6:10 p.m. – The third race of the 2012 NASAR Sprint Cup Series is in the books and defending champion Tony Stewart can add a Las Vegas trophy to his already robust collection of hardware. That wraps up our coverage here at the speedway. Until next time…good night!
5:50 p.m. – With Stewart's win at LVMS there are now just two tracks on the circuit where he has yet to visit Victory Lane. The two tracks are Darlington and Kentucky, which joined the schedule in 2011. "That's a huge personal accomplishment for me," said Stewart. "I take a lot of pride in being at least competitive in different types of cars, being competitive at different racetracks. This is one we've been close a couple times and it got away."
5:40 p.m. – Tony Stewart recorded his 45th career victory and first at LVMS in 14 series starts. He led three times for 127 laps, including the final 34 after a three wide move on a restart carried the No. 14 Chevrolet from third to first. The car was equally strong on the final two restarts as the defending champion held off Johnson. "I'm just finally glad to win one here," said Stewart. "Just proud of the Hendrick engine department making great steam with it. That was the key to our restarts was the power that we had." It was also the first win with new crew chief Steve Addington. "He's doing an awesome job," Stewart confirmed. "It is hard to come into a team after they've won a championship like that. I don't know that there are too many guys other than a guy like Steve Addington that could step into the role and do the job he is doing." Stewart climbed from 15th to 7th in the standings, 25 points behind Biffle.
5:20 p.m. – Tony Stewart recorded his 45th career victory and first at LVMS in 14 series starts. He led three times for 127 laps, including the final 34 after a three wide move on a restart carried the No. 14 Chevrolet from third to first. The car was equally strong on the final two restarts as the defending champion held off Johnson. "I'm just finally glad to win one here," said Stewart. "Just proud of the Hendrick engine department making great steam with it. That was the key to our restarts was the power that we had." It was also the first win with new crew chief Steve Addington. "He's doing an awesome job," Stewart confirmed. "It is hard to come into a team after they've won a championship like that. I don't know that there are too many guys other than a guy like Steve Addington that could step into the role and do the job he is doing." Stewart climbed from 15th to 7th in the standings, 25 points behind Biffle.
4:15 p.m. – Jimmie Johnson rallied from tail end of the field in a backup car to finish 2nd . He led once for 35 laps and chased Stewart to the checkers. Two restarts within the final 11 laps bunched up the field but Johnson couldn't close enough on Stewart to complete a pass for the lead. "The first one I know that I just jumped on the gas too hard and spun 'em," said Johnson. "That was my fault. The second restart, I didn't spin 'em. I felt really good. He was still running away from me. We're flying around here. The faster you go, the more that clean air becomes a priority."
Johnson fourteen positions in the point standings to 23rd . Johnson has back-to-back top five finishes after the 42nd place finish at Daytona. He would be tied for 13^th if not for the 25-point penalty handed down after Daytona. The appeals hearing for that penalty will take place on March 13. Crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec will find out then if their suspensions stand.
4:00 p.m. – Greg Biffle's third place finish boosted him into the early points lead by 10 over Kevin Harvick. Biffle has three third place finishes in the first three races of the season and equaled his best finish at LVMS in starts. "It was clear that the 14 (Stewart) and 48 (Johnson) were just a little bit better than we were," Biffle said. "We had a top five car and finished third. We want to win like the 14 car did today. We're going to keep our heads down and keep working hard."
3:15 p.m. - Kenseth gets pushed up into the outside wall on the restart and falls all the way back to 22^nd by Lap 266. No caution. Tony Stewart wins the Kobalt Tools by almost half-a-second over Jimmie Johnson for his first series victory at LVMS. Biffle, Newman and Edwards round out the top five.
3:10 p.m. – Kyle Busch cuts down the right rear tire, spins to the entrance of pit road and unceremoniously crushes the orange cone. The caution flies for the 8^th time on Lap 261. Aric Almirola gets the free pass. Stewart leads the field back to green on Lap 264 with Johnson, Kenseth, Biffle and Edwards in his tire tracks.
3:05 p.m. - Keselowski doesn't come up to speed on the restart and heads to pit road on Lap 252, loses a lap and goes behind the wall. He's experiencing the same fuel pump problem his teammate experienced just about 60 laps ago.
Kurt Busch runs over some debris, cuts down a tire and crashes hard into the inside SAFER barrier on the backstretch on Lap 256 to bring out the 7th caution. Stewart still leads followed by Johnson, Biffle, Kenseth and Edwards. Back to green on Lap 259.
2:50 p.m. – Under caution for the 6^th time on Lap 246 for a blown engine in the No. 83 Toyota driven by Landon Cassill. Joey Logano, running 23rd , gets the free pass. Stewart leads followed by Keselowski, Biffle, Johnson and Kenseth. The green flag flies on Lap 251.
2:45 p.m. – Yellow #5 flies for debris on Lap 230. Stewart leads the field down pit road. Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski stay out and take over first and second. Stewart takes on fuel only and restarts 3^rd . Kenseth and Biffle are 4^th and 5^th . Green flag on Lap 234. Stewart goes underneath the white line and takes 'em three wide to Turn 1 to take the lead from Bowyer.
2:30 p.m. - Allmendinger drives the No. 22 Penske Dodge to the garage on Lap 198 with an engine problem. Dinger is reporting low fuel pressure. Debris on the backstretch brings out the fourth caution of the afternoon on Lap 206. Trevor Bayne is running 19^th and collects the free pass back onto the lead lap. The field drives down pit road for service. Stewart wins the race off pit road with a two-tire stop. Earnhardt jumps all the way to 2^nd with a two-tire stop. Jamie McMurray runs 3^rd followed by Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth. Kyle Busch is running 6^th and Biffle, Johnson, Menard and Truex rounding out the top 10. Back to green on Lap 210.
2:10 p.m. - The field makes a round of green flag pit stops and Stewart cycles back into the lead on Lap 180 with Johnson, Kenseth, Biffle and Paul Menard running 2nd through 5th .
1:55 p.m. - Stewart takes the lead from Johnson on Lap 134 on the restart after the third caution. Kurt Busch makes an unscheduled stop under green on Lap 148 for a flat tire. He loses three laps and falls back to 32nd. On Lap 155, the top five are Stewart, Johnson, Kenseth, Biffle and Harvick. Earnhardt has worked his way back up to 10th.
1:45 p.m. - Jeff Gordon comes down pit road for a scheduled stop on Lap 120. Harvick and others hit pit road on Lap 123. Johnson gives up the lead for his stop on Lap 125. Johnson retains the lead after everybody pits. The 3rd caution waves on Lap 128 for a blown engine in Travis Kvapil's Toyota. Kyle Busch, who was running behind Kvapil at the time, appears to get loose and scrapes the wall.
The top five under caution are Johnson, Stewart, Kenseth, Biffle and Harvick. Harvick is reporting his seat belts are cutting of the circulation and making his left leg numb. Denny Hamlin gets the free pass. The green flag waves on Lap 134.
1:20 p.m. - Kenseth takes the lead from Harvick on Lap 80 and holds onto it until Johnson flexes the right muscle in his back up Chevy and flashes by to take the lead on Lap 100. Stewart runs 3^rd with Biffle and Harvick rounding out the top five. Kyle Busch is running 13^th and Earnhardt is still stuck in traffic in 14^th . After his win at Phoenix last week, Denny Hamlin is struggling with an ill handling car in 26th, the last driver on the lead lap.
1:10 p.m. - Under caution for the second time on Lap 74 for a crash in Turn 4 involving David Reutimann. Everyone pits for service. Most of the leaders opt for two tires. Harvick beats the field off pit road followed by Kenseth, Biffle, Johnson and Stewart. David Ragan stayed on the track and to lead a lap before making his stop. Earnhardt takes four tires and will restart 16^th . Kurt Busch gets the free pass and is the last driver on the lead lap in 27^th . Back to green on Lap 78.
12:40 p.m. – Earnhardt gives up the lead for the first time to come to pit road for a scheduled stop. Timmy Hill spins in Turn 1 and brings out the first caution of the day. Earnhardt is down and away before the pace car gets to the start/finish line. The rest of the field pits under caution. Kurt Busch was on pit road when the caution flew. but failed to get out in front of the pace car so he'll lose a lap. David Ragan gets the free pass. Green flag on Lap 50 with Earnhardt in the lead followed by Harvick, Biffle, Kenseth and Tony Stewart. Kyle Busch has worked his way up to 10th and Jimmie Johnson is running 13th.
12:30 p.m. - Brendan Gaughan flattens the right side of the No. 33 Chevrolet while running 26th on Lap 7. Gaughan stays on the track but falls all the way back to 41^st . No caution and the field remains under green. On Lap 15, Earnhardt stretches his lead to 2.8 seconds over Logano, Harvick, Truex and Kurt Busch. Gaughan comes to pit road on Lap 17.
12:10 p.m. – Comedian and actor Tim Allen delivers his own version of the command to start engines with, "Hey drivers, light these bad boys up!" Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Regan Smith and Juan Pablo Montoya drop to the back during the parade laps and that puts Dale Earnhardt, Jr. alongside Kahne on the front row. The green flag waves and we're underway. Earnhardt takes advantage of his position and jumps out to the lead. The rest of the top 5 on Lap 1: Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.
11:45 a.m. – Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with four Sprint Cup Series victories at LVMS while Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with 455 laps led. Johnson's victories were consecutive with the first in 2005. Kasey Kahne leads the field to green with his 3^rd pole in nine attempts. His best finish here was a second in 2004 in his first start at the track. Garage insiders are pointing to Kevin Harvick as the driver to beat today. Harvick starts third and has a best finish of second two seasons ago.
11:30 a.m. – Timmy Hill is making his Sprint Cup Series debut in today's race. The nineteen-year old driver was the 2011 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year and failed to make the field last week at Phoenix by just 0.030-second. "This is an awesome feeling," said Hill. "It means so much. These guys work so hard and for it to finally come together is awesome. These guys worked so hard to get this car back to where it needs to be."
11:00 a.m. – The 2013 Dodge Charger was unveiled in Victory Lane. "This endeavor goes beyond the trend the Nationwide Series Challenger started with a Dodge Charge that amazingly embodies many of the design features of the street version in the racecar," said SRT Brand and Motorsports president and CEO Ralph Giles.
NASCAR gave engineers and designers a freer rein in the front, rear, sides and greenhouse area to allow more character lines from the street car to be carried over to the racing version. Penske Racing recently announced the team's switch back to Ford for 2013 and that leaves the big question of who will be driving the new Dodge next season and beyond. The only other Dodge in the garage this season is Robby Gordon's No. 7.
10:00 a.m. – The competitors are headed to the drivers' meeting. Four drivers will drop to the rear of the field for the start of today's race. Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Regan Smith and Juan Pablo Montoya will play catch up from the get go. Busch and Johnson are wheeling backup cars.
Juan Pablo Montoya has a fresh engine and Regan Smith's team changed the transmission in their Chevrolet. Kyle, brother Kurt and Brendan Gaughan will battle for home track bragging rights. Kyle has one series victory here while Kurt's best finish is a third. Gaughan has one series start with a 22^nd place finish.
7:30 a.m. – Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway! It's the calm before the storm as the crews prepare their pit stalls for today's Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 400. Pace car driver Brett Bodine is giving media members a new respect for what happens on the track with pace car rides complete with simulated pit stops.
The Neon Garage is open and the fans are beginning to stream in. The Speedway Children's Charity Track Walk starts at 8 a.m. The drivers' meeting is at 10 a.m. Pia Toscana sings the National Anthem at 12:01 p.m. and Tim Allen gives the command to start engines at 12:08 p.m. Stay tuned for all the action as it happens.