Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ricky Stenhouse clinches second straight NASCAR Nationwide series title

HOMESTEAD — With about 10 laps to go in Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300, Ricky Stenhouse's car rubbed with Austin Dillon's, forcing Stenhouse to fight for control.

"Do not race him," Stenhouse spotter Mike Calinoff warned over the radio. "Do not race him. You don't need that."

Good advice since all Stenhouse needed was a 16th-place finish to clinch his second straight Nationwide series championship.

So Stenhouse, fighting the urge to compete, backed off and, more or less, cruised to finish sixth at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the 25-year-old's second title in his three seasons, 23 points ahead of Elliott Sadler.

"It is unbelievable; just a lot of hard work by a lot of great people," Stenhouse said. "I'm just blessed to be part of it."

The championship overshadowed a pretty nice story as Sprint Cup regular Regan Smith, in his 103rd Nationwide start and first since 2007, earned his first series win, besting Kyle Busch.

"That was one strong race car," said Smith, who won for JR Motorsports, the team for which he will drive next season. "Hopefully that was part of a statement. I can't wait for next year. It kind of (stinks) we have to wait two months. I'd like to get things started."

For Stenhouse, it was a fitting end to his Nationwide career as he moves next season to owner Jack Roush's Sprint Cup operation.

There were some nervous moments. Like a stubborn child, Stenhouse at different times engaged Sadler and Brian Scott, even after the incident with Dillon.

That brought more reprimands from Calinoff. And that prompted Stenhouse, with six wins and a series-best 19 top-five finishes, to turn off his headset:

"I got tired of listening, so I keyed up the mike so he couldn't talk to me the rest of the race. I like racing hard like that. That's what I do."

Said Roush: "My concern was that he'd hit the wall while he was trying to hold the damn button down."

But crew chief Mike Kelley added: "That's just the racer in Ricky. He wants to win every race, and you can't ask more than that. But we were big-picture racing and just had to do what was right … not to lose sight on what we set as our goal at the end of last year."

FORMULA ONE: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel earned the pole position for today's U.S. Grand Prix on a new track in Austin, Texas, with a lap of 1 minute, 35.657 seconds. The German leads Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 10 points and can clinch his third consecutive world title today.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Ricky Stenhouse clinches second straight NASCAR Nationwide series title 11/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101