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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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, takes the green flag waved by Evander Holyfield to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (L), driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, talks to Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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