HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the sixth driver to win consecutive titles in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.
Stenhouse finished sixth Saturday in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Elliott Sadler for the title.
About the only drama in the race was whether Stenhouse would play it safe. He did, but not without several close calls. His Roush Fenway Racing team even had to remind him several times in the final 10 laps to avoid potential pitfalls.
Regan Smith won the 400-mile race.
Stenhouse became the first since Martin Truex Jr. in 2005 to win back-to-back titles in the second-tier series.
TRUCKS SERIES: The calculators at James Buescher’s pit stall weren’t computing fuel mileage late Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. They were crunching championship points.
Buescher finished 13th on Friday, good enough to clinch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title. He vowed to be more concerned with racing, but once the season-finale started it was all about keeping up with his championship challengers – Timothy Peters and Ty Dillon.
“We were keeping somewhat an eye on what was going on,” Buescher said. “The fact that they weren’t leading makes each position a spot, so you can kind of guess how many spots there are between you. You’re doing enough out there trying to hang on to your truck to do a head count on what position you’re running the whole time.”
Peters finished eighth but wound up six points short. Dillon crashed with two laps remaining in regulation and finished 25th.
Cale Gale won the race to become the 10th first-time winner this season.
SWAN SONGS: Today’s race will be the last for a couple drivers with their current teams, and the last for Dodge as a manufacturer in the sport.
Matt Kenseth will be making his final start in the No. 17 Ford at Roush Fenway Racing. He will move over to the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing next season.
Joey Logano will leave Gibbs and drive the No. 22 Ford at Penske Racing, while Stenhouse Jr. will get a promotion from the Nationwide Series to replace Kenseth.
“I’m hopeful however that we can go out and win at Homestead though,” Kenseth said. “The team really proved that they’re giving me all they’ve got this season regardless of my plans for the future.”
Kenseth started with Roush Fenway in 2000.
The biggest change, however, is the loss of Dodge. The car company announced in July it was leaving the sport after car owner Roger Penske decided to switch to Ford in 2013.