NNS: Stenhouse Jr. extends Roush streak at Texas with win

April 14, 2012 No Comments

Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

The last time a race team besides Roush-Fenway Racing won a NASCAR Nationwide series race at Texas Motor Speedway was in April 2010.

Despite having just one driver entered in the race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  was able to add another victory at Texas to Roush-Fenway Racing’s impressive runs at Texas.

“Its been a long time since we came to a track without the [No.] 60 car here,” said Mike Kelly, crew chief for the No. 6 car of Stenhouse Jr, to ESPN reporters after the race. “[We are] taking care of the flagship now.”

All weekend it was apparent that being the only Roush-Fenway racing entry for the Nationwide series race at was helping the No. 6 Pure Michigan sponsored Ford. Stenhouse Jr. won both practices. However, when it came time to qualify Stenhouse lost a little bit and Paul Menard took the pole.

For most of the night Stenhouse and Menard would battle for the lead.

On the final restart, Stenhouse held off Denny Hamlin and Menard to get his second win of the season, and the fourth win of his career.

Stenhouse though, was worrying that he might not have the car to win the race.

“I spent the [last] caution laps praying for a good restart,” Stenhouse said after the race. “We managed to hang on [to the lead] and pulled it off.”

Stenhouse  didn’t lead the most laps tonight, that distinction went to Menard, but Stenhouse did have a strong car for most of the night.

“The race started really strong,” Stenhouse Jr. said. “My Mustang did what I wanted it to.”

Stenhouse Jr. won the first round, taking the lead from Menard early on and leading most of the opening laps. When the first green flag flew for debris on lap 45 it was Stenhouse Jr. that was leading over  Hamlin.

After the pit stops, Menard inherited the lead thanks to a long stop by Stenhouse. For Menard, it was the start of a long series of laps that he would lead.

Menard led through the next two caution periods. Stenhouse, meanwhile slowly made up from the bad pit stop and made his way to second, this time following Hamlin who raced past Menard on the latest restart.

After working his way back to the front, Menard began to pull away, once again from Stenhouse. Suddenly, things turned dark and a bank of lights, for the second time in the race,  went out in turn three. As a result, the race was red flagged so the breaker could be thrown and the lights could be turned back on.

Playing the strategy game, most of the leaders came down pit road, but Austin Dillon stayed out to lead the field.

The lights turned back on and Stenhouse drove past Dillon, four laps after the restart, to take the lead. Stenhouse Jr. would hold on to the lead.

Menard finished second. Kasey Kahne finished third, Hamlin finished fourth and Austin Dillon finished fifth.

Elliott Sadler, who finished 12th, still leads the points, but his lead is down to just four points over Stenhouse Jr.

The Nationwide series has an off weekend next week, but they will be back on track at Richmond on April 27th.

Race results: 

  1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  2. Paul Menard
  3. Kasey Kahne
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Austin Dillon
  6. David Ragan
  7. Justin Allgaier
  8. Danic Patrick
  9. Michael Annett
  10. Steve Arpin
  11. Sam Hornish Jr.
  12. Elliott Sadler
  13. Cole Whitt
  14. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  15. Joey Logano
  16. Mike Bliss
  17. Joe Nemechek
  18. Jason Bowles
  19. Mike Wallace
  20. Johanna Long
  21. Kyle Fowler
  22. Kelly Bires
  23. Erik Darnell
  24. Eric McClure
  25. Tayler Malsam
  26. T.J. Bell
  27. Tim Schendel
  28. Timmy Hill
  29. Jeremy Clements
  30. Kurt Busch
  31. Danny Efland
  32. Ryan Truex
  33. Benny Gordon
  34. Robert Richardson Jr.
  35. Brad Keselowski
  36. Blake Koch
  37. Brian Scott
  38. Scott Riggs
  39. Chase Miller
  40. Josh Wise
  41. Scott Speed
  42. Kevin Lepage
  43. Jeff Green
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