Defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s No. 6 Ford took a big early lead – leading 45 of the first 48 laps – fell back but then fought back and won running away with the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
The victory was Stenhouse's second on the Nationwide Series circuit this season, tying series-points leader Elliott Sadler for most wins this season after six races.
Stenhouse cut Sadler's points lead to four by virtue of the victory, coupled with Sadler's 12th place finish.
After surging to an early lead, Stenhouse found himself in sixth after the race's first restart.
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He struggled to find his footing and didn't retake the lead until Lap 180.
“We were very strong [early],” said Stenhouse, who started third. “Then we lost track position on the restart, and it seemed like we really struggled. [Crew chief] Mike Kelly and the guys made the right changes.”
The most important change might have been the one they didn't make on the last pit stop, when Kelly decided against any changes.
Stenhouse said that was a decision he “wasn't fond of.”
“But, he knows what he's doing,” Stenhouse said with a smile.
O'Reilly Auto Parts 300
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 68 laps led
Paul Menard, 100 laps led
Kasey Kahne, 1 lap led
Denny Hamlin, 12 laps led
Austin Dillon, 13 laps led
David Ragan, 2 laps led
Sam Hornish Jr.
Elliott Sadler, 4 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Robert Richardson Jr.