Stenhouse scores 1st career Cup victory with last-lap pass

Posted May 15, 2017

It's Stenhouse's first-ever pole at Talladega and just his second Monster Energy Series one in his career.

That was finally proven on Sunday in Talladega as Stenhouse drove past Kyle Busch in the final lap, held off pushes from Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray and Busch to pull off his first victory at NASCAR's top level. I hated it, because we were right there in good position to get a great finish-if not win the race-and I had to bail out. This year, every race, we're getting better and better.

"When I won at Kentucky (an ARCA race in 2008), he climbed the fence, and I climbed the other side and met him at the top", Stenhouse said.

"We only had one nut tight when we come down pit road". Qualifying on the pole, got the win. But anytime we got a bit close to the front, those guys around me were just a little stronger to do things to put us in some bad spots and drop us back to the back.

"Pulling into victory lane and seeing Jack (Roush) and Danica standing there together - they're the same height - it was super-special", Stenhouse said.

Stenhouse, of Olive Branch, was honored in March with a resolution from MS legislators. "Man, this is cool".

NOTES: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s pole for the Geico 500 was his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole, but his first since his rookie season of 2013. Busch, in third place, trailed McMurray at the stripe by a mere.004 seconds.

According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano are all co-favored to win this race.

The race restarted with 15 laps remaining and Busch as the leader.

"He just apologized. I don't know that it was really his fault per se", Elliott said of Allmendinger. We did all we could here today. A caution kept him on the lead lap but Earnhardt couldn't make much headway at the end. Danica Patrick, who had wrecked out of the race, was in street clothes and able to lean into the vehicle to give her boyfriend a congratulatory kiss. Suarez and Kenseth, though, didn't get to the pit commitment line by the time Keselowski crossed the start/finish line and pit road closed. He finished 22nd in his final spring race at NASCAR's largest oval track.

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Kasey Kahne moved up to fifth by the finish and Kurt Busch was sixth. Regardless of their results this year, Gibbs drivers were contenders at Talladega, and look to return to form at Kansas.

Now Stenhouse is a Monster Energy Cup Series victor, and it was his famous girlfriend who was there to greet him Sunday when he pulled into victory lane at Talladega Superspeedway.

Moore led the Gamecocks in tackles his first three seasons before sitting out previous year following neck fusion surgery.

Time of Race: 03 Hrs, 29 Mins, 16 Secs.

Margin of Victory: 0.095 seconds.

But no one had enough to catch leader Busch as the field was setting itself up for a frantic dash to the finish.

For the closing laps, Kyle Busch was in command of the race. Larson won the Auto Club 400 in Fontana.

But the problem was that when Stenhouse Jr. took the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway, his dad was watching from an RV by the back straightaway of the 2.66-mile track, and, apparently, had his golf cart stolen Saturday night so he needed a fast way to get to his son.

And whenever Stenhouse and the No. 17 team make their next trip to victory lane, something that seems increasingly likely given the team's improved performance, Stenhouse's father will be a little more familiar with the route.