Stenhouse clinches Nationwide title with 2nd place finish
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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. became the Nationwide Series champion long before the checkered flag dropped Saturday at the championship finale. Stenhouse clinched the title after 30 laps in the Ford 300 when six cars officially dropped out of the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Stenhouse started the race with a comfortable 41-point lead over Elliott Sadler. They were the only drivers still eligible for the title. In order to clinch his first NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, Stenhouse needed to finish 37th or better. The driver of the No. 6 Blackwell Angus Ford did much better than that in the final finishing order with a second place finish in the 200-lap race.
Stenhouse became the third driver in NASCAR Nationwide Series to win the championship a year after winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
“It means the world to bring this championship to Jack [Roush] with the history he has in this sport,” Stenhouse said. “This is one of my favorite race tracks. Man, I wish we came here twice.”
Ford 300 pole-sitter Brad Keselowski held off Stenhouse and Carl Edwards to pick up the win Saturday night. Keselowski notched up his fifth win of the year and 17th of his career by pulling away on the last restart. With the third place finish, Edwards clinched the owners’ title for the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Denny Hamlin finished fifth in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing car to lose the owner’s title to Jack Roush.
“It’s been an up and down year in Cup and on the Nationwide side,” said Keselowski. “Carl [Edwards] put up a good fight but we were fortunate enough to come out on top.”
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