4:45 p.m. – Good evening from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 will get under way at 10:30 a.m. with pre-race activities. Driver introductions begin at 11:30 and the green flag is scheduled to fall shortly after noon. Spectator and Neon Garage gates open at 7 a.m.
4:40 p.m. – Comments from Mark Martin, who earned his 49th career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300:
“At the start of the race, we were really, really loose and (crew chief) Trent Owens and the Dollar General guys made the car better on every stop and after the last stop, the car was actually really, really good. Trent made a great call to come in and get our service there at that last caution (on lap 141) and put us in position that we only had, really, one chance to win the race and that was to make it on fuel and some of the guys in front of us, not. What we managed to do is pass all of the guys that was on our fuel strategy but one and when I caught Brad (Keselowski), I realized that it was going to take all the gas I had to get by him because he wanted to race. It wouldn’t do it us any good to run out of gas so I decided that we still had one chance to win and that was to make sure that we make it on fuel. Trent gave me great information and I managed to really back off the throttle and had to wait and see if Brad would make it or not and that was going to be the determination because I just didn’t feel confident that I could save enough gas to make it AND pass him.
“I can’t gloat; if Brad hadn’t had a tire problem, it looked to me like he was going to win. All I could do is make sure that I didn’t run out of gas because I knew we wouldn’t win if we did that. It worked out for us today. We got her back to the start/finish line first and that’s who gets the trophy. I have run good here in the past. Today, this was a culmination of strategy and experience.”
4:15 p.m. – Comments from Justin Allgaier, who finished second in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 and moved up three spots to fifth in the Nationwide Series points:
“The race today was actually a really good one for us because we battled through a lot of adversity. We started off the day and the car was really good and we went right up to the front in the first stint there. For whatever reason, we got the splitter on the ground and we couldn’t get it back up and we just really struggled with that the rest of the day. We had great pit calls and great pit stops and I think that was really a big deal – and good fuel mileage. These Turner Motorsports guys have done an awesome job of building quality racecars and the engines from Hendrick are phenomenal and I feel like we’re steadily building.
“To get beat by Mark Martin – as much as I wanted to win the race, I think that’s there’s only one person in this garage that I’d rather have beat me and if I couldn’t win, that would be Mark. He’s been a real asset to everybody at Turner Motorsports so that was really cool. At the end there, Jimmy Elledge, the crew chief, made the right call and got us the pit strategy that we needed and held on at the end. I guess Mark ran out (of fuel) right after the start/finish line. I was kind of hoping he would run out a little bit before so we could run 1-2 – just the other way around.”
3:40 p.m. – Comments from Brad Keselowski, who finished third in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 after cutting a tire on the final lap while leading the race:
“We started off this weekend and I didn’t (think we were) very good at all. We were atrociously bad and my team worked all weekend long and found speed in my car. We weren’t anywhere near as fast as the top three, but we were a fourth-place car and from there used great strategy and smarts to get ourselves in position to win the race. I drove up through the field and leveled off about sixth knowing that everyone in front of us was going to have to pit. I was trying to conserve my stuff and watch Mark (Martin) behind and watch my gap; I felt like I did a good job of that. I felt like we had it (won) but obviously didn’t. I didn’t push the car too hard, that’s for sure. I must have run over something because (the tire) went down quick and I’m sure that I ran over something.
It was just one of them days where you do everything right and don’t win. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I guess that’s why they call it racing because otherwise you’d go off the practice sheet and know who’d win the race. Obviously that’s not the way that it worked out today. I just feel bad for my guys. We’ve had three straight weeks in this Nationwide Series with three pretty good cars. I thought that we had the car to beat at Daytona and got wrecked there. I felt like we had a decent car at Phoenix to run in the top five and blew a tire. I felt like we could have at least run in the top five and steal a win. It looked like we were going to and something happened. It’s got to come back around. We’re just on downside of the roller coaster; I’m ready for it to come back up.”
(Were you OK on fuel at the end of the race?) “We were really good on fuel. I think that we had a solid five laps past a green-white-checkered. We were really good on fuel. It just wasn’t meant to be. I’ll have to ask the guys how much I had left, probably a solid five, 10 laps from what I calculated.”
3:30 p.m. – Comments from Danica Patrick, who finished fourth in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 and became the highest-finishing female in a NASCAR national series:
“It was a good day. We had a good car. I knew it from the beginning of the race after we settled in after a couple of laps. It just turned off of (turn) two so well and it turned off of four really well, too. As the race got later and later, until sort of the mid-point, it started getting looser and looser off of four and it was like the changes weren’t making a big enough impact on the car. I told Tony to take a swing at it for the last stop and he did because I was a little bit tight to start, I just couldn’t overdrive the entry and push up the track and get those front tires in an overheating position.
"I was just careful and I was still able to click off some (good) times so I couldn’t have been going too slow. I was just taking care of it. By the end of the race I was loose, for the last 20 or 30 laps, and right in the middle of three and four, which is ten kinds of fun when you’re trying to carry speed. That was kind of the position I was in all day so I just took care of my equipment and was smart and Tony Jr. made some good changes. Good job for Tony Jr. for being smart and going with the setup that going to work for us and be safe. We just had a good car – that’s all I can say and that’s what makes a difference in these things.”
(On making NASCAR history) “I don’t know. I guess that’s something I don’t really think about – and maybe that’s why it works out. I don’t think about trying to achieve the highest finishing position for a female. I think about trying to win the race and if I make history, then so be it.”
2:38 p.m. – Mark Martin slipped past Brad Keselowski on the final lap and earned his 49th career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Justin Allgaier was second, Keselowski was third, Danica Patrick finished fourth and Trevor Bayne finished fifth.
Patrick’s finish was her best in the Nationwide Series and set a record for the highest finish by a female driver in a NASCAR national series race.
Stay tuned for comments from the top drivers.
1:23 p.m. – The top-10 running order at the halfway point (100 laps) of the Sam’s Town 300: 1. Carl Edwards; 2. Kyle Busch; 3. Denny Hamlin; 4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.; 5. Mark Martin; 6. Reed Sorenson; 7. Brad Keselowski; 8. Justin Allgaier; 9. Elliott Sadler; 10. Trevor Bayne.
11:33 a.m. – Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth paced the final practice session for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with a top speed of 184.112 mph. Kyle Busch, who will start fifth, was second fastest at 183.717 mph. Ryan Newman (183.680), Carl Edwards (183.630) and Greg Biffle (183.511) rounded out the top five.
Kurt Busch, who will start 22nd on Sunday, was 13th fastest, defending race winner Jimmie Johnson (starting 14th) was 15th in the session and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (starting 33rd) was 29th fastest.
Driver introductions for the Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race have begun and the race is scheduled to start at noon.
10:10 a.m. – NASCAR has placed Sprint Cup Series driver Robby Gordon on indefinite probation as the result of an “incident” Friday between Gordon and an unnamed driver in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway garage area following qualifying. NASCAR officials did not name or penalize the other driver involved in the incident. Gordon will start 38th in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400.
10:02 a.m. – Carl Edwards won the pole for today’s Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race with a lap of 181.824 mph, knocking hometown favorite Kyle Busch off of the provisional pole. Busch (181.616) will start on the outside of the front row. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (181.178), Kevin Harvick (180.626) and three-time Sam’s Town 300 race winner Mark Martin (179.988) rounded out the top five qualifiers.
9:20 a.m. – Some of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide drivers this week have commented on the bumps in the middle of turns 1 and 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards, who qualified third for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400, said the bumps add “character” to the track and hopes LVMS officials leave them as they are.
“The bumps are in the middle of turns 1 and 2 and a little bit on the entry side, so a little bit before center,” Edwards said. “I think it is where the (infield access) tunnel goes under the racetrack; I think that is settling there. I thought I could go around them on top, but it was just as bumpy on top of the racetrack for me. I think that is why you saw guys moving up.
“It’s really nothing to speak of. Don’t fix them – the bumps are awesome. You’ve got to have something out there to drive around and battle with. That’s what makes racing fun.”
8:45 a.m. – Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the NASCAR Nationwide Series cars are beginning to fill pit road in anticipation of qualifying for the 15th annual Sam’s Town 300. The sun is shining and the forecast calls for a high today of 70 degrees.
Nationwide Series qualifying begins at 9:05 a.m. (PST) and the 200-lap race takes the green flag at noon. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars will be on the track from 10:10 to 11:25 for final practice for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400.
Be sure to check back here often for news, results and driver interviews.