Regan Smith's team won the race off of pit road on the final pit stop and beat runner-up Kyle Busch by over a half a second as Smith won his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday. For Smith it was a statement of what is to come for the 2013 season.
"We had a strong racecar," Smith said in victory lane. "I'm excited for next year we're gonna go compete for a championship in 2013," Smith finished.
Smith beat Kyle Busch, who led the most laps but had an ill-handling car that dropped him back in the pack giving up valuable track position that he could never make up. Finishing third was Brendan Gaughan, running for Richard Childress, fourth was Sam Hornish Jr, finishing fifth was Austin Dillon, who finished third in the points standings.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr finished sixth and won the championship for the second straight season. Stenhouse is only the sixth driver in history to win back to back NASCAR Nationwide Series championships. Stenhouse gave all the credit to his team for the accomplishment.
"It's really neat. These guys behind me really did it. It's really cool for me," Stenhouse said. When asked about any concerns throughout the night Stenhouse Jr answered. "I wasn't concerned at all, we made an adjustment, but we adjusted a little too tight at the end. We're leaving Trevor (Bayne) in great hands. Can't ask for a better group of guys."
Brian Scott finished seventh, Ryan Blaney finished eighth, ninth was Elliott Sadler. Sadler finished second in the point standings 23 points behind Stenhouse for the championship. Sadler will leave his current team, Richard Childress Racing, for another ride in 2013. Sadler finished runner-up to Stenhouse in 2011, but said this year was much more disappointing.
"Way more disappointing this year," said Sadler. "We controlled the points all year and a few races put us behind, but it was the most fun I have ever had and I've gained a lot of friendships. We did the best we could," Sadler finished.
Rounding out the top ten was Cole Whitt. Other notables included Danica Patrick in 13th, Kenny Wallace finished 15th, Joey Logano finished 16th. Logano's #18 Toyota team won the owner's championship.
The race had five cautions, one because of a crash by Ryan Truex on lap 66. On lap 73 Robert Richardson Jr caused the race's second caution when he spun on the front stretch. Richardson spun again on lap 95 spinning off turn four and causing the races' third caution. The fourth caution was a debris caution on lap 173. On lap 181 Johanna Long crashed hard on the backstretch after contact with Joey Logano, causing the races' fifth and final caution. Long finished 34th, Richardson finished 33rd and Truex finished 37th.
Stenhouse won the championship by 23 points over Elliott Sadler. Finishing third 24 points back was Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr finished fourth 105 points back in the standings and Michael Annett finished fifth 169 points behind.Tags: Brendan Gaughan, Elliott Sadler, Ford EcoBoost 300, Kyle Busch, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Nationwide Series, ricky stenhouse jr