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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)
Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
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)
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)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, talks to Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via 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)

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