Stenhouse Jr Caps off Comeback with Win at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Ricky Stenhouse rallied from two laps down to win Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway and tighten the battle for the series championship.During a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race six laps beyond its scheduled distance of 200 laps, Stenhouse surged to the front in the final turn after Kyle Busch ran out of fuel.

Austin Dillon ran second, .288 seconds behind Stenhouse. Pole-sitter Joey Logano finished third, followed by Elliott Sadler and Cole Whitt, respectively.

In winning for the sixth time this season and the eighth time in his career, Stenhouse cut Sadler’s series lead from 13 points to six with three races left in the season.

To get to Victory Lane, Stenhouse had to survive a collision with Logano’s No. 18 Toyota — an incident team owner Jack Roush said was Stenhouse’s fault — just past the halfway point (watch).

“The guys did an awesome job getting the car back together, and we never gave up,” Stenhouse said. “Mike [Kelley, crew chief] made great calls and adjustments to fix how the car drove with the damage, and it was still one of the fastest cars out there.

“I didn’t see the win coming like this, but we will take it.”

Saturday’s event was the first NASCAR race on a track that was newly repaved and reconfigured with graduated banking, and there were some growing pains. The race produced a record 12 cautions for a total of 50 laps.

The championship battle took an ominous turn for Stenhouse, the defending series champion, just after the midpoint of the race. Stenhouse and Logano collided off Turn 2, damaging both cars, but both were able to continue.

Stenhouse was following Logano closely just before the contact.

“We had a lot of debris on the grille, and we were 300 [degrees] on water and oil, and I thought we would have to pit to come get that off before we blew up,” Stenhouse said. “I was trying to get behind him to get the debris off and he checked up at the last second and I turned and just drove right into the side of him. There wasn’t much he could do about it, and I thought it ruined our day, but we were able to bounce back from it.”

Stenhouse lost two laps during a green-flag pit stop but got them back on a wave-around before a Lap 142 restart and a free pass as the highest-scored lapped car under the 10th caution of the afternoon.

Back on the lead lap for a restart on Lap 167, Stenhouse had charged to 13th by the time Mike Bliss’ slide through the tri-oval caused the track-record-tying 11th caution. Stenhouse was two spots behind Sadler in fifth when first-time Nationwide starter Hal Martin and Scott Lagasse Jr. wrecked off Turn 2 on Lap 198.

Fearing they would run out of fuel in overtime, Sadler and Dillon both pitted for a splash of fuel under the 12th caution. Stenhouse restarted fourth and took the checkered flag when Busch ran out of fuel on the final lap.

So ended another disappointing day for Busch, still trying to win for the first time behind the wheel of the No. 54 Toyota he owns.

“That’s our year, man — nothing else to it than that,” said Busch, who rolled across the finish line in sixth place. “What a frustrating defeat.”

The race marked the first appearance for a Pakastani driver in a NASCAR event. Nur Ali finished 33rd in his NASCAR debut after slamming the Turn 3 wall on Lap 69.

Derek White, who wrecked in Turn 4 on Lap 138 to cause the ninth yellow, was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Danica Patrick (10th) posted her third top-10 finish of the season, but she’ll remember this race for a spectacular three-wide pass of Sadler and Ryan Blaney for the sixth spot on Lap 171.

With Dillon’s second-place finish, Chevrolet clinched the manufacturers’ championship for the 15th time in series history.

Via the NASCAR Wire Service

Results via Nascar.com

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 10 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Cargill / Sam’s Club 47/4 206 Running
2 2 3 Austin Dillon * Chevrolet AdvoCare 43/1 206 Running
3 1 18 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop / Need For Speed Most Wanted 0 206 Running
4 7 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 40/0 206 Running
5 8 88 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet Clean Coal 39/0 206 Running
6 6 54 Kyle Busch Toyota Monster Energy 0 206 Running
7 21 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 38/1 206 Running
8 14 43 Michael Annett Ford EFS 36/0 206 Running
9 12 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 35/0 206 Running
10 13 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet Tissot / GoDaddy.com 34/0 206 Running
11 27 22 Ryan Blaney Dodge Discount Tire 0 206 Running
12 22 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 32/0 206 Running
13 23 19 Mike Bliss Toyota Bandit Chippers / Crowne Plaza 31/0 206 Running
14 37 4 Danny Efland Chevrolet Tradebank 30/0 206 Running
15 15 14 Eric McClure Toyota Hefty / Reynolds Wrap / Crowne Plaza 29/0 205 Running
16 5 33 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Rheem 0 204 Fuel
17 39 40 Erik Darnell Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 27/0 204 Running
18 4 199 Kenny Wallace Toyota American Ethanol 26/0 203 Fuel
19 32 52 Joey Gase * Chevrolet http://www.BBB.org 25/0 202 Running
20 24 81 Jason Bowles * Toyota SupportMilitary.org 24/0 201 Running
21 29 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet HelpJD01.com 23/0 200 Running
22 33 113 Jennifer Jo Cobb Chevrolet Mark One Electric 0 200 Running
23 26 38 Brad Sweet * Chevrolet Great Clips 21/0 199 Engine
24 19 8 Scott Lagasse Jr. Chevrolet HybridLight / BSA 20/0 197 Accident
25 16 44 Hal Martin Toyota American Custom Yachts / Crowne Plaza 19/0 182 Accident
26 3 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 18/0 177 Running
27 42 39 Dexter Stacey Ford Maddies Place 17/0 165 Running
28 17 30 James Buescher Chevrolet Great Clips 0 155 Engine
29 40 124 Derek White Toyota OCR Gaz Bar 15/0 130 Accident
30 31 28 Tony Raines Chevrolet Jay Robinson Inc. 0 123 Vibration
31 9 70 Johanna Long * Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 13/0 109 Accident
32 43 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Hyland’s Leg Cramps 12/0 75 Rear Gear
33 41 41 Nur Ali Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 11/0 68 Accident
34 30 108 Scott Saunders Ford Broo Premium Australian Beer 10/0 31 Accident
35 11 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet St. Jude / USS James E. Williams DDG 95 9/0 24 Water Pump
36 25 100 Blake Koch Toyota Ruch Motorsports 8/0 24 Ignition
37 36 175 Carl Long Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 7/0 23 Overheating
38 34 171 Timmy Hill Ford Rick Ware Racing 6/0 14 Engine
39 35 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 5/0 14 Clutch
40 28 47 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 9 Vibration
41 38 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Koma Unwind 3/0 8 Rear Gear
42 18 10 Jeff Green Toyota TriStar Motorsports / Crowne Plaza 2/0 4 Vibration
43 20 46 Chase Miller Chevrolet The Motorsports Group 1/0 4 Ignition

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