NASCAR Nationwide Driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. usually sees Texas at about 200-miles-per-hour.  He also drives in circles for about four hours and goes home.  But before he hits the starting grid for this year’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, he stopped and smelled the roses or in this case the burning rubber and toured Big D.

The first stop was Cowboys Stadium on the way to downtown Dallas.  His first thoughts on seeing Jerry’s World for the first time made him want to do so laps on the inside.

“Ahh, it’s a little small,” joked Ricky.  “Nah, I’m just kidding.  I think it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  Kinda looks like a huge spaceship.  I’d kinda like to race inside of it.”

Then we hit I-30 in Arlington and headed East in Ricky’s supped-up Roush Stage 1 Pure Michigan Mustang. 

Ricky pops and hood and proudly says it has “412 horsepower, 390ft pounds of torque.”

You even have the chance to win that baby in the Pure Michigan Mustang Give-Away.

Sweet!  That is a fast car and so is Ricky.  He was Rookie of the Year in 2010 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011.  One of his wins was pretty dramatic.

“We blew a motor coming off of turn four and my teammate Carl Edwards ran into us and we crashed and he pushed us across the line for the win,” Ricky says with a smile.

The Mustang turns heads as it blows down I-30.  Ricky says he doesn’t speed but he can’t bear to let people pass him on the freeway.

Ricky checked out the Reunion Tower and made a quick pit stop at the cattle drive sculpture downtown.

“I think it’s pretty sweet,” Ricky said as he moved through the longhorn sculptures.  “It’s like the start of our race for sure.  We’re side by side.  This is a cool landmark for sure.”

The tour continued down Elm Street and the JFK motorcade route right past the grassy knoll.  Then it was time for our final pit stop.

“A good pit stop for us is around 13 or 14 seconds,” Ricky said.

But our pit stop was a little longer as we enjoyed a few gas station tacos.

“Man we’re getting a taco, you’ve got to go with Texas beef,” Ricky said as he looked over the menu. “Yeah, Texas beef.”

Time to dig in.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a gas station taco period,” Ricky said.  “So it’s going to be the best one I’ve ever had.”

No he knows why the line is so long.

“I’m going to order about thirty more tacos and hit the road,” Ricky said he polished off his second taco.

Now he knows what he’s been missing as he usually speeds in and out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex during race weekend at TMS .

“It would be nice to win one here at Texas,” Ricky said as he smoked the tires out of the parking lot.