Fort Worth, Tex. (Nov. 5, 2012) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used a stout fourth-place finish to reclaim the NASCAR Nationwide Series points lead in Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. With only two races remaining in the 2012 season, Stenhouse now holds the advantage as he makes his bid to repeat as NNS Champion.
Stenhouse was resilient in the effort, overcoming an ill-handling car, before rallying for his 18th top-five finish of the season.
“It was okay to start and then it went really bad,” said Stenhouse. “The guys did a great job steadily working on our No. 6 NOS Energy Drink Ford. We couldn’t have great pit stops because they had to do so many adjustments. We were a little better at the end and restarted 11th with 41 to go or whatever it was and we got up into the top-five and it drove a little better but not quite as good as we wanted it to or needed it to. All in all it was a great night for us. “
With two races remaining, Stenhouse currently leads the NNS point standings; tied with Sadler atop the leader board, but holding the advantage due to his series-high six wins.
“It doesn’t really matter now,” Stenhouse said about points lead. “We have to be leading after Homestead. That is still our goal and still what we have our eye on. We have gained some points the last two weeks which is good and you saw last year that if you tie it goes to the most wins and I think we have that covered right now so we will keep plugging away.”
The 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Champion was lined up in the fourth-position when the final green flag waved on lap 181. Stenhouse marched up to the third position before being passed in the closing laps by the No. 22 machine with fresher tires.
The Olive Branch, Mississippi native started in the fifth-position and battled a loose condition early in the race. As the race progressed, the No. 6 NOS Energy Drink Ford was extremely loose causing Stenhouse to fall out of the top-10 on the mile-and-half high-banked track.
Stenhouse and the No. 6 team return to action on Saturday, November 10 at Phoenix International Raceway for the Great Clips 200. Coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on ESPN. The race can also be heard on MRN and SIRIUS radio channel 90.