NASCAR Race Weekend Day 4 - Sunday Updates
By Lori Vizza
6:50 pm : That's a Wrap - This concludes the coverage of race weekend. The Busch brothers did Las Vegas proud with a victory, two poles, a new track qualifying record and a new race record while Kyle came within six laps of making it a clean sweep for the family. Brad Keselowski won in the Sprint Cup Series for the first time in nearly a year and the 1-2 finish with Joey Logano kicked off Team Penske's 50th Anniversary year with style.
6:00 pm : Keselowski Clinches Spot in 2016 Chase - Keselowski's victory snapped a 33-race winless streak. His most recent trip to Victory Lane came at California Speedway nearly a year ago.
"It's hard to believe it's been 34 races (since last victory)," said Keselowski, who posted his 18th career victory. We've led a lot of races in that time span, probably deserved to win a few more races than that. That's just kind of how racing goes sometimes. Thrilled to be locked into the Chase so early in the season, which is a tremendous feeling for our team, one that we're of course very thankful for. Team Penske, 50th anniversary, this is the first win of the year. That feels really good."
5:50 pm : Blaney Highest Finishing Rookie - Ryan Blaney did the Wood Brothers proud with a solid sixth place effort at LVMS. He started 14th and ran in the top 10 for the majority of the race. It was an especially gratifying finish after the trouble Blaney had at Atlanta last week.
"Getting spun out (at Atlanta) on the last lap kind of got us down a lot," said Blaney. "To come here and have a solid run all day really ups the spirits. We progressively got better throughout the day. That's really all you can ask for. We were really, really strong there with 30 laps on our tires. We cold really start making a lot of ground."
4:09 pm : Keselowski Wins the Kobalt 400 - Brad Keselowski passed Kyle Busch with six laps to go and went on to record his 18th career victory in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Joey Logano finished second to complete the Team Penske 1-2 sweep while Jimmy Johnson rounded out the top 3.
Busch's car faded in the closing laps forcing the reigning series champion to settle for a fourth place finish.
3:56 pm : Lap 250 Update - Kyle Busch continues to lead and has stretched his advantage to 1.3 seconds over Logano.
Rounding out the top 10 are Keselowski, Johnson, Dillon, Blaney, Harvick, Truex, Earnhardt, Kurt Busch, Kahne
3:45 pm : Caution #6, Lap 226 - Multicar crash in Turn 2 involves Kenseth, Elliott, and Kurt Busch
Just before that crash Kyle Busch made a bonzai three-wide move to take the lead
Casey Mears gets the free pass
Kyle Busch chooses to restart in the outside lane.
Running order before the restart: Kyle Busch, Logano, Keselowski, Dillon, Johnson, Truex, Blaney, Kahne, Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt
Back to green on Lap 233
3:35 pm : Caution #5, Lap 215 - Kyle Larson and Regan Smith make contact between Turns 3 and 4. Smith was running 24th at the time. Larson was running 34th, one lap down.
Johnson took the lead from Kenseth just before that caution.
Pit stops for the cars on the lead lap - they should be able to go the distance if the race remains green.
Logano, Keselowski, Dillon stay on the track
Smith is penalized for speeding.
Running order before the restart: Logano, Keselowski, Dillon, Johnson, Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Truex, Earnhardt
Kurt Busch is back to 15th - had a loose lug nut when he came in
We're under another extended caution as the wind swirls around and litters the track with debris.
The crews of Logano, Keselowski and Dillon are gambling that they'll either get enough caution laps to make it the rest of the way on fuel or weather will cut the race short.
Back to green on Lap 224
3:15 pm : Caution #4, Lap 199 - Kyle Larson spins out on the backstretch and hits the outside wall. Larson was battling AJ Allmendinger at the time for the first spot one lap down when he lost control.
The leaders come down pit road. Most of the teams take two tires only. Logano takes 4.
Running order after stops: Kenseth, Johnson, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Kurt Busch, Truex, Elliott, Logano, Edwards, Blaney, Earnhardt
This caution has been extended because a huge dust storm just outside the track is blowing sand and dirt toward the speedway.
Back to green on Lap 204
3:01 pm : Caution #3, Lap 179 - Debris in Turn 1
Right before that caution, Logano caught Johnson and passed him for the lead in traffic
The leaders come to pit road.
Trevor Bayne gets the free pass.
Keselowski is penalized for speeding.
Running order after pit stops: Logano, Harvick, Kenseth, Blaney, Johnson, Elliott, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch
Green flag with 82 laps to go.
2:40 pm : Green Flag Pit Stops - We are going through a second round of green flag pit stops. Truex pits on Lap 147. Edwards makes his stop on Lap 148.
Lap 149 - Johnson gives up the lead to make a stop. Hamlin is also in.
Lap 150 - Kyle Busch, Earnhardt, Dillon, Kenseth make their stops
Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Kyle Larson and Greg Biffle are penalized for speeding on pit road
Lap 151 - Logano, Elliott and Keselowski make stops
Running order after pit stops: Johnson, Logano, Harvick, Kenseth, Blaney, Kyle Busch, Kurth Busch, Earnhardt, Kahne
2:25 pm : Update Lap 125 - We're just shy of the halfway point and Johnson is making two new tires work a little better than Hamlin did. He continues to lead and has a .6-second lead over Logano.
Running order: Johnson, Logano, Harvick, Kenseth, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Elliott, Blaney, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards
2:15 pm : Caution #2, Lap 100 - The caution flies for the second time for debris on the track. The culprit is a piece of metal debris on the frontstretch.
Pit stops under caution.
Johnson takes 2 tires and wins the race off pit road
Harvick and Kyle Busch also take 2 tires.
Dillon has a slow stop and falls out of the top 10
Truex has to make a second stop to tight two lug nuts on the left rear tire
Trevor Bayne gets the free pass.
Running order after pit stops: Johnson, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Keselowski, Logano, Elliott, Kenseth, Blaney, Kahne, Ryan Newman
Back to green on Lap 105
2:00 pm : Green Flag Stops - Hamlin is the first driver on the lead lap to make a green flag pit stop on Lap 82.
Lap 83 - Truex and Biffle are on pit road.
Lap 84 - Logano gives up the lead to pit. He's followed by Keselowski.
AJ Allmendinger is penalized for speeding on entry to pit road.
Chris Beuscher is penalized for an uncontrolled tire.
Running order on Lap 88 after the round of green flag stops: Keselowski, Logano, Johnson, Harvick, Smith, Elliott, Dillon, Blaney, Earnhardt, Kahne
Kyle Busch is in 11th while Kurt Busch is 18th.
1:50 pm : Lap 75 Update - Joey Logano continues to lead. Hamlin has dropped back to 19th after that two-tire stop.
Cole Whitt has gone behind the wall with a mechanical issue.
Kenseth makes an unscheduled pit stop for a vibration. A wheel weight was missing off the left rear tire.
Running order: Logano, Keselowski, Johnson, Smith, Elliott, Dillon, Harvick, Blaney, Earnhardt, Kahne
1:40 pm : Lap 50 Update - Hamlin's two tires are no match for the competition as he starts to backslide through the field.
Running Order: Logano, Kenseth, Keselowski, Johnson, Truex
Kurt Busch is back up to 25th after the speeding penalty.
Kyle Busch is running 11th.
1:35 pm : Caution #1, Lap 30 - NASCAR throughs the competition caution and the 34 cars still on the lead lap head for pit road.
Michael Annett gets the free pass back onto the lead lap.
Kurt Busch is penalized for speeding on entry to pit road. Clint Bowyer is penalized for an uncontrolled tire.
Regan Smith stays out to lead a lap under caution before making his pit stop.
Running order after pit stops - Hamlin (2 tire), Keselowski, Logano, Martin Truex, Kenseth, Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne
Back to green on Lap 36
1:25 pm - Lap 25 Update - Kurt Busch has had a piece of debris stuck to his front grill since shortly after the race started but so far it hasn't caused him any problems. Busch had led every lap so far. He caught the tail end of the field on Lap 21 and is starting to lap cars.
2nd-5th: Kurt Bush, Logano, Kenseth, Keselowski, Dillon
1:11 pm : Kobalt 400 Green Flag - After a short weather delay, the drivers get the command to start engines. Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray will drop to the rear of the field in their backup cars. NASCAR will throw a competition caution at Lap 30.
Due to the wind, the crews have had to remove their high pit signs, which the drivers rely on to guide into the proper pit box. Another thing the drivers will have to contend with all day (and something else Dale, Jr. mentioned just a few moments ago) is the debris that is sure to litter the track throughout the afternoon.
A little bit of rain on the backstretch is forcing the drivers to take some extra pace laps. The good news is, the sky looks clear to the south.
Green Flag - Kurt Bush crosses the start/finish line and the race is on. Busch pulls out to the lead by the time the field reaches Turn 1.
Top 5 on Lap 1: Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon
12:30 pm : Mother Nature Update - The wind kicked into overdrive about 15 minutes ago sending people all over the infield scrambling for cover. A few random raindrops (so much for that 0% chance of rain after 10 pm forecast) have prompted the crews to cover their cars.
Pre-race festivities have concluded, including the singing of the national anthem.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took a spin through the Deadline Press Room just a few minutes ago and wondered aloud if it's not too windy to race. "I'm intrigued," he said.
The crews are uncovering the cars and the drivers are headed for their cars.
11:00 am : RCR and AAA Mid-Atlantic Finalize Sponsorship Agreement - AAA Mid-Atlantic and Richard Childress Racing have reached a sponsorship agreement that names the iconic member service organization as the primary sponsor for the No 3 Chevrolet driven by Austin Dillon in select Sprint Cup Series races in 2016. The company will also serve as team's associate sponsor for the rest of the season and primary sponsor for RCR's No 33 Xfinity Series entry at Kentucky this summer.
With this announcement, Childress confirmed that the No 3 team is fully sponsored for the remainder of the season. The team is still seeking primary sponsorship for the No. 31 Cup team for less than a handful of races as well as backing for the No 33 Xfinity team for a few more events.
10:10 am : Edwards Welcomes Challenge of Racing from the Back - Carl Edwards posted a lap that was 24th fastest during qualifying but a flat right rear tire cost him the
opportunity to actually start there. The ensuing crash was severe enough to send Edwards to a back up car for the race and that means he starts at the rear of the
Edwards' crew must have done a pretty good job preparing the secondary car because their driver set the pace for yesterday's morning practice and ended up second on the time sheet after the final practice.
"(The crew) is good dealing with adversity," Edwards confirmed. "In a way, starting from the rear is kind of fun. Other than the fact that it's harder, it's kind of a neat challenge. I've done it a bunch in my career. I think statistically when we start in the rear we do pretty well. We'll just go for it."
9:40 am : Wind Blows, But What Are You Gonna Do? - The high winds forecast for this afternoon's race have many people wondering how it will affect competition.
"I don't really know how we are supposed to adjust for that," said Joey Logano, who starts alongside pole winner Kurt Busch. "What we do hope is that is is a constant wind. The gusts of wind is what crashes cars. If you get big gusts the car jumps out of the race track and leads you into the wall or spins you right out. It's not like we know what direction it is going to be blowing on the race trak. I don't know, at least. Maybe some weather guy can tell me."
If he can't find a weather guy, maybe Logano should stop by the Monster Energy hauler for a chat Kurt Busch. The Vegas native knows a thing or two about wind in his hometown.
"The speed of the wind will push us big time from a southwest direction into Turn 3," Busch explained. "So when you have a tailwind multiplied by 30 mph, that's a headwind of 30 mph down the front straightaway. So that's a swing of 60 mph. That's a significant difference that these cars are going to feel.
Austin Dillon is not weather man either but he finished fifth in yesterday's Boyd Gaming 300 and got a firsthand taste of what the wind can do to the cars under race conditions.
"I'll tell you what, it was rocking my motorhome all this morning," said Dillon, who starts 5th. "Yesterday in the Xfinity cars you could definitely tell down the frontstretch it was killing the power."
7:30 am : Kobalt 400 Race Day Good Morning - We're getting ready for today's main event and the teams are thinking about two things this morning, the weather and what they have to do to beat the Busch brothers on their home turf.
The weather, of course, they have no control over. The forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers this morning and windy conditions all day. The good news is, the chance of rain drops to 0% after 10 am and stays that way throughout the afternoon and evening.
The wind, which is already starting to kick in will be at its strongest during the race. And while that may make it uncomfortable for some of the drivers, unless something unusual happens, it shouldn't affect today's race schedule.
As for the Busch brothers, their competitors must be wondering if they plan on leaving any crumbs for the rest of them. some may they are being quite stingy this weekend at their home track.
Big brother Kurt is starting on the pole for today's event with a new track qualifying record. Little brother Kyle won yesterday's Xfinity race from the pole and led all but one lap.
Kyle starts 23rd and will have to pass almost half the field before he has a chance to battle his brother but he feels confident that the team had a productive enough final practice to give him a shot at a solid top five finish.
Driver intros are scheduled for high noon and the green flag is scheduled to drop at 12:30 pm.