Martin wins at Las Vegas again, Patrick finishes fourth
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Mark Martin stretched his fuel long enough
and then benefited from Brad Keselowski's last-lap mishap to win Saturday's
Sam's Town 300, which extended his record of career victories in the
Nationwide Series to 49.
Martin, who made his first start in NASCAR's second-tier series in nearly two
years, gambled on fuel in the late stages of the 300-mile race. He grabbed the
lead from Keselowski on the final lap when Keselowski cut a tire and then hit
It was the fourth time Martin has won at Las Vegas. His last victory in
Nationwide came at this track in 2008.
Martin gave Turner Motorsports its first win in the series. He is driving in
four races for the team this year.
"[Crew chief] Trent Owens deserves this one," said Martin, who led only the
final lap. "He made the right calls. The only chance we had was to save, save,
save. There was no other way. I just decided that I wasn't going to run out of
Justin Allgaier's second-place run gave Turner a 1-2 finish at Las Vegas.
Keselowski limped home third.
"I felt like we had it, but obviously we didn't," a disappointed Keselowski
said. "It's just one of those days where we do everything right but don't
Danica Patrick overcame a two-lap deficit in the early-going to finish fourth,
which set a NASCAR record for the highest finishing female in a national
touring race. Sara Christian held the record when she finished fifth in a
NASCAR Cup Series race in 1949 at Heidelberg, PA.
"We just had a good car, and that's what makes the difference in these
things," Patrick said. "I don't think about trying to achieve the highest
finishing position for a female. I think about trying to win the race. If I
make history, then so be it."
Patrick's previous best finish in a Nationwide race was 14th, which occurred
in last month's season-opener at Daytona. She finished 36th at Las Vegas one
Allgaier, Keselowski and Patrick also did not pit for gas late in the race.
Trevor Bayne, the Daytona 500 champion, completed the top-five.
Carl Edwards, the pole sitter, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason
Leffler and Kenny Wallace finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
Kyle Busch dominated the race before he was involved in an accident with 70
laps remaining. Just after a restart, he dove down the track and attempted to
pass Keselowski for position. But Busch lost control and spun around on the
front stretch before his right-front end made contact with the wall.
"Unfortunately, I screwed up and that's why I run these [Nationwide] races, so
I can learn and don't do it tomorrow [Sunday]," Busch said.
Busch, who led the most laps with 84, ended up finishing 30th.
Kevin Harvick, the defending race winner, also had his day end early at Las
Vegas. Harvick bumped into the back of Brian Scott and suffered damage to the
front end of his car just after a restart with 57 laps to go.
"When I checked up, I was about two or three cars back, and I was going down,
and I just caught the left rear of [Scott]," said Harvick, who finished 28th.
The Nationwide Series takes next weekend off before they return to action on
March 19 at Bristol, TN.
03/05 19:31:40 ET
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