NNS: Stenhouse dominant in third straight win at Iowa

May 20, 2012 No Comments

Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images for NASCAR

NEWTON, IA–For the third time in a row, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and his No. 6 Roush-Fenway Ford was the car that got to pull into victory lane at Iowa Speedway.

After sweeping the races last year, Stenhouse was the driver to watch  when the NASCAR Nationwide series moved into the 7/8th mile track in Iowa. He didn’t have the strongest practice, in fact he got loose and got into the wall during practice, but that proved to be the only hiccup for the defending series champion.

“That’s what we set out here to do, we didn’t talk to much about it [the season sweep of Iowa last year] in the shop,” Stenhouse said after the race. “Practice hurt us yesterday, we got into the wall and lost some track position.”

Even though the scrape against the wall hurt the team in practice on Saturday, the team kept on top of adjustments, and those adjustments that were made to the car made Stenhouse’s car one of the most dominant Iowa Speedway had ever seen in the Nationwide Series.

Stenhouse led a total of 209 of the 250 laps in Iowa on his way to victory, matching a mark that was set in 2010 when Kyle Busch led the same number of laps to grab the victory.

“We knew that the cloud cover was coming in and I feel like the crew did a great job and kept the car on top of the changes,” Stenhouse said . “We started off the race really strong we ran down the 12 [of Sam Hornish Jr] and really just never looked back after that.”

Starting second, Hornish Jr. was able to lead the first 30 laps, but after those laps, the race belong to Stenhouse who would lead all but 11 of the remaining laps. Most of the laps that he didn’t lead were because of restarts when his car wasn’t the strongest.

Of those 11 laps all of those came during or after caution periods and on the restarts.

Only once before had Stenhouse been this dominant in a race, that was last August when he led the most laps at O’Riley Raceway Park in Indianapolis, but he failed to win that event.

“It feels good to win three in a row and lead that many laps,” Stenhouse Jr. said. “The last time we lead that many laps we gave it away there at the end.”

After sweeping the two Iowa races last year, Stenhouse has said that Iowa has become a sort of home track for him.

“After my first win I think they were really excited that I got my first win here,” Stenhouse said after the race about the Iowa Speedway fans.” The Second race they were pumped up because we crashed coming across the start/finish line. I think they were more excited this time when I was driving down the front straightaway no one was sitting down I saw everyone cheering. It almost feels like a hometown race.”

Today was another strong day for Stenhouse not just on the track by leading the most amount of laps, but also in the points. Even though Elliott Sadler, who trails Stenhouse in the points finished second, Stenhouse got the maximum amount of points for the race and extended his points lead by five over Sadler.

After starting in the back and then making his way up front to even challenging for the lead, Kurt Busch had a solid day until there were two laps to go when he and Michael McDowell tangled in turn two. Busch made a great save and was able to finish in fifth Sunday.

Rounding out the top five were Michael McDowell in third, Austin Dillon in fourth. Parker Kligerman was able to bring his Dodge home in 8th to be the highest finishing Dodge in the race.

Next weekend the series will return to many of the team’s home base of Charlotte for the first of two annual races there.

Pioneer Hi-Breed 250 Race Results:

  1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  2. Elliott Sadler
  3. Michael McDowell
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Kurt Busch
  6. Justin Allgaier
  7. Cole Whitt
  8. Parker Kligerman
  9. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  10. Brendan Gaughan
  11. Brian Scott
  12. Sam Hornish Jr.
  13. Brad Sweet
  14. Michael Annett
  15. Mike Bliss
  16. Steve Arpin
  17. Jason Bowles
  18. Erik Darnell
  19. Joe Nemechek
  20. Casey Roderick
  21. Mike Wallace
  22. Johanna Long
  23. Jeremy Clements
  24. Jamie Dick
  25. Timmy Hill
  26. Travis Pastrana
  27. T.J. Bell
  28. Daryl Harr
  29. Tayler Malsam
  30. Danica Patrick
  31. Morgan Shepherd
  32. Jeff Green
  33. Joey Gase
  34. Josh Richards
  35. Mike Harmon
  36. John Jackson
  37. Tim Andrews
  38. Matt Frahm
  39. Michael Guerity
  40. Blake Koch
  41. Kevin Lepage
  42. Tim Schendel
  43. Chase Miller

 

 

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