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In the Draft: Stenhouse Jr. sets tone for final push

October 23, 2012, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. earned his sixth win of the season and moved within six points of Elliott Sadler in the standings. (Autostock)

Kansas win gives defending champion momentum going into last three races

What a great weekend we had at Kansas Speedway. The win was unexpected but shows the drive of my No. 6 team and their determination on winning another championship. Even when we were two laps down, those guys dug deep and got us back on the lead lap. It was a total team effort. It made it even better to see Roush Fenway get the sweep with Matt [Kenseth's] victory on Sunday in the Sprint Cup race. It was great to see that Ford in Victory Lane as well.

We had a bunch of guests from Cargill and Sam's Club in Kansas, so it was great to have them in Victory Lane celebrating with us and also to get Sam's Club its first win as a sponsor.

The weekend prior we raced in our backyard at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I was pulling the double duty that weekend. In the Nationwide race, I got into the outside wall. We were running third when we pitted under the green flag for a routine pit stop. After trying to repair the spoiler, we lost a couple of positions and weren't able to move back up through the pack.

For the Cup race, we struggled but were making gains on it before we had a mechanical issue that spoiled our day. I will be racing one more Sprint Cup race this season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This weekend I am traveling to Little Rock, Ark., to race my sprint car in the Short Track Nationals. I don't care what kind of car I am in, I just want to race. Teammate Jason Johnson also will be participating, so hopefully one of us can come home with the trophy.

Next weekend we travel to Texas Motor Speedway, where we won in the spring. We have NOS Energy Drink on board that weekend. In its past two races, we have finished second, so we really need to get to Victory Lane this time around.

We are kicking off a program called Stenhouse6 on Tuesday. Six lucky fans can get their names on the deck-lid of my No. 6 Ford for the Nationwide race at Texas. To enter, submit your pictures to @NOSEnergyDrink Twitter using the hashtag #ImNOSsome. Make sure to hurry up and submit because I will announce the winner on Monday.

We are down to the final three races. The No. 2 [team of Elliott Sadler] and No. 3 team [of Austin Dillon] have been stout all year, so we know it is going to be a battle until the last lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The three upcoming tracks have been good tracks for us. We just have to stay focused and mistake-free.

It is a beautiful day here in North Carolina, so I am off to the golf course. Make sure you go to NASCAR.COM/nnsmpd to vote for me as the Nationwide Series' Most Popular Driver.

Until next time.

In the Draft with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a twice-monthly blog and the opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Follow him and the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team on Twitter: @stenhousejr, @pr6nns, and @roushfenway.

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