Avondale, Ari. (Nov. 10, 2012) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. extended his NASCAR Nationwide Series points lead with a strong third-place finish in Saturday’s Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. With only one race remaining in the 2012 season, Stenhouse now holds a 20 marker advantage over second-place Elliot Sadler as he contends to be the first repeat NNS Champion since 2005.
“That was a great day for us”, said Stenhouse. “We contended, but I can’t seem to finish better than third here. All the guys on the Valvoline NextGen Ford Mustang worked really, really hard. Mike (Kelley) made great calls on top of the pit-box. I thought we were going to have a shot there at the end with the white flag coming out and the No. 18 and 20 were racing side-by-side. We had a great day but we still have some work to do in Homestead.”
The 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Champion has a 20 point lead over second place Elliott Sadler heading into the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track where he has two top-five finishes in two starts.
“The 20-point lead makes us feel good but we’ve given up 20 points in one race so it’s not over till it’s over. We still have some work to do at Homestead, but it feels pretty good.”
The 2010 Nationwide Rookie of the Year lined up in the third-position for the final green-white-checkered finish and was reeling in the leaders as the two jockeyed for position but ran out of time and took the checkered flag in the third-position; earning his sixth top-ten finish at PIR in six starts.
The Olive Branch, Miss. native started the race in the eighth position and quickly maneuvered his way up into the top-five by lap 60. The No. 6 Valvoline NextGen Ford was a loose for a majority of the 200-lap race but the No. 6 team was able to tightening up the machine to Stenhouse’s liking.
Stenhouse and the No. 6 team return to action on Saturday, November 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford Ecoboost 300. Coverage will begin at 4:00 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2. The race can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.