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Nationwide: Stenhouse dominates at Iowa

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made it seem like there was no one else in the race, as he completely dominated the Nationwide Series race at Iowa all Sunday afternoon for his third win of the year.
"I love dominating those races," laughed a care-free Ricky Stenhouse Jr., after doing just that in the Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway on Sunday afternoon. "Man, this one was fun."

At the start, polesitter Elliott Sadler had got a little unstable at the start and it was Sam Hornish Jr. who slipped past to install himself into the lead while Sadler was left to try to fend off the attentions of Stenhouse for second.

Both of them got ambushed in a three-wide move by Justin Allgaier, and it wasn't until lap 18 that Allgaier was disposed of and Stenhouse managed to squeeze past the outside of Sadler to lay a firm claim on second.

Some lapped traffic aided Stenhouse to catch the leader, and on lap 31 Stenhouse dived down the inside of Hornish into turn 2 to take the lead, promptly showing just how fast his race car was by pulling out several car lengths on the Dodge. Sadler had fallen off the chase for the lead, not thrilled by the handling of his car after being caught out by some overnight changes to the set-up.

The race ran caution-free until lap 73, although there was a near-miss well before that when Morgan Shepherd slowed on the race track and had to navigate his way back to pit lane without tripping anyone up. The green flag running was a boon to Kurt Busch who climbed into the top ten, having started from the back of the field as he hadn't been in Iowa for qualifying as he had been racing in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.

The yellow when it came was for a blown right front tyre for Jeff Green, sending him into a hard hit with the wall in turn 1. There would be similar race-ending tyre issues to come for Danica Patrick (into the wall in turns 3 and 4 on lap 115) and Taylor Malsam (the same fate on lap 180). There was also a final caution of the day on lap 202 for Travis Pastrana's car crawling to a halt with an electrical problem, on the second series start for the X-Games star.

With the exception of the occasional lap during pit stops or at restarts, Stenhouse remained in charge: when he did drop out of the lead he so quickly blasted his way back in front that he looked like a cat playing with a crowd of mice. Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier did what they could to keep the leader honest, and Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch joined them in the chasing pack, while Michael McDowell never seemed to be far away from the fray. However, early leader Sam Hornish lost pace and dropped back after the first round of pit stops and then had an unscheduled and slow pit stop on lap 170 that dropped him down the running order.

Having charged all the way from the rear of the field to lead at the restart on lap 188, Kurt Busch appeared to be the only realistic threat to Stenhouse with the pace and the sheer will to try wresting the lead away from the youngster. But Busch blew this best chance of the race by getting loose into turn 2 two laps later, not only losing touch with Stenhouse again but also dropping behind Sadler again and tangled in a three-way fight with Allgaier and Dillon for third.

With the lead not in doubt, it was all about the best of the rest - and Sadler was up to the task as the chequered flag came out. Stealthy Michael McDowell challenged Kurt Busch for the third place on the final lap and Busch ended up in a lengthy sideways slide that he was lucky to save in order to cross the line in fifth place, now behind not just McDowell but also the hard-charging Dillon.




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Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, hits the wall during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. takes the chequered flag in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his fourteenth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Truex, Jr. is joined with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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