Top moments of 2012, #18: Stenhouse takes two titles under new rule

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. became the only NASCAR Nationwide driver to earn the championship under the new “declare a series rule” and he did it twice! We felt that he definitely deserved a spot in our top 20 moments.

When Brad Keselowski claimed the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship back in 2010, it ended an era of sorts. It marked the final time a driver competed for the title while also simultaneously racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. After several years of Cup drivers claiming the Nationwide title, NASCAR put its foot down and attempted to give their second tier an identity of its own with a rule that became dubbed the "declare a series rule."

Under the new rule, drivers have only been able to earn points in one of three NASCAR national series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck. In the two seasons since, one driver has flourished -- Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. While Keselowski went about his business of claiming the title in 2010, Stenhouse, then a rookie was bouncing back from early-season issues that saw him temporarily removed from the driver's seat after car owner Jack Roush watched the young driver wreck car after car.

NASCAR Nationwide Series champion driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush-Fenway Ford
NASCAR Nationwide Series champion driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush-Fenway Ford

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Stenhouse did recover to finish out the year as the series' top rookie, and he came back to claim his first championship in the same year of the "declare a series" era. He didn't stop there. He repeated in 2012 to take a back-to-back Nationwide championship.

It goes without saying that Stenhouse has been the only champion crowned since the implementation of the “declare a series rule”; however for 2013, his declaration of which series will be the Cup series with RFR in the No. 17 Ford that did belong to Matt Kenseth. With the new era of the Cup cars, and the Fusion, will he be able to continue his winning ways?

Next: moment #17 and Previous: moment #19

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About this article
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jack Roush , Eric Gilbert , Brad Keselowski , Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Teams Roush Fenway Racing
Article type Special feature
Tags cup, fenway, ford, fusion, nascar, nascar-ns, nationwide, ricky stenhouse, roush, top moment