Stenhouse overcomes pit troubles for Chicagoland win
The Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Saturday wasn't perfect for Ricky Stenhouse and his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford crew. But that didn't matter. After Stenhouse and the pit crew both stumbled on a pit stop under caution just before lap 130 of the 200-lap race, with the crew going in the wrong direction on a track bar adjustment and Stenhouse stalling the car, the No. 6 made its way back toward the front in the closing laps to claim the win.
"I was never giving up," Stenhouse said in victory lane.
Kyle Busch finished second in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, and Austin Dillon was third in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
Busch, after a race in which he led 50 laps, said that during his time up front, he didn't think there was another car in the field that could run with him.
"We had a really good car," Busch said. "That No. 6 car came from out of nowhere."
Joey Logano started his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on the pole and dominated the race early until both Busch and Dillon got by him to claim the first two spots in the running order on lap 60.
Busch and Dillon traded the lead back and forth for several laps before Dillon took over the top spot for several laps, beginning on lap 71. A few laps later, Logano moved back into the second spot, but Dillon was pulling away.
"We had a really good car all day, but fought trash on the grill," Dillon said.
On lap 94, Logano gave up the second spot to begin a green-flag cycle of stops. The cycle completed with Dillon back up front and Logano in second, 3.3 seconds back.
Logano began cutting into Dillon's lead, a margin that was erased completely by a yellow flag on lap 126. Logano beat Dillon off pit road during the yellow flag to restart first. Stenhouse restarted just outside the top-10 in 11th after hiccups on pit road.
"We made a bigger adjustment on the other side of it," Stenhouse's crew chief Mike Kelley explained as the reason for the wrong adjustment not hurting performance.
Soon after the restart, Logano lost the lead to Busch and then second to Dillon. Logano continued to lose positions, running as far back as ninth with 40 laps to go in the race.
Another caution came out with 35 laps to go. After all lead lap cars headed down pit road, Elliott Sadler got his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet off pit road first to restart in the top spot. Busch restarted second.
Sadler dropped several positions when the race went back to green, as Busch took control up front. Stenhouse worked his way back toward the front and with 20 laps to go, assumed the lead and began to pull away.
"We had an okay car," Stenhouse said. "It just took a long time to get going."
Brad Keselowski finished fourth in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge, and Paul Menard rounded out the top-five in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
Sadler, who held a one-point lead over Stenhouse in the series points standings prior to the start of the race, dropped to second in points with a nine-point deficit to new leader Stenhouse.
Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent