Nationwide Series - Close Points Battle Simmers During Open Week As Stenhouse Still On Top
Daytona, Spet. 21, 2011: As the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads into a late season open week, the closest points battle in five years continues to simmer.
For the eighth consecutive week, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been atop the series standings, but though he notched another top-10 finish at Chicago, his points lead shrank by two points. He now holds a 14-point advantage over second-place Elliott Sadler. Stenhouse is riding the longest stretch of time this season that a points leader has held the coveted top spot. This season Stenhouse has posted two wins (an Iowa sweep), 12 top fives, 20 top 10s and three Coors Light poles.
Stenhouse’s late-season dominance is backed up by his season-to-date Loop Data stats. He leads all championship contenders in five major Loop categories: Driver Rating (107.1), Average Running Position (8.296), Laps in the Top 15 (4,790 laps), Fastest Lap Run (526) and Laps Led (424 laps).
With Sadler sitting 14 points out of the lead, and third-place Reed Sorenson, 47 points behind Stenhouse, the tandem only have a six-pack of races left to catch Stenhouse. Next on the docket is Dover, which may prove to be where the two drivers can make their run. Sadler has made seven series starts at Dover posting three top 10s and has a pre-race Driver Rating of 83.3. He finished sixth there in May. In 10 series races at Dover, Sorenson’s average finish is 7.2. He has never finished below seventh in a Dover fall race and was fourth in this event last year. He finished third in May and he also leads the top three contenders in pre-race Driver Rating at Dover with a 100.9.
Stenhouse has three starts at Dover posting his best start (second) and finish (fourth) earlier this season at the one-mile speedway. Stenhouse pre-race Driver Rating is 91.4.