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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.




Related Pictures

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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)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS qualified for eleventh position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, prepares for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads thre field past the green flag to start during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, sits on the grid under an umbrella prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, races Casey Mears, driver of the #13 GEICO Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, races Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and Joe Nemechek, driver of the #66 Friedman Law Firm Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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