Wrapping up the 14th annual Kobalt Tools 400:
5:40 p.m. – Comments from Carl Edwards, who won Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
“We have been performing really well and it is just a joy to drive these racecars right now. You look at the way we qualified and ran, the Fords are back and are strong. It is due to the work of these two guys next to me (team co-owner Jack Roush and crew chief Bob Osborne) and the guys back at the shop like (Roush Fenway Racing general manager) Robbie Reiser. Everyone has worked really well together. It is great to drive these race cars.”
(Have you ever started a season this well?) “This is the best start to a season that I have ever had and you know Daytona could have gone any way; that was a lot of luck involved in our good finish at Daytona. Phoenix was a very strong performance from everyone but we had bad luck there. I felt today we had a solid top-three car all day. Those are three different types of tracks with success on all three so I am really excited about the season. This is a great start.”
(What was your reaction when Tony Stewart was penalized and was there something wrong with your engine late in the race?) “We will find out when we take the engine apart but I definitely heard a different sound at the end of the straightaway. We are turning these engines really hard and I was trying to be careful with our engine all day. It very well could be just the five-laps-to-go jitters when you are leading but we will find out about that. With Tony, the first thing that went through my mind was that we would see him again in a minute because that car was spectacular. He did a great job driving it. That was a gift for us (for him) to have that penalty. In the end, it really put him in a position where he had to take two (tires) to get to the lead. Then he had to take four when we took two. It may have been the difference in the race there.”
(Over the past 10 days, you have jumped off a huge building, flown with the Thunderbirds and now you’ve won a Cup race.) “That is a really great week. I have had a blast. I don’t know what I am going to do this weekend. I really had a lot of fun and I am really excited to be able, for our whole team, to be able to give that trophy to the Thunderbirds. They were inspiring to hang around with.”
5:15 p.m. – Comments from Tony Stewart, who finished second in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 after leading 163 of 267 laps:
“Yeah, real disappointed. I honestly think we had the car to beat today – we just gave it away. I don't know what happened on the pit stop there, but we had a miscue and had a penalty and had to go to the back and, unfortunately, it kind of dealt our cards for us. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) made a good call getting us the track position back, but it also showed everybody else that they could do it, too, and we couldn't run two and a half runs on a set of left side tires. We just shot ourselves in the foot two weeks in a row now.”
(Can you take any solace in the fact that in three races in a row you had a shot to win?) “I probably should, but that's not in my makeup. I mean, it kills me to throw a race away like that, especially at a place we haven't won at yet. This was a big deal today and when you lead that many laps and have a car that's that fast and you lose it …I'm sure tomorrow when the emotion dies down, we'll look back and say it was a great weekend but, man, it does not sit good right now.”
5 p.m. – Comments from Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished third in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400:
“This Clorox Chevy was good all day. We were a little bit off the pace. We needed a little bit (more). Last run before we took the tires, I thought we were closer. To get a top-five here today in Vegas after what happened the last few years here is amazing. We had a really good Daytona, bad Phoenix and we ran good here. Three good finishes at least in points is good. We changed some guys on the pit crew and they did an amazing job. It's nice to see.
“There was nothing for Tony (Stewart). I think Tony had the dominant car. I think I could have been a little further ahead after the pit stop, if I had been a little more aggressive. We needed a good result for the team. As Tony said, he had the fastest car, but our car was very good all day. We battled between sixth and eighth place and then a little bit better and a little bit better. We were getting better but we just never closed in. We could make the car turn through the middle; we just couldn't touch the throttle and the other way around. It was just touch and go. You know, we really needed a good result after last week, and it was nice to get it here.”
4:50 p.m. – Comments from Marcos Ambrose, who finished fourth in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400:
“It was a great day. It was a great first top-five for RPM (Richard Petty Motorsports). I have to thank Richard Petty for believing in me and giving me a shot and Stanley (Tools) and everybody. It is going to be a great year. We had great pit stops and a good crew today. There was a ton of good energy out here today, just a ton of good energy. I am really happy with the finish.”
3:15 p.m. – Carl Edwards grabbed the race lead on lap 245 following a two-tire pit stop and held off Tony Stewart to win the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stewart was second, Juan Pablo Montoya took third, Marcos Ambrose was fourth and Ryan Newman finished fifth.
Stay tuned for comments from the top drivers.
2:44 p.m. – Tony Stewart regained the race lead by taking only two tires and gaining 14 positions during a yellow-flag pit stop on lap 197. The top-10 running order after 200 of 267 laps in the Kobalt Tools 400:
1. Tony Stewart; 2. Juan Pablo Montoya; 3. Martin Truex Jr.; 4. Carl Edwards; 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.; 6. Marcos Ambrose; 7. Paul Menard; 8. Joey Logano; 9. Ryan Newman; 10. Denny Hamlin.
2:35 p.m. – David Gilliland was treated and released from the infield care center after he made contact with the wall in turn two on lap 150 of the Kobalt Tools 400.
“We just blew a right-front tire and we hadn’t had any tire issues all day,” Gilliland said. “For some reason, we just blew out. We didn’t have any signs of it at all. It is a tough day for our Taco Bell Ford Fusion. I don’t think we have seen a whole lot of tire issues through the weekend. That last lap we ran on the race track was as fast as we had run. It was tough – definitely a hard hit. I am thankful for those safer barriers.”
2:14 p.m. – Tony Stewart, who led 130 of the first 150 laps of the Kobalt Tools 400, ran over the air hose in his pits during a stop on lap 151. Stewart was penalized for the infraction and sent to the end of the lead-lap cars. He restarted the race in 23rd place and Carl Edwards inherited the race lead.
2:03 p.m. – The top-10 running order after 150 of 267 laps in the Kobalt Tools 400:
1. Tony Stewart; 2. Carl Edwards; 3. Juan Pablo Montoya; 4. Kevin Harvick; 5. Martin Truex, Jr.; 6. Paul Menard; 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.; 8. Jeff Gordon; 9. Joey Logano; 10. Marcos Ambr
1:44 p.m. – Kyle Busch, a Las Vegas native, had nothing but misfortune in the early portion of the Kobalt Tolls 400. Busch had a tire go flat on lap 96 and he brushed the outside wall and then, on lap 108, the engine on his No. 18 Snickers Toyota blew up, putting him out of the race.
“It’s really unfortunate; we had a great racecar,” Busch said. “We chased down (race leader Tony) Stewart there but unfortunately the air’s so sensitive today that you get within like a 5-car-length cushion and you just can’t close anymore and I kind of got stuck behind him through traffic.
“The car was running awesome before that and then we had the tire go down there and it got us a little bit behind. The guys did a great job changing tires and we got and we were the Lucky Dog, fortunately. On the restart there, we were just going to bide the time and try to get back through traffic – still plenty of time to go – and then it just broke.”
1:20 p.m. – The top-10 running order after 100 of 267 laps in the Kobalt Tools 400:
1. Tony Stewart: 2. Juan Pablo Montoya; 3. Kurt Busch; 4. Greg Biffle; 5.Carl Edwards; 6. Jeff Gordon; 7. Marcos Ambrose; 8. Joey Logano; 9. Kevin Harvick; 10. Martin Truex, Jr.
12:16 p.m. – Pole-sitter Matt Kenseth leads the field of 43 cars to the green flag for the start of the 14th annual Kobalt Tools 400. Denny Hamlin, who qualified 17th, dropped to the rear of the field for the start because of an engine change.
11:55 a.m. – Kurt Busch, a Las Vegas native who is starting 22nd in today’s Kobalt Tools 400, was presented the “American Ethanol Green Restart Award” during pre-race ceremonies for having the best restart performance throughout last Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 400 at Phoenix International Raceway. Busch finished eighth in the race.
The $5,000 weekly award is given in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the eligible driver who records the fastest average speed on restarts during an event and finishes the race on the lead lap. Sunoco Green E15 racing fuel will be in the tanks of every vehicle in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The racing fuel is a new 15-percent ethanol blend made with corn grown in the United States.
10:50 a.m. – Previewing the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
10:15 a.m. – Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where a sellout crowd will be on hand for the 14th running of the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Forecasts call for a high today of 75 degrees under partly sunny skies. Driver introductions will get under way at 11:30 a.m. (PST) and the green flag will drop on the Kobalt Tools 400 shortly after noon.
Check back here often, as this blog will be updated throughout the day with news, stats, results and driver interviews.