Stenhouse Jr. Holds Off Teammate Carl Edwards to Earn First Career Victory at Iowa

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR
With only two Cup Series drivers running the race on Sunday, many were hopeful that a Nationwide Series regular would finally win and end the Cup Series driver dominance. Sunday afternoon, Stenhouse Jr. took the checkered flag to earn his first career win in the John Deere Dealers 250 at Iowa Speedway and he beat Carl Edwards to do it. It was the first time a Nationwide Series regular had won a race since Justin Allgaier won the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol in March 2010.

Rain fell over the speedway on Friday causing NASCAR to call off practice. Qualifying was set for Saturday morning, but rain forced NASCAR to set the starting order per the rulebook. Once the rain moved through, the track was dried and teams hit the track Saturday afternoon for what would be their one and only practice session. Stenhouse Jr. was in the top-10 fastest for much of the practice session but ended up 13th overall once it ended. 

The No. 6 Blackwell Angus Ford took the green flag from the eighth position on Sunday afternoon. At first, Stenhouse Jr. didn’t make much progress toward the front, reporting the car was free in every turn. By lap 41, he had only gained one position and was battling teammate Carl Edwards in the No. 60 Polaris Ford for the seventh position. A competition caution came out on lap 50 and Stenhouse Jr. pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Following the restart, he lost a few positions but battled back inside the top-10 on lap 61. 

By lap 78, he was back up to seventh after passing the No. 38 Great Clips Chevrolet of Leffler. Nearly twenty laps later, he was once again battling his teammate Edwards for position as he dropped to seventh. The caution came out shortly afterward when the No. 99 Pastrana Waltrip Racing Toyota of Truex hit the wall.  Stenhouse Jr. hit pit road again. The No. 6 Ford had been running hot prior to the stop and the team cleaned debris from the grille. 

From that point on, Stenhouse Jr. began to make his charge to the front. He was up to second by lap 159 and running down the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge of Brad Keselowski for the lead. He took the lead on lap 164 and soon found himself under pressure from the No. 60 of Edwards. The two teammates put on quite a show as they swapped the lead multiple times.

The caution flag waved again late in the race when the No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota of Brian Scott spun and hit the wall after being bumped by Stenhouse Jr. Scott came down to avoid a slow car in front of him and Stenhouse Jr. couldn’t avoid him. The incident left noticeable damage to the front of the No. 6 Ford but it didn't hamper him at all. Even a brush with the wall, after the final restart, couldn’t slow him down. Stenhouse Jr. took the checkered flag beating Edwards by just under half a second to earn his first career win. The victory moved Stenhouse Jr. up to third in the standings, eight points behind leader Elliott Sadler.

Next up is the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28.  The race is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET and will air live on ABC.  
Stenhouse Jr. Holds Off Teammate Carl Edwards to Earn First Career Victory at Iowa Stenhouse Jr. Holds Off Teammate Carl Edwards to Earn First Career Victory at Iowa Reviewed by Whitney R. on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 Rating: 5