Stenhouse wins Nationwide title

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:47 PM ET

HOMESTEAD, FLA. - Brad Keselowski prevented NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from celebrating in Victory Lane by winning the Ford 300 in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge Saturday at Homestead Miami Speedway.

But Stenhouse, 24, celebrated on a bigger stage after winning the 2011 NNS championship on Lap 4 when the John Wise became the fifth car to drop out of the race.

Stenhouse and the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang had a 41-point lead over second place Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Incorporated Chevrolet, going into the race.

“I’ve run for one championship before in my life, so this is still all new to me,” Stenhouse said.

At the beginning of the season there was even speculation that Stenhouse was in danger of losing his job at RFR.

Keselowski, the defending Nationwide champion, was not eligible to repeat because he drives in the Sprint Cup series.

Stenhouse finished second, with teammate Carl Edwards third in the No. 60 Mustang.

Danica Patrick, driving in her final Nationwide race of 2011 before moving to the series full time in 2012 in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, had her worst finish of the year at 34th, 10 laps down to the leader.

The only Canadian driver in the race, Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., had a tire failure on Lap 91 and crashed the No. 67 Go Canada Racing Mustang into the wall at the entry to pit lane.


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