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Nationwide: Stunning comeback win for Stenhouse

Two laps down after a costly collision with Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. focused on limiting the damage to his championship hopes - and ended up winning the race instead.
Things seemed bleak for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. soon after the mid-point of Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 Nationwide Series race at Kansas Speedway, when a collision with Joey Logano sent him onto pit road for costly repairs that put him two laps off the lead.

With his main rival Elliott Sadler looking set for a top five finish, it looked like being a damaging outing for Stenhouse in terms of his hopes of retaining the Nationwide championship before moving up to Sprint Cup full time in 2013 with Roush Fenway replacing Matt Kenseth in the senior team.

There was nothing Stenhouse could do but to keep his cool, get his head down, and see if there was anything he could do to limit the damage. That perseverance netted first one wave-around and then a lucky dog pass to put him back onto the lead lap; then an opportunistic well-timed tyre-and-gas stop off the back of the latter gave him the chance to take advantage of others' fuel misfortune to pull off the ultimate in damage control - an outright race win.

"I didn't see the win coming like this but we will take it," said a delighted Stenhouse in victory lane. "It was in front of a great crowd. I can't say enough about the fans coming out and supporting us. It is a lot of fun to run in this series and especially to come to Kansas."

At the start of the race, Logano has easily converted pole position into an early lead, with his Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Brian Scott following him through and tucking into second place ahead of Austin Dillon, Paul Menard and Elliott Sadler. But it was to be a spin-prone race for Scott, who was responsible for three of the first five cautions, the first coming on lap 14 when the #11 got loose in turn 4 and went skidding through the infield grass.

That caution saw the field start to break up into an array of differing pit strategies for the afternoon, as Stenhouse and Danica Patrick took the opportunity to pit early. Most cars waited until the next caution that came on lap 31 when Australian Scott Saunders spun in turn 3 and put the rear of the #08 into the outside wall.

Stenhouse stayed out this time and duly took point for the restart ahead of Paul Menard, Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon and Danica Patrick, with Logano dropping back to ninth place for the restart; but Menard got the better start and took the lead for the first of what would prove to be 110 laps in the lead in the 200-lap race.

There was a stop-go feel to the following laps, as Scott went for his second spin on 41, and then on lap 49 it was Dexter Stacy loosing the rear end of his car and then backing into the wall to bring out the fourth caution. Just five laps of green flag running later and Scott had his third and final spin of the day on lap 58, this time doing enough damage to the #11 on the outside wall to send him to the garage area.

Stenhouse stayed out while others pitted to take the lead at the restart ahead of Kenny Wallace, Cole Whitt, Danica Patrick and Justin Allgaier. Further back, Scott Lagasse Jr. pulled off the save of the afternoon as he caught a vicious spin to the left out of turn 4, which nearly caught out Elliott Sadler and did result in Kyle Busch scraping the outside wall to avoid what had looked to be a seemingly inevitable accident.




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Scott Saunders, driver of the #08 Broo Premium Australian Beer Ford, spins out after an incident in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #33 Menards/Rheem Chevrolet, races Joey Logano, driver of the #18 GameStop/Need For Speed Most Wanted Toyota, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6 Cargill/Sam`s Club Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the yellow and chequered flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the The Harley J. Earl Trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Kellogg/Cheez-It Ford, races Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, and Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Ford EcoBoost Ford, and Landon Cassill, driver of the #01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, race three-wide during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, Carlos Contreras, driver of the #15 BurnieGrill/BubbaGrill/LillyTrucking Chevrolet, Landon Cassill, driver of the #01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, and Blake Koch, driver of the #8 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem/Gemaire Chevrolet, and Travis Kvapil, driver of the #94 Chargebacks 911 Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Hendrick Motorsports team mates (left) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet and (right) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Alex Bowman, driver of the #7 Toy State/Nikko Chevrolet, and Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #9 Twisted Tea Ford, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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