Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing has championship night in Homestead

Team co-owner Jack Roush (left) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. pose with the championship trophy after winning the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship in the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service


HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Polesitter Brad Keselowski may have won Saturday's Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but Roush Fenway Racing had a better night, winning two Nationwide Series championships in one race.

Keselowski held off a furious charge from series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the final lap to secure his fifth victory of the season and the 17th of his career.

Third-place finisher Carl Edwards clinched the owners championship for Roush Fenway, leading the most laps and finishing two positions ahead of Denny Hamlin's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, which entered the race with a one-point lead.

"What an effort, champion," spotter Mike Calinoff radioed to Stenhouse after Keselowski blocked a last-ditch attempt at a pass.

Keselowski, the 2010 Nationwide champion and current Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifier, wasn't allowed to defend his title under a NASCAR rule-new this year-that prevents a driver from competing for a championship in more than one series.

"You couldn't ask for a better way to end the season," Keselowski said. "Not being able to win the championship, it's good to be able to finish on a high note, winning the pole and the race at Homestead. It's a great exclamation point to the season for the whole team."

Long before Keselowski crossed the finish line, however, Stenhouse, 24, clinched the Nationwide Series championship. When the number of cars retired from the race reached six on Lap 28 of 200, Stenhouse was guaranteed the 37th-place finish he needed to lock up the title.

As it turned out, he ran much better than that.

"That was all I had," Stenhouse said of the final lap. "I was really hoping for one more lap there, but Brad did a good job. I got a little loose there coming off (Turn) 4, or I thought we could have got him. But the (No. 6) Mustang did its job at Ford championship weekend.

"This is a dream come true."

The title in hand, Stenhouse stepped up his effort as the race unfolded. After the sixth caution, for Steve Wallace's spin in Turn 1, Stenhouse passed fourth-place finisher Clint Bowyer for the lead on Lap 155 and began to pull away. But teammate Trevor Bayne scraped the wall and cut his right rear tire to put the field under yellow again on Lap 174.

Pit stops under caution shuffled the field, and a problem with lug nuts on the right rear tire dropped Edwards back to sixth. Moments after a restart on Lap 180, however, Edwards rocketed into second place and went on to secure the owners' championship for the No. 60 Ford.

Keselowski grabbed the lead on that same restart and stayed out front until Reed Sorenson's spin in Turn 2 slowed the field for the eighth time.

Edwards passed Keselowski for the top spot on a Lap 187 restart, but the race didn't stay green for long. Separate incidents on Lap 188 involving Danica Patrick and Kenny Wallace brought out the ninth caution, and Edwards led the field back to green on Lap 194, before Keselowski made the winning pass shortly after the restart.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join NNS Racing

You must be a member of NNS Racing to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at NNS Racing. You should read them.

Join NNS Racing

You must be a member of NNS Racing to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at NNS Racing. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.