The Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Saturday wasn’t perfect for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team, but it ended perfectly nonetheless. Stenhouse claimed the race win, the first for car owner Jack Roush in any NASCAR Series at Chicagoland, and took the points lead from Elliott Sadler, who finished the race in the eighth spot.
“I was never giving up,” Stenhouse said in victory lane.
After running near the front but not up front for most of the race, Stenhouse headed down pit road during a caution that came out on lap 126 of the 200-lap race. First, the crew went the wrong way on a track bar adjustment, and then Stenhouse stalled the car while attempting to pull out of his pit stall. As a result, he restarted the race in the 11th position.
“We made a bigger adjustment on the other side of it,” crew chief Mike Kelley gave as the reason the wrong adjustment didn’t hinder Stenhouse’s on-track performance late in the race.
Joey Logano led the first 59 laps of the race after starting from the pole, but he lost two positions on the track when both Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon got by him on lap 60 to claim first and second.
Busch and Dillon then traded the lead a few times before Dillon took over the top spot for a few laps, beginning on lap 71. Logano got one of his spots back when he passed Busch for second on lap 87.
A few laps later, Logano gave up second to head down pit road and begin a cycle of green-flag pit stops. After the cycle was complete, Dillon was back up front, with Logano. 3.3 seconds back in second.
Running faster lap times than Dillon, Logano began reeling Dillon in. The complete cushion Dillon had was completely erased by a yellow flag on lap 126. While Stenhouse was shuffled back to 11th for the restart after his pit road troubles, Logano got out of the pits first to restart with the lead.
Logano lost that lead a few laps later to Busch. After Busch got by him for the top spot, Logano continued to lose positions, eventually falling back to ninth, the position in which he finished.
While Logano was dropping back, Stenhouse was working his way toward the front. He got by Busch for the lead with 20 laps to go and didn’t look back, pulling away from Busch the rest of the way.
“We had an okay car,” Stenhouse said. “It just took a long time to get going.”
Busch finished second after leading 50 laps.
“That No. 6 car came from out of nowhere,” Busch said after the race.
Dillon was third, Brad Keselowski fourth and Paul Menard finished fifth.
As a result of his eighth-place finish, Sadler left Chicagoland nine points behind new points leader Stenhouse.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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