhouse told the web site. “I try and get out here once a week and mow as much as I can.

“At first I was going to get a tractor with a rotary attachment and they asked me, ‘What size, five foot, six foot?’ ” Stenhouse said. “I said I might as well get an XCaliber, it’s more than six feet across and it mows way faster than a tractor.”

Interestingly enough, while the story mentions that the 26-year-old Stenhouse as a two-time Nationwide Series champion and Sprint Cup Rookie of the year last season, not one word was mentioned about his No. 1 love, fellow driver Danica Patrick.

But Stenhouse’s new ride is also already near and dear to his heart, as well.

“I love the fact that I don’t have to slow the mower down at all,” Stenhouse said. “And the unit’s maneuverability allows me to easily mow between fence posts, which really cuts down on the weed eating.”

Who knows, Danica may start to get a little jealous after hearing of Ricky’s upgrade plans for his new ride.

“On pit road at Darlington, a couple of the drivers came down and asked me about the mower, just amazed at how much horsepower it has,” Stenhouse said. “But I’m probably the only driver mowing his own lawn. I love it so much I’m going to get a light kit for the machine so I can mow at night.”

Might want to keep a sleeping bag handy out in the mower shed, just in case, Ricky.

Click here to read the whole story and see a photo of Stenhouse’s new toy.

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Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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