Inspiring Athletes

Inspiring Athletes

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., closes out NASCAR season with Nationwide Series championship

posted by Chad Bonham

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr., waves the championship flag after claiming his first NASCAR Nationwide series title (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

Based on Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s 2010 season, there was really no way to know whether the driver of the #6 Roush Fenway Ford was going to be a contender in 2011 (as he appeared to be at the end of the last year) or if he would return to his struggling ways that cost the youngster valuable seat time due to poor early performances.

On Saturday night, Stenhouse Jr., answered any doubts about his place within NASCAR’s ranks by claiming his first career Nationwide Series championship with a second-place finish at the Ford 300 in Homestead, Fla.

Stenhouse Jr., got his chance to celebrate nearly nine months after his best friend Trevor Bayne rocked the racing world with his upset win at the Daytona 500. Back in October, Bayne told me how excited and Stenhouse Jr.’s Bible study buddies would be if he could bring the title into the fold.

“It’s been cool to watch because he’s gradually gotten better every week,” Bayne told Inspiring Athletes in Kansas last month. “He was at Victory Lane for me and I’ll be at the banquet for him if he wins. We’re just good friends, but if it wasn’t for our faith, I don’t know that we would’ve been as good of friends. God’s definitely the center of both of our lives and that’s why we’re able to be good friends.”

Stenhouse Jr., was quick to praise God for his success during the post-race celebration when interviewed by ESPN reporter and fellow Christian Dr. Jerry Punch. It was a bold statement of faith that wouldn’t have surprised anyone who knows the Olive Branch, Miss., native well at all.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if God hadn’t allowed us to do it,” Stenhouse Jr., said in last month’s Inspiring Athletes conversation. “He’s the one that’s ultimately in control of everything. You can’t try to change things when they’re not meant to be changed.”

To check out that entire interview with Stenhouse Jr., click HERE.

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