Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Overcomes Adversity to Win the Kansas Lottery 300

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6 Cargill/Sam’s Club Ford, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Photo Credit Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified 10th for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.  On a track that was supposed to be hard to pass on, qualifying 10th wasn’t supposed to be a good spot. By lap 45, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had his No. 6 Cargill/Sam’s Club Ford at the front of the field showing everyone that despite his qualifying position he would be one to beat.

In the middle of the race Ricky had debris on the grille of the car and tried to get behind Joey Logano who also had a very strong car, to clean it.  They got together and Ricky’s No. 6 car suffered some major damage.  Ricky said, “We had a lot of debris on the grille and we were 300 on water and oil and I thought we would have to pit to come get that off before we blew up and I was trying to get behind him to get the debris off and he checked up at the last second and I turned and just drove right into the side of him. That wasn’t much he could do about it and I thought it ruined our day but we were able to bounce back from it.

The No. 6 team went two laps down repairing the car. They had to work hard to fix the car and get those laps back.  Ricky said, “I thought our day was done but Mike (Mike Kelly Crew Chief) and the guys did a great job at repairing the right side of the car as best they could and making adjustments so that we could still run fast. I thought we had a top five car still with all the damage.

Fixing the damage was one thing but getting those laps back would take some luck and skill.  Some of that luck leads to being the last of the fast cars to get enough fuel to make it to the end.  “The cautions fell our way and Mike kept making great calls when we would come down pit road and we were able to get back on the lead lap and it put us in position where we were able to get fuel. We weren’t worried about running out and that played into our favor for sure.”, said Ricky after the race.

Kyle Busch was leading the race at the end, looking like he would get his first win in his own Nationwide Team car.  He was also trying to keep his winning streak in the Nationwide Series alive.  It wasn’t meant to be thought, he ran out of fuel on the last lap giving the race to Ricky. “Ran out in the middle of (turns) three and four.” Kyle said, “But, that’s our year man. Nothing else to it than that, you know. I just can’t say enough about all our guys, everybody at Monster Energy and Toyota — they do a great job for us. We’re supposed to repay them by winning races and we haven’t done that this year. What a frustrating defeat. Oh well, you get defeated sometimes.

Austin Dillon finished second, Joey Logano third, Elliott Sadler fourth and Cole Whitt fifth.  Chevrolet clinched the NASCAR Nationwide Series Bill France Performance Cup otherwise known as the manufacturer’s championship.

This is Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s eighth NASCAR Nationwide Series win, his sixth this year.  He is now second in the standings only 6 points behind leader Elliott Sadler.  Austin Dillon drops to third 20 points back.

The Nationwide Series if off next week but the championship standings between Elliott and Ricky has tightened up and it looks like they will be fighting till the end.

Brian Berg Jr. is the Lead NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary. On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary


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