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NASCAR America: How gambling put Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in Round of 12

Jerry Bonkowski
NBC Sports

With a casino that runs along the backstretch at Dover International Speedway, it’s not surprising that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and crew chief Brian Pattie did some big-time gambling when it came to strategy several times in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup playoff race.

While it was just barely, the gambling still paid off nonetheless: Stenhouse qualified to move on to the next round of the playoffs, finishing two points ahead of Ryan Newman, who was eliminated from moving on to the second round.

On Monday’s NASCAR America, our analysts — Parker Kligerman, Brian Vickers and Steve Letarte — gave their assessment of the strategy calls that put Stenhouse into the next round.

“It was a two-point battle. Brian Pattie, having the courage to make both those pit decisions is exactly what Brian and Ricky need to continue to do throughout the entire playoff sequence,” Letarte said. “They need to continue to be on whatever strategy that Brian sees fit to give him opportunity. He did it at Dover and it paid off.”

Added Kligerman, “It was just amazing, courageous calls by Brian Pattie and that 17 team. I just think this is one of the gutsiest, coolest drives I’ve seen in modern day NASCAR, knowing what they were up against and knowing Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was told this was one of the most important races in Roush Fenway Racing history, to get into the second round of the playoffs, and to get out and make it happen.”

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