6:40 p.m. -- Comments from Brian Vickers, who finished third in Saturday's Sam's Town 300:
"It was pretty wild. I think I spent more time avoiding crashes myself than anything else. You're going to have that. These cars are fun to drive, but you have to drive them so hard. They are practically running wide open around here. You have to constantly loosen them up and loosen them up to try to run wide open and it's just going to happen.
"I'm really proud of the Dollar General guys; we had a great car. Unfortunately, we made a mistake on pit road, left a lug nut loose, otherwise I think we had a shot at the win. We had a really, really good car the last two runs. We were just fighting back for track position.
"All the fast cars were having problems and a lot of them were just crashing. It's tough with these cars. I don't think it's anyone's fault -- I'm not trying to say anything bad -- it just is what it is. You're out here at this track trying to run wide open and you constantly try to free it up and free it up so you can keep your momentum up so you can run wide open -- that's going to lead to problems. That's why you saw a lot of the crashes, I believe. When it comes to the pit road instances, like us missing a lug nut, I don't know what was going on there. It just seemed like everyone who got in the lead had a problem."
6:20 p.m. - Comments from Carl Edwards, who finished second in Saturday's Sam's Town 300:
"That was a wild day. We had a great racecar; the car was real fast. There were a lot of wrecks. The deal is, these cars have so much downforce and not a lot of power and the track's so fast it's like a slot car. You've got the throttle down and you're bound down in the corner and if anything happens, if someone gets you a little loose, it's really hard to correct. A lot of cars wreck because of that today.
"We had a tire go down, we got a speeding penalty and all sorts of things happened but we were really fortunate and luck was on our side and we had a chance to go out there and race for the win. I just didn't drive it in deep enough under Greg (on the last lap) because he could hang on the outside of me and he got me real loose there and I thought for a second it was going to be a disaster. It ended up we had to back up and we finished second. Man, I really didn't want to finish second but that's a great points day for us - that's the only consolation.
"For a win, we all race really hard. Greg would race me extremely hard and I do the same with him. You just want to race as hard as you can without causing a problem because right now, we're 1-2 and we could have been backed into the wall and that would be really bad. In a way, you race your teammate maybe a little differently but more than that, you're able to swallow it, if he beats you, a little more. It's not that you race him differently it's just that you can kind of accept it if he beats you."
6:05 p.m. - Comments from Greg Biffle, who won Saturday's Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race:
Greg Biffle: "It was certainly an eventful day. I'm feeling a little under the weather for starters. Then we got caught speeding on pit road. I thought I had the RPM pegged on what we thought pit-road speed was but obviously we were one mile an hour over. The car was just so fast, we were able to drive right back through the field and work our way back to the front.
"I had a little (fuel) pickup (problem) on a pit stop and lost a spot. And then we ran out of gas there, which was kind of unexpected. It was pretty much out of gas coming out of (turn) two so I shut the engine off and coasted around and got the thing running at pit road speed to coast into the pit box. It worked out perfectly - it just had barely enough fuel to get it going after they plugged the gas in.
"It was a great day. The guys did a good job getting the car prepared and Citifinancial has stuck with us through tough times and there were a lot of fans here today. I was pretty happy to see how many fans were in the grandstands. I think it was a pretty good success all the way around."
5:04 p.m. - Greg Biffle edges Carl Edwards and wins the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Brian Vickers is third, Jason Leffler is fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishes fifth. Stay tuned for comments from the top drivers.
3:35 p.m. - At the halfway point of the Sam's Town 300, rookie Justin Allgaier is the leader in the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge. The race is under caution, the eighth of the afternoon.
2:30 p.m.- Kyle Busch and Scott Speed talk about the incident on lap 22 that sent both drivers to the garage:
Kyle Busch: "It was a mistake on my part battling for the lead that early in the race. I just should have known, that as good as this Z-Line Designs Toyota was driving, to just ride. Trying to get on the inside of (Kevin) Harvick there and got all the air taken off my side and spun out. It was 100-percent my fault trying to race for the lead."
Scott Speed: "It was a racing thing, you know. I think the 18 (Busch) spun out, being pinched down by the 33 (Harvick) on the bottom. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least we were fast. The car was running good. We were really tight at the beginning just to stay in the lead but it was coming together and I think we were going to have a really good car today. But it happens."
2:10 p.m. - The race is halted under a red flag after Kyle Busch spins coming out of Turn 4 and slides up into pole-sitter Scott Speed. Several cars, including Brendan Gaughan, spin trying to avoid the wreck. Track workers are busy cleaning up the debris and fluid on the track. Busch was taken to the infield care center, evaluated and released.
1:52 p.m. - The first caution of the Sam's Town 300 comes out on lap 7 when Denny Hamlin spins coming out of Turn 4. As the cars check up, Mike Bliss makes contact with Brad Keselowski and Keselowski hits the outside wall. Keselowski has heavy front-end damage. Brendan Gaughan, who started at the rear of the field, has raced his way to 12th place.
1:20 p.m. – Some quick facts about the Sam’s Town 300 at LVMS: No driver has participated in all 12 Las Vegas races. Jason Keller has raced in 11 of the 12, the most of any driver. ... Eight of the 12 races have been won from a top-10 starting position. ... Three drivers, Jeff Green (1997), Mark Martin (1999) and Jeff Burton (2002) have won the race from the pole. ... The deepest in the field a race winner has started was 29th by Joe Nemechek in 2003. ... Jeff Burton and Mark Martin are tied with three Sam’s Town 300 victories each. Of the two, only Burton is racing today.
12:50 p.m. - Sprint Cup Series Happy Hour is over and Jimmie Johnson, a three-time winner of the Cup event at LVMS, was fastest with a top lap of 182.587 mph. Jeff Gordon, Sam Hornish Jr., Kurt Busch and Mark Martin rounded out the top five in the final practice before Sunday's Shelby 427. Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was sixth fastest; defending race winner Carl Edwards was ninth; Matt Kenseth, who has won the first two races of the season, was 20th; and Dale Earnhardt Jr., fastest in the first practice, was 19th.
11:23 a.m. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (181.733 mph), Greg Biffle (181.561), Mark Martin (181.561), Kyle Busch (181.281) and Matt Kenseth (181.275) were the five fastest Cup drivers in today’s first practice for Sunday’s Shelby 427. Final practice will run from 11:45 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
10:40 a.m. – Scott Speed won the pole for today’s Sam’ Town 300 with a track-record qualifying lap of 182.451 mph. Speed will be joined on the front row by Kevin Harvick, who also broke the track record with a lap of 182.377. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice is underway right now and the Sam’s Town 300 will begin at 1:30 p.m. (PST).
10 a.m. – Brendan Gaughan will start at the rear of the field for today’s Sam’s Town 300, but the driver of the No. 62 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet couldn’t have been happier as he reflected on the events of the past 20 hours.
After leading the first practice session yesterday, Gaughan spun and hit the wall between Turns 1 and 2 during the second practice and his Rusty Wallace Racing crew was forced to pull out Gaughan’s backup car for this morning’s qualifying session. Despite having to race a car in which he was unable to practice, Gaughan is eagerly awaiting today’s 200-lap race.
“The neatest thing about where I’m at right now is confidence in your team,”Gaughan said after his qualifying run. “I remember back in 2003 with our (Orleans Racing Truck Series) team, it didn’t matter what truck it was, we were strong. Our primary car here was the fastest thing on the track. We pulled the backup out, hadn’t had a lap on it, and it feels so good to know that when you pull a racecarout that you’re not scared of it.
“All the guys worked late last night and early this morning getting this (backup) car ready. When you have something that’s that similar, it works. When I went out to qualify, for the first time in years I had the confidence to say I wasn’t worried.”
Gaughan said his approach to today’s race is simple.
“I’ve won from the back in Texas twice (in the Truck Series),” he said. “My thought is I’m in Vegas, I know I have a great racecar, Rusty Wallace and Chevy have given me great equipment ... let’s just pass people on the outside and go to the front.”
9 a.m. – Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway where race fans are in store for another great day. Once again, the sun is shining and the temperature is expected to climb to 70 degrees for today’s Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Qualifying for today’s race is expected to begin shortly. Check back here often, as we’ll be updating this blog throughout the day with news, stats and driver interviews.
6:15 p.m. - Comments from Kyle and Kurt Busch, who qualified first and second, respectively, for Sunday's Shelby 427:
Kyle: "It's cool that we're both up there and qualified on the front row. Unfortunately, for myself, I won't be in the cool photo at the drop of the green flag next to my brother up there; we'll have to drop to the back of the field for the engine change. I've got to give great thanks to the team.
They did an awesome job here today with the M&M's Toyota to get a new TRD power plant in that car and get it prepared. It takes some guesstimation to what our teammates were doing and what the rest of the field was doing as far as qualifying and practice. We didn't get any laps in qualifying trim so we went out there and sailed a lap as fast as I thought I needed to go and fortunately it was fast enough so it's pretty cool."
Kurt: "For us, I feel like we're doing the same thing behind the scenes: just working hard and trying to find a good combination to make the car run through the bumps but yet still have the front end getting the grip that it needs. It felt like a solid run to me through (turns) 1 and 2. Looking at the lap tracker, he had a little bit better 1 and 2 and that enabled him to beat us just a little bit. I felt like Kyle did, where there were going to be plenty of other guys that were going to come up there and knock us off. It feels good to get the Miller Lite Dodge to be running good. We qualified fourth last week and second this week. It's been a long off-season of scratching our heads and trying to find a good direction and so far it's paid off."
Kyle: "I think the faster speeds here this year were through the Goodyear Tire Company. They came here and tested and brought a different tire here this time. They've got to be really conscious of a new racetrack. Last year the racetrack was brand new so we were really fighting the too much grip in the racetrack. They had to bring a hard tire ... and this year they could soften it up a little bit and bring back a better tire and hopefully it will (make) for better racing on Sunday. I feel like the biggest issue in why the speeds picked up was just through the tire. And we're getting smarter. Everybody now this year, it's been a full year since we've been here developing this new car and I feel like that has a lot to do with it probably, as well.
"I wish we were starting up front so maybe we could get five bonus points early but unfortunately that's not the case. We'll have to dial up through there and pass everybody if we can and get there eventually during the day and try and get five bonus points. We won't be able to take to try to win the most bonus points for leading the most laps. But the scenario is now different, we've just got to take what's been given to us and try to battle it out on Sunday. The big check (goes to) the leader after the last lap, not the first lap."
Kurt: (Is Las Vegas as big to you as Indy is to Tony Stewart?) "You could say that. This is our hometown. Kyle and I grew up watching this place being built, grew up watching races here. It helped jump-start our careers so this place will always hold a special spot in my heart. It's definitely just as prestigious for the Busch brothers here in Vegas as it would be for Tony in Indy, for sure."
5:07 p.m. - Las Vegas natives Kyle and Kurt Busch qualified 1-2 for Sunday's Shelby 427 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the pair won't lead the field to the green flag Sunday because Kyle Busch's crew had to change the engine in his No. 18 Toyota prior to qualifying. He will start Sunday's race from the back of the field.
Kyle took the pole with a track-record lap of 185.995 mph. Kurt was second at 185.707. Jimmie Johnson, David Reutimann and Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five. Defending race winner Carl Edwards qualified 16th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 31st and Matt Kenseth, winner of the first two races this season, will start 41st.
Stay tuned for comments from today's top qualifiers.
4:35 p.m. - Elliott Sadler, who comes into Sunday's Shelby 427, talks about the approach his No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger team took coming into Las Vegas: "We showed up today as (if it was) a test session. We really had to run through some front-end geometry stuff and tire stuff because we weren't able to come here and test in January. I'm not saying that the no testing deal is bad; I think it's still great for the sport. But when we struggled at the end of last season and at California (last week), we came (to the track) today not worried about how fast we're going to run or how we're going to qualify, we did a test session running through different things that my guys can run on the simulation stuff tonight back at the hotel and maybe get idea on how we start tomorrow.
"It's hard for me to say where we're at compared to last year. We know we're not where we need to be to win a race on a mile-and-a-half yet as compared to California. We had to show up and test through some things today to try and get a direction. We might have to do it again during the first practice again tomorrow and maybe at Atlanta on Friday until we hit up on something that we feel is very comfortable, very fast and that we'll be competitive on Sunday."
4 p.m. - Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Las Vegas Motor Speedway and six other NASCAR tracks, is teaming with NASCAR drivers to bring fans closer to their favorite driver through a series of fan forums at each of the 13 Sprint Cup Series races at SMI tracks.
Beginning with this weekend's race at LVMS, Performance Racing Network's on-air personalities will emcee question-and-answer sessions with the sport's biggest personalities at the SPEED Stage at each SMI track. The new "PRN Up to Speed" program kicks off Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the SPEED Stage in the LVMS midway. This weekend's lineup includes drivers Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon and team owner Richard Childress.
"I thought it was awesome," Gordon said of the announcement, which was made Friday in the track's fan-friendly Neon Garage. "They do such a great job here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway of taking care of the fans. I think that we definitely have to do all that we can to show them how much we appreciate them.
"Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the first one to step up and really do something and what I'm really excited about is they worked with the drivers on how it's going to impact their schedule and how we can do it to where it's fun, exciting, doesn't impact our focus on race day and really allows the fans to have a great experience."
3:30 p.m. - Las Vegas is Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s kind of town. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports said he was impressed with the number of fans who turned out on Friday for practice and qualifying at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"Obviously we appreciate it a lot for anybody that comes out and watches either in person or on television," he said. "We've got a lot of people in the stands today. This is a good market and I feel like we can be successful here -not only for the people who are local but having a race in a town like Vegas brings in a lot of people from outside, too.
"It makes for a great trip - you come to Vegas for three or four days and then you see a race, too. It's something Fontana and a couple other tracks on the circuit don't have. I don't think Vegas is going to have too hard a time selling tickets. I think this place is pretty popular." Earnhardt drew the 23rd position for qualifying, which began at 3:40 p.m.
1:45 p.m. - Mark Martin, who won the inaugural Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1998, was fastest in today's practice for Sunday's Shelby 427 Sprint Cup Series race. Martin's lap of 184.313 mph in the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/Carquest Chevy was considerably faster than last year's pole-winning lap of 182.352 by Kyle Busch.
David Reutimann was second fastest at 184.181 in the No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota and David Stremme was third at 183.849 in the No. 12 Penske Dodge. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Kurt Busch was sixth fastest; Kyle Busch spent most of the time in the garage with his No. 18 Toyota and turned only four laps; defending race winner Carl Edwards was 13th on the speed chart; and Matt Kenseth, who won the first two races of the season, was 26th.
Qualifying for the Shelby 427 will begin at 3:40 p.m. (PST). Final practice for Saturday's Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 is underway.
1:15 p.m. - Although his name has been brought up in conjunction with a new U.S. Formula One team that is being put together, Kyle Busch said he is not looking to jump from NASCAR to F1 with the startup team. But Busch, 23, didn't rule out the possibility of going overseas in the future to race if the circumstances were right.
"If I could win a championship here in the next two or three years, then I wouldn't mind going over there and doing that, trying it for a few years and coming back," Busch said Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I think I'd still be young enough that if I could win a championship by 25, go run Formula One for a few years, be back by 28 (and) I'd still have plenty of time left to run in NASCAR.
"But a lot of things would have to work out for that to happen and you'd have to be guaranteed a spot with a team to come back with. That's not always possible."
12:15 p.m. - Brendan Gaughan, a Las Vegas native who probably has turned more laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway than any other driver, led the first Nationwide Series practice session with a lap of 177.497 mph. Kevin Harvick was second fastest at 177.247 and Greg Biffle was third at 176.869. The smoke coming from the car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the first lap of practice was the result of an oil leak as opposed to a blown engine. He got back on track late in the session and was 10th fastest in the session.
11:29 a.m. - The morning got off to a rough start for two Sprint Cup Series drivers who are competing in Saturday's Sam's Town 200 Nationwide Series race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew an engine in his No. 5 Go Daddy Chevrolet on his first lap of practice and Greg Biffle tagged the wall and damaged his No. 16 citifinancial Ford. With about half an hour left in the session, both drivers are back on the track and Biffle is atop the speed chart with a lap of 176.869 mph.
10:36 a.m. - Good morning from Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the sun is shining and the temperature is about 64 degrees as the first NASCAR Nationwide Series cars hit the track for practice. Carl Edwards, Steve Wallace and Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan were among the first cars on the track this morning.
No fewer than 15 Sprint Cup drivers are scheduled to come through the LVMS media center today for interview sessions, including Edwards, the defending Sprint Cup race winner at LVMS, and local favorites Kurt and Kyle Busch. Check back here often, as we'll be updating this blog throughout the day with news, stats and plenty of driver interviews.
Hey there race fans! I don't know about you, but I am getting totally excited about next weekend's racing events. It will be here in less than seven days!
There is so much racing that will be happening between Wednesday and Sunday, that it will make your head spin! I am looking forward to taking in the action of the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and Midgets on Wednesday and , the World of Outlaws and the Bomber races on Thursday night.
Then the action continues with, zMAX Pole Day on Friday, the Sam's Town 300 on Saturday and the Shelby 427 on Sunday. Can you tell this is one of my favorite weekends of the year?! I even heard that a few of our favorite Sprint Cup drivers will be racing at The Dirt Track and you also never know who might show up to catch a little racing action! I can tell you that Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley will be participating on Wednesday night and Tony Stewart Racing will have a few entries as well. There is a little insider tip for you!
I will be very busy throughout the weekend though. I am going to be working in the infield with a few of my fellow Bullring compadres and we will be helping keep the peace in the middle of the caos I can say I will easily walk about 30 miles over the four days that we will be there, it will probably be even more though! Don't hesitate to stop and say hello if you happen to be in the infield area...I'd be glad to chat with you.
I want everyone to enjoy all the racing action! If you need tickets to any of the week's racing events, please give the ticket office a call at 1-800-644-4444 and someone will be happy to help you.
Have a great week and I'll see you at the races!
Dear Race Fans:
Get your Sharpies ready!
The most important people who will visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway this year are you - the race fans. And we're taking steps to make this year's event better than ever.
The first thing that all fans with Neon Garage passes will notice is the open autograph windows in each driver's garage bay. These windows can be opened only from the inside by the race teams, but rest assured that many of the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series feel the same way that we do about our race fans, they'll be eager to sign your hats, programs and souvenirs. And if you have a weekend Neon Garage pass, don't forget you'll receive a 1:64-scale replica of the Earnhardt-Elvis Legacy Series car that will be unveiled Friday in the Neon Garage.
But the fan amenities don't stop there. We've lowered our concessions prices on all beverages and soft drinks, and for those arriving early, have a $2 breakfast combo consisting of a breakfast sandwich and coffee.
Another new element to enhance the fan experience is the addition of our Fast Chats sessions in the midway, where various drivers and NASCAR-related celebrities will take questions from you, the race fan. We'll post the driver lineup and schedule to our website prior to the race. These Q&A sessions will take place in the area near the SPEED stage (behind the main grandstand).
We also want to know when you see something we need to improve on. Please call our Fan Assistance Hotline at 702-632-8006 or text to 37686. If you still need assistance after contacting fan assistance, then email me directly at email@example.com. I'll be carrying a Blackberry with me all weekend and will make sure someone responds to your needs in a timely manner.
Again, we at Las Vegas Motor Speedway work for you, the race fan. And we want you to enjoy your experience here and make this an annual "must see" event. Safe travels to the speedway, and we look forward to seeing you.
Chris Powell, President
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Hey there race fans!!! Can you believe that January is already gone and we are five days into February already!?!? It just makes me realize that race season is just around the corner! Only 22 days until NASCAR Weekend...I am totally excited! And, we are a little less than six weeks away from opening night at the Bullring...it will be here before we know it. I am counting down the days!! :)
I think I am most excited about seeing the Bandoleros and Legend cars (the cars I am used to flagging at the Bullring) going down The Strip on Saturday and Sunday. I worked at the drag strip last weekend and was tickled pink to watch a couple of the Legends run a pretty decent pass. I do have to admit, it was a little weird seeing those little cars go down the track (they look so tiny on that track)...but Frank and Justin did great!!!! I can't wait to see who comes out this weekend to try it out! If you aren't busy and are looking for a bit of local racing to watch, head out to The Strip and take a peek on Saturday and/or Sunday morning. I promise you will have a good time! You can also get a look at the junior dragster program as well.
Don't forget we have Midnight Mayhem Presented by MetroPCS this Friday night. This weekend you can catch me in the timeslip booth on Friday and Saturday. So if you come out to The Strip, make sure you stop by and say hi!
Until then...see you at the races!