Sunday Race Blog
6:00 pm - Good Night! - That's a wrap for this weekend's coverage from LVMS! Congratulations to race winners Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick. Be sure to join us again in October for the NASCAR Camping World Series Rhino Linings 350.
5:36 pm - Take That, Silly Superstition! - During his post-race press conference, Harvick was asked if he had any superstitions associated with his race day preparations.
"I have this dumb superstition," Harvick replied. "I used to look at the clock and it used to say 9:11. I'd say, 'Oh, man, this is going to be a terrible day.' I looked at the clock this morning and it said 9:11 and I said, 'I've got your ass today!'
5:25 pm - Harvick Leads Points After LVMS Victory - Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick took over the points lead with his victory today. He is nine points ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr, who moved from 4th to 2nd with today's 4th place finish.
Joey Logano dropped from 1st to 3rd after his 10th place finish. He is 11 points behind Harvick.
Hamlin finished 4th and made the biggest jump in the points from 19th all the way to 8th.
5:17 pm - Gordon 18th in Final LVMS Race - Jeff Gordon was hoping for a finish better than 18th in his final start at LVMS, but considering he started from the rear in a backup car with no practice laps on it, the result could have been much worse.
Gordon had fought his way into the top 10 by Lap 159 but when Jimmie Johnson blew a tire on Lap 172, Gordon and Jeb Burton made contact as the two slowed on the track to avoid Johnson's wreck. The contact did enough damage to the front of Gordon's car that he was never in contention after that.
"It ruined our day with this 3M Chevrolet and certainly ruined the front end," said Gordon about the contact. "Our car just wouldn't go down the straightaway and it was real tight."
4:44 pm - Blown Tires Ruin Johnson's Day - Jimmie Johnson led the Kobalt 400 two times for 45 laps but his strong run came to an abrupt end when a blown right front tire on Lap 172 put him into the outside wall. Just 14 laps later, he lost another right front tire and hit the outside wall in Turn 4.
"The first one, they said the bead blew on it," said Johnson, who finished 41st, four laps behind the leaders. "We don’t have any brake temp here, so I don’t know what could have caused that. That’s kind of a freak deal. The second one, it went soft. So, there could have been some damage that caused it or some rub or something like that. We certainly had an awesome racecar. I wish we could have won this Kobalt race in this Kobalt car, but we’ll come back next week."
4:20 pm - Truex Posts Best LVMS Finish - With a second place finish at LVMS, Martin Truex Jr now has three consecutive top 10 starts and is poised to enjoy the best season of his career. It marked his best finish in 10 starts here. He continues a run that has him ranked higher in the points than any other driver for Furniture Row Racing has ever been at this point in the season in its 10-year history.
"We were off a little bit at the beginning of the race and worked on it all day long," said Truex. "It continued to get better and at the end of the day, we were the best we'd been all day. That’s what you like to see out of your team. We’ve got a lot of momentum on our side right now and hopefully we can keep building on that."
3:45 pm - Harvick Wins the Kobalt 400 - Kevin Harvick is celebrating his first LVMS victory with a massive burnout on the frontstretch and shreds the tires on his No 4 Chevrolet in the process.
"It's so cool to win here in Las Vegas and start this West Coast swing off this way is pretty awesome," said Harvick in Victory Lane. "Just to be in front of all these fans I’ve raced in front of since about the mid-'90’s. It’s pretty special to win here."
Harvick started 18th and beat Truex to the start/finish line by 1.6 seconds. It was his fourth victory in the last nine races and his sixth consecutive finish of 1st or 2nd.
3:36 pm - Kobalt 400 Checkers - With 9 laps to go, Earnhardt is losing spots. Truex moves into 2nd and Newman takes over 3rd, dropping Earnhardt back to 4th.
With 6 laps to go, Harvick is coming up on heavy lapped traffic.
4 laps to go - Harvick's lead is still 2.2 seconds over Truex despite the traffic.
1 to go - Harvick takes the white flag and cruises to his 29th career victory.
2nd-5th: Truex, Newman, Earnhardt, Hamlin
3:30 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #15 - Lap 248: Running order: Keselowski, Logano, Burton,
Lap 251 – Keselowki peels off the track for his stop – he gets two tires
Lap 252 – Harvick has cycled back into the lead. Behind him are Earnhardt, Truex, Gordon (who has not yet stopped), Newman, Hamlin, Larson, Allmendinger, Kenseth, Keselowski
Lap 254 – Harvick has a 2.5-second lead over Earnhardt after that round of stops
Lap 256 – Gordon comes to pit road for his final stop.
3:25 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #14 – Lap 221 – Stenhouse brushes the outside wall but we stay green.
Lap 226 – Harvick has increased his lead over Eanrhardt to 2.1 seconds
Lap 230 – Kenseth begins this round of green flag pit stops. Truex and Hamlin are also on pit road
Lap 232 – Harvick gives up the lead to pit and Earnhardt is right behind him. Harvick takes 4 tires and Earnhardt takes 2.
Newman is now leading for the first time today.
Lap 233 – Menard, Bayne, Blaney and Cassill pit
Lap 234 – Vickers is on pit road
Lap 236 – Dillon comes to pit road
Lap 237 – Ragan pits
Newman, Keselowski, Logano, Smith, Kahne and Gordon are the drivers who still need to make another stop but they are hoping to catch a caution
Lap 245 – Newman gives up the lead to make his stop handing the lead to Keselowski. Newman takes 2 tires
3:10 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #13 - Back to green on Lap 199 – Earnhardt Jr takes the lead from Harvick on Lap 200. And here comes Harvick back on the high side to retake the lead on Lap 201.
Carl Edwards accepts the blame for putting Kahne into the wall.
Lap 209 – Harvick has a 1.5 second lead over Earnhardt
Gordon is running 17th and not nearly as strong since he sustained damage from contact with Jeb Burton when Johnson blew a tire the first time.
There are 18 cars on the lead lap. Blaney is the first driver one lap down.
2:52 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #12 - Yellow #5 on Lap 187 – Johnson blows another right front tire and hits the wall again, this time off Turn 4.
Pit stops for some of the drivers from 9th place back, including Logano and Gordon
Running order under caution: Harvick, Kahne, Earnhardt, Hamlin, Edwards, McMurray, Truex, Kenseth, Newman, Biffle
Harvick has led 87 laps – In his previous 14 starts at LVMS he had led a combined total of 81 laps
Back to green on Lap 193
Harvick gets a push from
Kahne bounces off the wall on Lap 194 after getting squeezed into the wall by Edwards. Kahne comes back down the track and as they enter Turn 1, the two make contact again. Edwards slides sideways, almost saves it and then hits the inside wall.
Edwards goes to the garage with a broken oil cooler.
The caution flies for the 6th time on Lap 195.
Running order under caution: Harvick, Earnhardt, Truex, Hamlin, Newman, McMurray, Larson, Kenseth, Allmendinger and Vickers
2:38 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #11 - The 4th caution flies on Lap 172 as Jimmie Johnson blows a tire and slams hard into the outside wall just before the entrance to Turn 1.
Behind Johnson, Jeff Gordon makes contact with Jeb Burton, who scrapes the wall
The lead lap cars pit
Keselowski gets the free pass
Harvick beats the field off pit road.
Running order under caution: Harvick, Kahne, Earnhardt, Hamlin, Newman, Edwards, Kenseth, Truex, Allmendinger
Gordon makes a second spot – the crew was working on the right front portion of the hood where he made contact with Burton.
Logano is penalized for speeding on pit road. He was 4th but will have to fall to the back of the pack.
JJ Yeley is penalized for a tire getting away.
Trevor Bayne is penalized for driving through too many pit boxes.
Back to green on Lap 178
2:30 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #10 - Lap 156 – Kahne gets around Truex for 2nd.
Lap 158 – Harvick's lead over Kahne is 1.4 seconds.
Lap 159 – Gordon is now running 10th, 8.1 seconds behind the leader
Keselowski, running 18th, is the first driver one lap down and Johnson is the second driver a lap back, so those two will battle it out to be in position for the free pass the next time the caution flies.
We're past halfway and just one driver has dropped out of the race. That would be Alex Bowman who lost an engine as the competition caution flew on Lap 27.
2:20 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #9 - Several drivers further back in the pack take advantage of this caution to come back to pit road. Among them are Hamlin, Gordon,
Brian Vickers got the free pass. There are now 17 cars on the lead lap.
Top 10 under caution: Harvick, Kahne, Truex, Earnhardt, Logano, Edwards, Menard, Newman, Gordon and Hamlin
Back to green on Lap 145: Truex gets a great start and sweeps around Harvick to take the lead for the first time today.
Lap 148 - Michael Annett scrapes the wall but we stay green
Lap 149 – Harvick gets the lead back from Truex
2:10 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #8 - On Lap 126, Harvick continues to lead by 2.5 seconds over Kahne. Earnhardt is third.
Lap 128 – Truex gives up 10th place to make a pit stop
Lap 130 – Gordon, Dillon, Biffle, Hamlin all come to pit road
Lap 131 – More pit stops: Kahne, Earnhardt, Kenseth
Lap 132 – Harvick comes to pit road and hands the lead to Keselowski
Lap 134 – Keselowski and McMurray are on pit road
Keselwoski's team lets a tire get loose and they'll get penalized for that.
Lap 136 – Logano has inherited the lead and is the only driver on the track that still needs to make a stop
Lap 138 – Logano pits
Harvick cycles back into the lead and the caution flies to retrieve the No 2 car's tire from the infield gas
Running order under caution: Harvick, Kahne, Truex, Earnhardt
1:50 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #7 - Green flag on Lap 87.
Gordon restarts in 14th as he continues his march to the front. Ragan has lost a lap and runs 24th.
Lap 88 – 21 cars remain on the lead lap
Upon further review, that tire that got away from Stewart's crew was actually punted by the car driven by David Gilliland. The team reviews the tape with a NASCAR official but it's too late. Damage is done and there's no taking it back now.
Lap 92 – Johnson gives up the lead and comes pit road for a loose right front wheel. That will drop him from the lead lap as Harvick takes over the lead.
Johnson rejoins the field in 34th, one lap down.
Running order on Lap 96 – Harvick, Kahne, Earnhardt, Hamlin, Truex, Larson, Edwards, Newman, Keselowski, AJ Allmendinger
1:39 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #6 - We're under caution for the 2nd time today on Lap 83 for debris in Turn 1.
The leaders stay out but some drivers do come to pit road. The Penske teammates of Keselowski and Logano are among those. McMurray also pits
Alrmirola gets penalized for speeding on pit road.
Under caution, the top 5 are: Johnson, Kahne, Harvick, Earnhardt and Hamlin
Brian Vickers gets the free pass and Tony Stewart's team is penalized for letting a tire get away.
1:35 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #5 - Lap 64 - Tony Stewart, running 30th, loses a lap to Johnson and there are now 29 cars on the lead lap.
Top 5 on Lap 67: Johnson, Earnhardt, Harvick, Kahne, Larson
Lap 71 – Casey Mears makes the first green flag stop of the day.
Lap 73 – Hamlin passes Larson for 5th place.
Lap 75 – Keselowski, Logano, Ryan Blaney and Jeb Burton makes their pit stops
Lap 76 – Newman and Truex come to pit road
Lap 77 – Earnhardt makes his stop and so does Gordon, Greg Biffle and Kyl Larson
Lap 78 – Johnson gives up the lead to come to pit road.
Lap 79 – Kenseth has inherited lead and now he comes to pit road on Lap 80.
Lap 82 – After that round of green flag pit stops Johnson resumes the lead. He's followed by Kahne, Harvick, Earnhardt and Hamlin
1:25 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #4 - Kevin Harvick took four tires on that first pit stop and he is now storming through the field. On Lap 50, he's running 5th.
Running order on Lap 53: Johnson, Earnhardt, Kahne, Logano, Harvick, Truex, Keselowski, Larson, Hamlin, Edwards
Gordon is in 17th and continuing to move forward slowly but surely.
1:15 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #3 - On Lap 33, Gordon has come halfway through the pack and is currently running 22nd. Ragan is struggling, though, and still way back in 31st.
Back up front…Logano has retaken the lead and behind him it's Earnhardt, Johnson, Truex and Keselowski.
Johnson gets around Earnhardt and sets his sights on the leader.
Lap 41 – Johnson catches Logano in Turn 1 and takes a peek inside but falls back into 2nd.
Lap 43 – Johnson takes another stab at the lead in Turn 1 and this time he makes it stick. That puts the Kobalt car on the point for the Kobalt 400.
1:10 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #2 - Lap 27- Competition Caution – Logano has already lapped 7 cars and that caution erases a 1.1 second lead over Earnhardt.
The lead lap cars come to pit road.
The 7 car driven by Alex Bowman is smoking heavily. He stays out so he can lead a lap but he's running along the apron to avoid dropping any fluid in the racing groove.
Most of the teams change two tires. Kahne's team changes 4 tires
Allgaier, Johnson and Hamlin come close to wrecking on pit road. There was some contact between Hamlin and Allgaier.
Michael McDowell gets the free pass.
Running order under caution: Earnhardt, Logano, Keselowski, Johnson, Truex
Green flag flies on Lap 30.
12:55 pm - Kobalt 400 Update #1 - With 10 laps complete, Logano has stretched his lead to 1.2 seconds ahead of Earnhardt. Kahne runs 3rd, followed by Larson and Martin Truex, Jr.
Gordon has advanced to the 30th position and Ragan is in 37th.
12:50 pm - Kobalt 400 Green Flag - The cars are on the track. Jeff Gordon and David Ragan drop to the rear of the field.
There will be a competition caution on Lap 25 for the teams to check on tire wear. Any driver who pits before then will not be allowed to add fuel.
Green flag! Joey Logano gets a good start and immediately pulls out to the lead.
Lap 1: Logano, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth
11:12 am - Wait…What?!? – Gary LeVox, lead vocalist for Rascal Flatts, cracked media members up with the following remark during a press conference.
"We're here to drive the 48 car today and we're really excited about that," he said. "No one knew until just now."
Rascal Flatts is here, of course, to sing the National Anthem and give the command to start engines.
According to bass guitarist Jay DeMarcus, even the pros get butterflies when performing before a live audience of more than 100,000 and millions more on TV.
"It's very nerve-wracking to sing the anthem," said DeMarcus. "It's a very rangy song and it's got a lot of words to it that you can blank out on in a heartbeat. It's pretty intense when you’re up there but it’s one of the most exhilarating things and terrifying things
10:30 am - Countdown to the Kobalt 400 - The drivers' and crew chiefs' meeting has just started in the Neon Garage.
Here’s the rest of the schedule for today’s pre-race festivities:
12:04 pm – Driver introductions with guest announcer Robin Leach doing today’s honors
12:20 pm – Red Bull Air Race Demonstration outside of Turn 3
12:31 pm – Rascal Flatts performs the National Anthem
12:32 pm – US Air Force Thunderbirds Fly-By
12:37 pm – Rascal Flatts gives the command to start engines
12:46 pm – Start of the Race (267 laps/400.5 miles)
9:08 am - Gordon Going for 2nd LVMS Victory - Jeff Gordon was looking forward to leading the field to the green flag for today's Kobalt 400 in his quest for a second LVMS victory. But when Danica Patrick spun during the final practice, it messed up the plan.
Gordon was unable to avoid the contact that forced him to a backup car and to the rear of the field for the start of today’s race. Patrick’s primary car is still good to go, so she’ll keep her 21st place position on the grid.
In 17 starts at LVMS, Gordon has posted 6 top 5s and 8 top 10s. Friday’s pole was his first at the Speedway and that’s something Danica couldn’t take away.
Gordon’s finishes in the first two races of the season are a far cry from what he was looking for. After crashes relegated him to 33rd and 41st place finishes at Daytona and Atlanta, respectively, he is mired way back in 36th place in the point standings. Still, it’s not his worst start to a season. That came in 1996 when he finished 42nd and 40th in the first two races of the year. He went on to post 10 victories and finished 2nd to teammate Terry Labonte in the point standings.
"It is not how you start," said Gordon. "It’s how you finish. I’m hoping that is the kind of season that we have ahead of us."
In 1996, he bounced back to win the third race of the season at Richmond International Raceway. That means if Gordon gets his wish, he’ll be celebrating in Victory Lane by the end of the day.
8:10 am - Good morning and welcome to today's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400. It's going to be a spectacular day here at the track. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 12:46 pm,
Seats are available and there's plenty of time for you to get to the track. Purchase tickets at the gate and join us for what promises to be an exciting afternoon of racing. This is your last chance to see Jeff Gordon race at LVMS and the weather is absolutely perfect....what more excuse do you need?