By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
JOLIET, Ill. -- It was a statement victory for defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won Saturday's Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway and simultaneously wrested the series lead from Elliott Sadler.
The victory was Stenhouse's fifth of the season and the seventh of his career. He crossed the finish line 2.402 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch, who fell one spot short of posting his first victory in the Nationwide car he owns.
Austin Dillon ran third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard. Sadler finished eighth and fell from the top spot in the standings after holding it for 20 consecutive weeks. With seven races left, Stenhouse leads Sadler by nine points.
Ninth-place finisher and pole-sitter Joey Logano regained the lead under caution on Lap 124 for Benny Gordon's accident in Turn 3. Logano beat Dillon off pit road by six inches and led the field to a restart.
Stenhouse lost seven spots when his car stalled in the pits and took the green flag in the 11th position but gradually worked his way back through the field. By the time the race reached Lap 150, Stenhouse had passed Sadler for the third position.
Busch grabbed the top spot shortly after the restart on Lap 130 and pulled away to a lead of 1.5 seconds as Logano faded. Busch, Dillon and Stenhouse staged a three-car breakaway during that green-flag run, but a caution for Jason Bowles' spin in Turn 3 on Lap 167 shuffled the running order.
With a 12.5-second stop for four tires and fuel, Sadler was first off pit road on Lap 168 and led Busch to a restart on Lap 172. Busch quickly reassumed the lead while Sadler dropped back to sixth by Lap 177.
Stenhouse, however, moved past Busch on Lap 180 and quickly established an advantage of more than a second.