Vegas is Sam’s Town! Hornish wins Sam’s Town 300By Bryan Nolen
Sam Hornish Jr won the 17th Annual Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his first win of the season and his second career Nationwide Series win.
“This feels awesome. The car was great. One of the things I said when we did the ride around was what a great crowd we had here. I didn’t know until this morning that this was the Sam’s Town 300. It is kinda cool that I was able to win it. I have to thank all the people at Penke Racing and Roush Yates engines for giving us this opportunity.” Hornish said.
Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-5.
Vickers started on the pole after they cancelled qualifying and had practice instead due to practice getting rained out yesterday. Austin Dillon led the practice and was the fastest in the 10 lap averages. Vickers led the first lap and got a couple car lengths over Dillon in the first few laps. Brad Keselowski radioed to his crew chief that the car was kinda weird and felt that they did not tighten all the tires but he radioed back saying it was fine after a couple laps.
First caution waved very early in the race on lap 4 when the No.14 of Eric McClure blew up on the back of turn 2 and onto the backstretch. Nobody came into pit due to being so early in the race.
The race restarted on lap 8 with Vickers still leading. Dillon overtook Vickers on the backstretch and led the following lap by a nose. Vickers overtook Dillon and retained the lead on lap 10. Keselowski took the lead over Vickers on lap 21 and drove away after Vickers got loose from the bumps in turn 1 and Keselowski took advantage. Dale Jr, who started 32nd, was up to 15th on lap 24.
The second caution waved for the competition caution due to the rain yesterday and since they only had practice today, they wanted the teams to check tire wear, handling and other things. All of the lead lap guy came and and most people took four tires except for Bayne and Regan Smith who took two tires. Dale Jr gained four spots on pit road coming out 10th while Brian Scott lost four positions and came out 9th.
Green Flag waved on lap 41 with Bayne leading and Busch made it three wide into turn one to gain as many spots as possible . Bayne led the lap but it was not easy as Smith and Vickers were coming in a hurry.
The third caution waved on lap 55 when the No.87 of Joe Nemechek got together with the No.01 of Mike Wallace. Wallace hit the bumps in turn 1 and slide up the track into Nemechek. Nobody in the top 10 came in except for Bayne. Some Cars looked like they were coming in but faked it and left Bayne out to dry. He will restart 15th.
Smith restarted on lap 61 but was three wide with Hornish Jr and Vickers onto the backstretch. Hornish took the lead on lap 62 while Vickers and Smith were battling for second.
The fourth yellow flag is out on lap 81 when the No.23 of Robert Richardson Jr got loose in turn 2 and spun out but did not hit anything. Everybody came onto pit road and some hit some different plans then others. Bayne and Kyle Larson took fuel only and came out with the lead while Dillon, Alex Bowman, Nelson Piquet Jr and Scott all took two tires. The leaders, Hornish and Keselowski, took four tires and both lost six places.
We went back to green only for a lap when the two leaders got together and both smacked the wall. Bayne got loose and got the left rear of Larson and got both of them in trouble. Larson has got some pretty good damage while Bayne has got right side damage. Bayne response to the wreck? “This kid(Larson) is going to learn a lesson one of these days.” Larson was heard saying on his radio “Did I do anything wrong?” “I didn’t do nothin’ wrong there, did I? His crew told him he did nothing wrong.
“We have to take bad days, and this should have been a 12th place day after we wrecked, and we finished fourth. We had a chance to win it at the end and didn’t get position on them. I am really proud.” Bayne said after the race.
Dillon restarted the race on lap 92 with Vickers right bedside him as the leader due to the crash of Larson and Bayne. Dillon got overtook by Vickers on the backstretch on lap 93 but Hornish went passed Vickers on lap 94 and pulled away.
On lap 118, Keselowski came in and said something was not right and got four tires and fuel. He reported earlier in the race that he thought he had a loose wheel but he could deal with it. He came in and got some stuff our of the grill and it settled the temps down. It did not fix it though as his splitter was falling apart and had to come to the pit road to repair it on lap 136. When asked about what caused the vibration, Keselowski said ““I don’t know. We don’t know or we would have it fixed by now. It is disappointing because the Discount Tire Ford was really fast. It looks like my teammate Sam Hornish is really fast. Something just broke in the mid part of the race and we couldn’t figure it out. It kept getting worse and worse. Something was broke in the front end. It just wasn’t going to run in lap speed and something eventually broke really big going down the straightaway and we needed to get off the track before we got somebody else wrecked or brought out a yellow. It is just really unfortunate.”
Caution came out on lap 138 for debris right after the No.77 of Parker Kilgerman went to the garage. Most of the drivers were happy because it was about time for green flag pit stops. They came down and got four tires and fuel and Busch came out first. Everybody was told save fuel as it will be really close if they need to make one more stop or if they can make it to the finish. Earnhardt Jr. came in and got fuel with one to go in order to make it all the way.
Race restarted with Busch leading and Vickers right beside him. Vickers took the lead as Busch got high into four. They continued to battle for the lead for multiple laps until Vickers got really lose in one, from the bumps, and slide back to third while Hornish was getting pressure on Busch for the top spot. Hornish took the lead the next lap.
Just when we thought everybody was going to have to save fuel, the caution comes out. The No.8 of Scott Lagasse Jr spun out on turn 1 and onto the banking to bring out the 6th caution of the afternoon. Brad Sweet got the free pass and none of the leaders came in but Travis Pastrana, Ty Dillon and couple others came in and made assure that they would make it to the finish on fuel.
We went back to green with 13 to go and Busch leading. As they battled for the lead, They were wrecking behind them. Joey Gase got together with Larson sending them both into the wall. Larson”s car was on fire and he got out and was okay as Gase drove his car to pit road. Dale Jr will get the free pass to make 14 cars on the lead lap. Larson finished 32nd.
Hornish Jr led the field to the green with seven laps to go with Busch right besides him. Busch and Hornish Jr were side by side by the start finish line but Hornish cleared Busch into turn 1 and never looked back.
|Unofficial Race Results|
|Sam’s Town 300, Las Vegas Motor Speedway|
|1||7||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Ford||48|
|8||18||99||Alex Bowman #||Toyota||36|
|13||11||30||Nelson Piquet Jr. #||Chevrolet||31|
|14||32||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.(i)||Chevrolet||0|
|20||40||8||Scott Lagasse Jr.||Chevrolet||24|
|23||37||92||Dexter Stacey #||Ford||21|
|24||14||44||Hal Martin #||Toyota||20|
|26||34||79||Jeffrey Earnhardt #||Ford||19|
|28||30||15||Juan Carlos Blum #||Ford||16|
|29||29||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Chevrolet||15|
|32||13||32||Kyle Larson #||Chevrolet||13|