Ricky Stenhouse takes Points lead as Busch continues to win: The Royal Purple 300 Review

Kyle Busch used a two-tire stop late in the race to "steal" the Royal Purple 300 win at Auto Club Speedway. Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR via nascar-assets.americaneagle.com

Let's get this out of the way first: Kyle Busch won the Royal Purple 300.    Busch has now won three of the first five Nationwide races this year.  This was also Joe Gibbs Racing's seventh straight win at Auto Club Speedway.  Busch has five of those wins, with Logano and Stewart having one each.  Most of those wins were done by dominating the race but Busch's win this past Saturday was a steal.  Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick were the class of the field before green flag pit stops gave Busch and Jason Ratcliff a chance to steal one.  Ratcliff called for two tires on the final stop, putting Busch out front by 4 seconds with just 18 laps to go.  Busch was able to hold on and win.

The other story from this past weekend is Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Stenhouse would have been a favorite to win if a late race caution was thrown.  Stenhouse blasted past his teammate Carl Edwards and led for ten laps before Edwards' car came to him.  It was obvious that Stenhouse was better on short runs, as he was the fastest car for the final 20 laps of the race. 

Oh and by the way ladies and gentlemen, your new points leader is 23 year old Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ricky has a worst finish of 14th in the first five races of this year, with four top 10s and Saturday's top 5.  Remember last year?  2010 was very unkind to the young Stenhouse.  He had a best finish of 25th in the first five races.  The other four were 30th, 31st, 36th (DNF) and a 39th place (DNF).  Ricky was 32nd in points.  What a difference a year can make.  Ricky is a front runner for comeback driver of the year. 

Results and More after the Jump!

Fin Str Car Driver Team Status
1 7 18 Kyle Busch(i) Z-Line Designs Toyota Running
2 1 60 Carl Edwards(i) Roush Fenway Racing Ford Running
3 2 33 Kevin Harvick(i) Rheem Pool and Spa Heaters Chevy Running
4 12 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford Running
5 34 2 Elliott Sadler Bad Boy Buggies Chevy Running
6 9 16 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford Running
7 4 20 Joey Logano(i) GameStop Toyota Running
8 8 32 Mark Martin(i) Dollar General Chevy Running
9 3 88 Aric Almirola Ragu/Food 4 Less Chevy Running
10 5 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Discount Tire Dodge Running
11 16 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Chevy Running
12 10 31 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevy Running
13 11 11 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Toyota Running
14 14 30 Reed Sorenson Rexall Chevy Running
15 17 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Toyota Running
16 6 7 Josh Wise TaxSlayer.com Chevy Running
17 19 99 Ryan Truex # Pastrana Waltrip Racing Toyota Running
18 20 62 Michael Annett Oakley Toyota Running
19 13 19 Mike Bliss DoubleTree Hotel Chevy Running
20 25 27 J R Fitzpatrick Schick/Energizer Ford Running
21 22 14 Eric McClure Hefty Black Out/Reynolds Chevy Running
22 18 87 Kevin Conway(i) Extenze Toyota Running
23 35 89 Morgan Shepherd Imperial Bedding Chevy Running
24 23 01 Mike Wallace G&K Services Chevy Running
25 21 39 Charles Lewandoski # SunRiseFord.com Ford Running
26 33 52 Tony Raines(i) Metro Ministries Chevy Running
27 15 66 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota Running
28 26 24 Kevin Lepage Living Waters Ford Running
29 41 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Wildlife Conservation Society Dodge Running
30 30 79 Tim Andrews 2nd Chance Motorsports Ford Engine
31 36 28 Derrike Cope Maxelence Chevy Running
32 32 15 Timmy Hill # Rick Ware Racing Toyota Running
33 29 81 Blake Koch # Soul Surfer the Movie Dodge Running
34 24 40 Scott Wimmer Key Motorsports Chevy Running
35 31 51 Jeremy Clements www.racedaysponsor.com Chevy Axle
36 42 70 Dennis Setzer(i) All American Sportspouch Dodge Transmission
37 27 44 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsports Chevy Vibration
38 40 41 Jennifer Jo Cobb # GreetingsExpress.com Ford Handling
39 43 97 Joe Nemechek AM FM Energy Chevy Brakes
40 28 03 Alex Kennedy St. Baldrick's Foundation Dodge Rear End
41 37 68 Carl Long Glidden Professional Chevy Steering
42 38 55 Brett Rowe Imperial Bedding Chevy Handling
43 39 74 Mike Harmon Riverwalk Cafe Chevy Vibration

We are starting to see more of the Nationwide Regulars running better.  I hope this trend continues.  Here's the battle for the Nationwide Series championship:

Rank # Driver Sponsor Make Owner Points
1 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Blackwell Angus Ford Roush Fenway Racing 181
2 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Chevy Turner Motorsports 175
3 31 Justin Allgaier BRANDT Chevy Turner Motorsports 156
4 88 Aric Almirola Suave/Ragu/TaxSlayer/Degree Chevy JR Motorsports 155
5 32 Reed Sorenson Dollar General Chevy Turner Motorsports 151
6 16 Trevor Bayne Ford Drive One Ford Roush Fenway Racing 150
7 2 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Chevy Kevin Harvick Inc. 149
8 09 Kenny Wallace Federated Auto Parts/UNOH Toyota RAB Racing 140
9 11 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing 138
10 19 Mike Bliss   Chevy TriStar Motorsports 125

Joe Gibbs Racing continues to blow away the Nationwide teams every week.  It's a two team race for Owner's Championship at this point.  Here's the battle:

Rank # Driver Sponsor Make Owner Points
1 18 Kyle Busch Z-Line Designs Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing 197
2 20 Joey Logano Gamestop Toyota Joe Gibbs Racing 185
3 33 Kevin Harvick Rheem/Menards Chevy Kevin Harvick Inc. 183
4 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Blackwell Angus Ford Roush Fenway Racing 181
5 30 Reed Sorenson Rexall Chevy Turner Motorsports 177
6 38 Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevy Turner Motorsports 177
7 60 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford Roush Fenway Racing 176
8 32 Mark Martin Dollar General Chevy Turner Motorsports 172
9 31 Justin Allgaier BRANDT Chevy Turner Motorsports 156
10 88 Aric Almirola Ragu Chevy JR Motorsports 155

Auto Club was the last race to use last years owner's points to set the field.  We now roll over to the 2011 top 30 in Owner's points.  In two weeks at Texas, this is how the battle is looking:

28 81 Blake Koch Eagle Convenience/RizeUp.com Dodge MacDonald Motorsport 81
29 01 Mike Wallace GK Services Chevy JD Motorsports 81
30 40 Scott Wimmer   Chevy Key Motorsports 80
31 70 Shelby Howard Foretravel Ford ML Motorsports 78
32 23 Robert Richardson Wildlife Foundation Dodge R3 Motorsports 76
33 52 Tony Raines TaxSlayer.com Chevy Jimmy Means Racing 67

Should be interesting to watch.  The Nationwide Boys have off next week, so join us in two weeks for the race at Texas!  Enjoy!

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