John Moore
March 14, 2012
Photos By: Elena Moore
Ricky Stenhouse Jr celebrates with his Ford EcoBoost team after his 2012 Sam's Town 300 win in Vegas.

Defending NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr picked up where he left off last season by winning the Sam's Town 300 at the famed Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stenhouse Jr wheeled the Ford EcoBoost sponsored Mustang out of the Roush Fenway Racing stables to the lead late in the going and never looked back as he crossed the finish line first in Sin City.

His Vegas win marks Stenhouse Jr's third win in the Nationwide Series. Ford is quite dominate at Las Vegas, as this win marks the thirteenth time a Ford has visited the winner's circle. Ford has won a NASCAR Sprint Cup or Nationwide race in 11 out of the last 16 years at LVMS. 2011 Daytona 500 Champion Trevor Bayne finished fourth in his No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang and Michael Annett took King Richard Petty's Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops No. 43 Ford Mustang home to a 13th place finish.

Even though Stenhouse Jr qualified 6th in the 43 car field, things were a little rocky for Ricky early in the race. Constant feedback between he and crew chief Mike Kelley played a big part as the No. 6 EcoBoost team worked on the Mustang. "If you would have listened to our radio, I'm sure Mike over here was tired of listening to me, but he kept taking notes of what I was saying and made it better," said Stenhouse Jr. "Mike made a good pit call right there at the end and got us freed up. The guys on pit road did an awesome job to get us out first and that really helped to win us that race." Ricky took the lead after the last yellow flag pit stop with 40 to go and went on to check out on the rest of the field for the win.

"I definitely think we had the car to beat. I feel like we could have started sixth and still won the race at the end. I found a line that I liked to run and the car was coming around to it," added Ricky. "Mike Kelley made some awesome pit calls there and I just think we had the car to beat."

With his win, Stenhouse Jr moved up to third place in NASCAR Nationwide Series points and RFR teammate Bayne is close behind in fourth. The next race will be at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

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