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Nationwide: Stenhouse takes 2011 title

"I didn't want to see that caution when we were leading but those always come out it seems like," Stenhouse said. "That last restart I was giving it all I had. If I could have got a little better restart and not lost as much ground to Carl and Brad I think we could have had it."

Stenhouse did manage to quickly blast past all but the top two, while Keselowski took the lead from Edwards. With two laps to go to the end, Stenhouse finally also passed Edwards for second place and set off in pursuit of Keselowski, but despite a furious charge he ran out of time before the chequered flag came out: Stenhouse might have the championship, but he would have to concede the day's race win to the 2010 Nationwide champion, Brad/ Keselowski.

Keselowski himself was thrilled to be bowing out of his title year in the series with a victory, given that changes to NASCAR rules meant that he was no longer eligible to defend his title while also competing in the Sprint Cup series. "Not being able to win the championship, it's good to be able to finish on a high note, winning the pole and the race at Homestead," said Keselowski, who has taken seven wins in 2011 including three in the last seven outings. "You couldn't ask for a better way to end the season."

The Ford 300 also saw the Nationwide Series oval d├ębut for Nelson Piquet Jr., who is looking forward to a limited outing in seven Nationwide events in 2012 now that his move to Turner Motorsports is confirmed. Piquet finished two laps off the leader in 24th place at Homestead, while another former open-wheel racer, Sam Hornish Jr., finished in a strong seventh place. Danica Patrick had a late accident on lap 188 that put her out of the running.

Stenhouse and Edwards' third Roush Fenway Racing team mate Trevor Bayne's race was compromised when he scraped the wall and cut his right rear tyre on lap 174, but he recovered to finish on the lead lap in 11th place. Other yellows during the afternoon included a caution on lap 3 for Fain Skinner hitting the the wall after contact with Eric McClure, and a second for Steve Walace scraping the wall out of turn 4 on lap 13. A planned competition yellow came out on lap 35, after which the track remained green until Andrew Ranger's spin on lap 94 in the middle of that green-flag pit stop sequence.

Stanton Barrett slapped the wall on lap 131 and Steve Wallace half-spun with a right-rear tyre issue on lap 146. Bayne's incident provoked the seventh caution on lap 174; then Reed Sorenson spun at the restart to bring out another yellow on lap 182, and Kenny Wallace did likewise shortly after the next restart on lap 188 to bring out the ninth and final caution of the day that set up the final seven-lap shootout for the race win by Keselowski ahead of Stenhouse.

Full race results and times available.




Related Pictures

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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]
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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]
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Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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