Stenhouse Jr. Drives to First Career Win at Iowa; Caps-Off Stellar Roush Fenway Weekend
Newton, Iowa - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. outran Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski to win the John Deere Dealers 250 Sunday afternoon at Iowa Speedway. The victory was the first for Stenhouse in 51 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and his eighth top-five.
Stenhouse wrestled the lead away from Edwards on lap 223 of the 250-lap event and never looked back, crossing the finish line .435 seconds - about six car lengths - ahead of his Roush Fenway Racing teammate.
“It feels good,” Stenhouse said. “This is where I got my first pole and to come back and get the first win is great. I’ve got to thank Jack Roush, Ford Racing, Blackwell Angus and all the guys on this crew. They stuck behind me.”
Stenhouse and Edwards swapped the lead seven times from lap 165 until regularly scheduled green flag pit stops interrupted their duel for the top spot on lap 208. As the event drew to a close, both Edwards and Keselowski were in hot pursuit of the No. 6 Blackwell Angus Ford Mustang.
“You know, it was good swapping the lead with him,” Stenhouse said of racing Edwards. “I just wasn’t sure if he was playing with us or not and we were able to hold him off at the end. They are some of the best in the business. They won a lot of races last year, they’ve both won championships. It’s so tough to win in this series. You’ve got to beat the best guys each and every week.
“We’re just going to keep plugging along each and every week like we have been. We’re consistent in the top-10. We need those consistent top-fives and contend for the wins when we can. We’re going for this Nationwide championship.”
Stenhouse became the first Nationwide series regular to win this season and the first since Justin Allgaier won at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March 2010.
“That’s cool,” Stenhouse said. “There are a lot of guys who are capable of winning: Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, and Reed Sorenson. There’s a bunch of guys who are tough in this series and not only the Cup regulars. Justin won last year and it’s cool that we won this year.”
Stenhouse was asked in victory lane about the noticeable beauty mark on the right side of his No. 6 Blackwell Angus Ford Mustang.
“I just didn’t want to lift and a few times I ran out of room up off of Turn 4,” Stenhouse said. “I think going into Turn 3 on the back straightaway I arched my entry too far and got into the wall. It’s just minor scrapes.”
It’s the best crowd we have all year...
Stenhouse led five times for 41 laps and won before a standing-room only crowd of 37,811. The race featured 17 lead changes among seven drivers and took 2 hours, 3 minutes and 40 seconds to complete. Five cautions slowed the pace for 28 laps.
“The crowd was awesome,” Stenhouse said. “It’s the best crowd we have all year and it’s cool they keep coming back and supporting Iowa Speedway. I raced in the Knoxville Nationals right down the road and to be here and win this is awesome.”
Stenhouse climbed to third-place in the series championship standings, eight points behind leader Sadler and just one behind second-place Sorenson. He leads fourth-place Allgaier by 12 and fifth-place Jason Leffler by 35 points.