Sten­house scores first ca­reer Cup vic­tory with last lap pass

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Ricky Sten­house Jr. used a strong Ford en­gine to blow past Kyle Busch in over­time at Tal­ladega Su­per­speed­way on Sun­day for his first NASCAR Cup vic­tory.

It was the first vic­tory for Roush Fen­way Racing since Carl Ed­wards at Sonoma in 2014. Sten­house, who has led a resur­gent Roush team, won in his 158th Cup start.

He was greeted in vic­tory lane first by car owner Jack Roush, then girl­friend Dan­ica Pa­trick, who was in street clothes be­cause she wrecked out of the race ear­lier.

“We’ve been ter­ri­ble for a long time, but we’ve been get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter every race,” said Sten­house, who took time to note he “parked it” in vic­tory lane for his late friend, Bryan Clau­son.

“It’s good to have Jack Roush back in vic­tory lane. It’s been a long time since I’ve pulled into a vic­tory lane. I had to ask Brad Ke­selowski how to start a race from the pole be­cause it’s been so long.”

Sten­house did start from the pole and praised the power from his Doug Yates-built en­gine for the speed. Then he used that speed to snatch the race away with a last-lap pass of Busch.

The first two stages of the race were calm, and it was the fi­nal stretch to the check­ered flag that got heated.

The race was stopped for nearly 27 min­utes be­cause of an ac­ci­dent that saw AJ All­mendinger’s car flipped on its roof with 19 laps re­main­ing.

The dam­age was just as bad for Chase El­liott, who got turned by All­mendinger into the wall. El­liott was then hit by Joey Logano, and that con­tact

caused El­liott’s car to lift onto Logano’s hood.

Much of the de­lay in racing was so work­ers could turn All­mendinger’s car back on to its wheels so All­mendinger could exit.

NASCAR listed 18 cars as sus­tain­ing dam­age in the ac­ci­dent.

When the red flag was lifted,

many of those cars darted to pit road for fran­tic re­pairs under NASCAR’s new five-minute rule. If a team can’t fix its dam­age on pit road in five min­utes, the car is ruled out of the race.

The race restarted with 15 laps re­main­ing and Busch as the leader. Any shot Dale Earn­hardt Jr. had at win­ning evap­o­rated mo­ments later when he

was forced to pit with a loose wheel.

There was a cau­tion called with 10 laps re­main­ing be­cause Lan­don Cas­sill couldn’t get his dis­abled car off the track, and that al­lowed Earn­hardt to get back on the lead lap. He was 23rd with seven laps to go when the race re­sumed.

But no one had enough to catch leader Busch as the field was set­ting it­self up for a fran­tic dash to the fin­ish. Then Ryan New­man spun with three laps re­main­ing to send the race into over­time.

Busch was listed as the leader, fol­lowed by Sten­house, Jim­mie John­son, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMur­ray. Sten­house got a push from McMur­ray around Busch and made it stick for the win.

McMur­ray fin­ished sec­ond in a Chevro­let and was fol­lowed by Busch in a Toy­ota, then Aric Almirola, an­other Ford driver and win­ner of the Xfin­ity Se­ries race Satur­day.

STAGE 1 WIN­NER: Ke­selowski won the first stage in what seemed to be a Ford rout. He beat fel­low Ford driver Sten­house to win the seg­ment.

Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Paul Me­nard, Pa­trick, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones rounded out the top 10.

Sten­house started from the pole and led 13 laps — the first time he’d led laps all sea­son.

STAGE 2 WIN­NER: Denny Ham­lin gave Toy­ota its first taste of the front of the field as he won the sec­ond stage. It was Ham­lin’s first stage win of the sea­son.

He was fol­lowed by Kevin Har­vick, Blaney, Truex, John­son, Kyle Lar­son, Kurt Busch, Kahne, Jones and McMur­ray.

UP NEXT:

A Satur­day night stop at Kansas Speed­way. Kyle Busch earned the vic­tory last year — his third of the sea­son — dur­ing a streak in which Joe Gibbs Racing won eight of the first 13 races of the sea­son. Through 10 races this year, only Truex of sis­ter team Fur­ni­ture Row Racing has a vic­tory in the Gibbs’ col­umn. Truex won at Las Ve­gas in March.

AP PHOTO/BUTCH DILL

Ricky Sten­house Jr. (17) cel­e­brates af­ter win­ning the Camp­ing World 500 auto race at Tal­ladega Su­per­speed­way, Sun­day, in Tal­ladega, Ala.

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