Stenhouse Reclaims Championship Lead
JOLIET, Ill. – Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. re-established himself as the man to beat for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship by winning Saturday’s Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Stenhouse struggled most of the day, but the driver of the No. 6 Ford made a late-race charge through the field. Following a restart on lap 171, Stenhouse quickly drove to second and began to chase down leader Kyle Busch.
With 20 laps left Stenhouse caught and quickly dispatched Busch at the 1.5-mile oval. From there he simply pulled away from Busch to a 2.402-second victory.
The victory, his fifth of the year, moved Stenhouse back to the top of the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings by nine points over Elliott Sadler, who finished eighth.
“We had an OK car, it seemed to take awhile getting going,” Stenhouse said from victory lane. “That last run was the best it was. Mike (Kelley, crew chief) made some great calls. I stalled it (on pit road) and that put us far back and I drove it back up to third. It was just an all-around team effort.”
Busch, who has yet to win this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, was happy with the progress his Kyle Busch Motorsports team made during Saturday’s event.
“We had a really good car. It ran well throughout the race and was fast,” Busch said. “I thought that there wasn’t anybody back there we had to deal with and then the No. 6 (Stenhouse) comes out of nowhere. I don’t know where he came from. He had a fast race car.”
Austin Dillon finished third after leading 52 laps early in the day.
“We had a really good car all day. Fought trash on the grill most of the day too,” Dillon said. “I don’t know why we kept running over stuff.”
Brad Keselowski finished fourth, followed by Paul Menard in fifth. Sam Hornish, Jr., Michael Annett, Sadler, polesitter Joey Logano and Brian Scott filled the remainder of the top 10.