NASCAR »

Nationwide: Stenhouse takes 2011 title

Ricky Stenhouse knew early on during the Ford 300 season finale race that the 2011 championship was his - but he couldn't do quite enough to also clinch the race win.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was crowned the 2011 Nationwide Series champion after coming second in the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, more than enough to see off any lingering threat to his new title from Elliott Sadler.

Yet despite pushing for all he was worth in the closing minutes, Stenhouse wasn't able go one better and pass outgoing champion Brad Keselowski for Saturday afternoon's race win, and had to settle for the runners-up spot instead.

"What an effort, champion," Stenhouse's spotter Mike Calinoff radioed in as the #6's last attempt to get around Keselowski was thwarted.

"That was all I had," admitted Stenhouse of that last lap push. "I was really hoping for one more lap there, but Brad did a good job. I got a little loose there coming off 4, or I thought we could have got him.

"But, man, it was fun racing those guys," he continued. "We were sideways, turning right, trying to keep it off the fence, getting into the fence every now and then, and to race up there with Carl, Brad, Denny, Clint Bowyer, Elliott Sadler - they're some of the best in the business and to be up there racing with them is fun.”

Stenhouse was still dazed with the reality of his championship achievement: "This is a dream come true ... It is unbelievable," he said. "There are a lot of people that have worked really hard for this. My family has sacrificed a lot. Jack Roush and all these guys on our team, they were with us when we were struggling and they never gave up last year."

Stenhouse had actually clinched the title early during the afternoon's proceedings, when enough cars had retired by lap 28 to make it impossible for Elliott Sadler to close up the points difference between them and steal the title at the last moment. Even if Stenhouse crashed out, he was now assured 37th place which put him out of Sadler's reach. That meant he was released to run as hard as he liked for the outright race win as well, having previously been required to put safety first and prioritise making no accidents.

Sadler himself had started the race alongside polesitter Keseelowski and immediately taken the lead at the green flag for the first half dozen laps before Keselowski found his groove and dived underneath him for the lead that he would then hold for all but one of the next 50 laps. After that, Carl Edwards made a determined effort to go head-to-head with him and finally came off best; with only temporary interruptions for pit stops and cautions, Edwards continued to lead through to lap 148 and set the most laps led (87 out of the 200-lap race distance, compared with 66 for Keselowski and 22 laps in front for Stenhouse.)

Staying out under a caution then put Clint Bowyer in the lead, but at the restart Stenhouse made his move and went to the front hoping to build up a margin over Keselowski and Edwards, who were still too close for comfort behind him. A final flurry of cautions meant that Stenhouse was dropped back out of the top five, which consisted of Edwards, Keselowski, Sadler, Bowyer and Denny Hamlin as the green flag came out with seven to go.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Brad Keselowski gets ready to celebrate after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series season-ending Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 19. [Photo Credit: By John Harrelson, Getty Images for NASCAR]
Race winner Brad Keselowski celebrates with the flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 19. [Photo Credit: By Todd Warshaw, Getty Images for NASCAR]
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the #6 and teammate Carl Edwards perform a head-to-head burnout in celebration of Stenhouse`s NASCAR Nationwide Series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 19. [Photo Credit: By Todd Warshaw, Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a fifth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Elliott takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon.  (Photo by Ashley R Dickerson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, races Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 6, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.