The aura of invincibility that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. seemed to project over the first third of the season found a hitch at Charlotte Motor Speredway last weekend. As a result, the NASCAR Nationwide Series points race is back to a nip-and-tuck fight.
Stenhouse aims to rebound from his Charlotte misfortune in Saturday afternoon's 5-Hour Energy 200 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET) at Dover. He leads nearest challenger Elliott Sadler by 13 points heading to the series' first stop at the Monster Mile.
Stenhouse had strung together nine straight races finishing no worse than sixth before a drive shaft failure saddled him with a 26th-place finish at Charlotte. The defending series champion said that the setback won't alter his approach coming into one of the tour's toughest tracks.
"It doesn't at all really. We're going to go out to win every week," said Stenhouse, who logged a pair of top-five finishes at the mile track last season. "We've been fast at Dover every single time we've been there. We're going to win. It's what we do every week and I think we're going to have a shot at it."
Sadler's sixth-place finish allowed him to chop 21 points off Stenhouse's lead. Top rookie Austin Dillon is just 28 points back of Stenhouse in third.
Dillon will be joined by his younger brother, Ty, who will be making his series debut in Saturday's 200-miler.