Saturday, September 15, 2012

NNS Recap: Stenhouse Jr. wins fifth race of the season


Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR


Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the number 6 Blue Bird Ford, won his seventh Nationwide Series victory and fifth of the season Saturday in the 12th Annual Dollar General 300 Powered By Coca Cola at Chicagoland Speedway. This victory put him into the points lead, nine points over Elliott Sadler.

Even though it seems that Stenhouse Jr. has a nice cushion over Sadler, he is still remaining cautious about going after his second straight Nationwide Series championship.

“The last four races, I think, we’ve finished second, first, second and first, so I think we’ve got good momentum,” Stenhouse said. “But in this business, in this sport, anything can change at any time. You’ve got to keep your guard up, and you’ve got to keep not making mistakes.

“We’re very fortunate that we overcame the mistakes that we had today, both on pit road -- a wrong adjustment and a stalled car. We overcame that today, and that’s what we need to keep doing. But as we keep going, we’ve got to make sure we don’t make those mistakes. I feel like the 2 car is not done winning, and I don’t feel like we’re done winning either. We’re just going to have to stay on our ‘A’ game.”

The drama of the night remained in the Richard Childress Racing camp, where it was recently announced that Elliott Sadler would be leaving at the end of the season. 

While Sadler and teammate Austin Dillon were racing hard, “You will not help the 2 car tonight,” was heard over the No. 3 team’s radio. 

“We were just racing hard for the championship right there,” Dillon said. “We were racing hard by Sam (Hornish Jr.), or whoever it was, and the 2 went with the other guy when we could have used a push. That’s all it is, racing hard for a championship… “Everybody’s worked up about it, RCR as a group working for a championship. We’re both wanting to win. We had to beat the 6 (Stenhouse), so we couldn’t help each other at all today. Did it hurt us? Not much, because the 6 was that much faster. It’s just racing hard. I don’t know what else to say--just part of the game, I guess.”
Later, Sadler responded: “I don’t know what that means, ‘Do not help the 2,’” he said when told of the exchange between crew chief Danny Stockman Jr. and Dillon. “We share really good notes, and we always have, so I don’t know.”

The race featured 17 lead changes among nine drivers, with polesitter Joey Logano leading the most laps with 67.

The top ten:
1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2. Kyle Busch
3. Austin Dillon
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Paul Menard
6. Sam Hornish Jr.
7. Michael Annett
8. Elliott Sadler
9. Joey Logano
10. Brian Scott

You can view the rest of the results here.

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