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NASCAR At Texas: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Wins Nationwide Series Race, David Ragan 6th

Defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. grabbed his second win of the 2012 season and the fourth of his career Friday night, winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Stenhouse's Ford Mustang led a trio of Sprint Cup stars, Paul Menard and Kasey Kahne in Chevrolets and Denny Hamlin's Toyota, across the finish line. Austin Dillon finished fifth in another Chevrolet.

The remainder of the top-10 was comprised by Unadilla's David Ragan, piloting the Go Canada Motorsports Ford, Justin Allgaier, Danica Patrick, Michael Annett, and Steve Arpin.

Point leader Elliott Sadler finished 12th, while Sprint Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 14th. The miserable debut season for Kyle Busch Motorsports continued as Kurt Busch - in his KBM debut - suffered right front tire woes before finally grenading the engine in his Toyota with 20 laps remaining and setting up the late race shootout.

Stenhouse, a graduate of the USAC Midget ranks and a former protege of Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, joined the Nationwide Series full-time with Jack Roush's team in 2010. A bevy of accidents led him to be removed from the car for a handful of races, but he turned things around to claim the circuit's Rookie of the Year. Last season he was part of the hotly-contested battle for the championship before pulling away late in the season. His first win of the season came in the third race of the year at Las Vegas.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.