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Mark Martin wins Vegas Nationwide race

NASCAR
Saturday, March 01, 2008

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Mark Martin in Victory Lane
CIA Stock Photo
Before Mark Martin allowed himself to celebrate his victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he felt compelled to offer his condolences to a former teammate and a current one.

Martin pulled away from Greg Biffle in a green-white-checkered-flag restart that took the race two laps beyond its posted distance of 200 laps and extended his series record to 48 career victories, but the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet was subdued after triggering a wreck on Lap 195 that eliminated Carl Edwards, his former Roush Fenway Racing teammate, and Brad Keselowski, his teammate-for-a-day at JR Motorsports.

As Edwards and Keselowski raced side by side toward the stripe on Lap 195, a tap from Martin turned Edwards' Ford into Keselowski's Chevrolet, sending both cars spinning into the frontstretch wall.

That brought out the record 13th caution of the race and sent the event into overtime. After the final restart, Martin beat Biffle to the finish line by .586 seconds. Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Kevin Harvick and David Stremme. Dario Franchitti, Mike Wallace, Patrick Carpentier, Brad Coleman and David Ragan completed the top 10.

In a war of attrition, it paid to be running at the end, as only 14 cars finished on the lead lap.

Brad Keselowski car 88 and Carl Edwards spin as winner Mark Martin goes by
CIA Stock Photo
"I've got to apologize before we do any celebrating," Martin said in victory lane. "I hate for that to happen. I didn't intend for it to turn out that way. But I couldn't stop it, once it started. I feel real bad for Brad, because he was so close to getting his first victory."

Edwards was tantalizingly close to the victory, too, before Martin tapped his bumper and inherited the lead on Lap 196.

"I'd like to be mad at Mark, but he's a heck of a guy, and I'm sure he just made a mistake," Edwards said.

Rick Hendrick, who partners with Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, watched as one of his cars started the wreck that took out the other.

"That's your worst nightmare when you've got multiple cars on the track," Hendrick said. "It's bound to happen sooner or later."

The fireworks at the end came long after several of the best cars in the field fell by the wayside.

For the third straight week, Tony Stewart had the dominant car, but unlike the previous two Nationwide races -- at Daytona and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. -- Stewart didn't win at Las Vegas. On Lap 138, his car jumped to the right after contact with David Reutimann's Toyota, and the two Camrys spun in tandem into the Turn 3 wall.

Kyle Busch started from the back of the field after a wreck on his second qualifying lap forced him to go to a backup car. Busch made a ferocious charge to the front and took the lead after a quick pit stop on Lap 63. He was running second to Stewart on Lap 103 when a blown right front tire sent his No. 18 Toyota into the outside wall at the end of the backstretch.

That ended Busch's bid to become the first driver to lead all three of NASCAR's top touring series at the same time; he retired from the race and finished 31st, but Busch will start from the pole in Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 Sprint Cup event.

Busch and Harvick leave Las Vegas tied for second in the Nationwide points standings, 42 behind Stewart, who finished 27th.

Despite losing a lap for an unscheduled pit stop to replace a cut tire, Jeff Burton worked his way back to the lead lap and was overtaking Martin for the top spot on Lap 158 when the engine in his No. 29 Chevrolet expired.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 17 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Delphi 195/10 202 Running
2 23 16 Greg Biffle Ford CitiFinancial 170/0 202 Running
3 8 2 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet RVs.com / Camping World 165/0 202 Running
4 10 33 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Camping World/ RVs.com 160/0 202 Running
5 21 64 David Stremme Chevrolet Atreus Homes & Communities 155/0 202 Running
6 6 40 Dario Franchitti * Dodge Fastenal 150/0 202 Running
7 18 7 Mike Wallace Toyota GEICO 151/5 202 Running
8 29 9 Patrick Carpentier Dodge Wisk 142/0 202 Running
9 22 27 Brad Coleman Ford Scott / Smith's 138/0 202 Running
10 27 6 David Ragan Ford Discount Tire 139/5 202 Running
11 26 30 Stanton Barrett Chevrolet NOS Energy Drink 130/0 202 Running
12 14 25 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Ford Curly's 127/0 202 Running
13 36 36 Kenny Wallace Dodge Shark Energy Drink 124/0 202 Running
14 9 60 Carl Edwards Ford Save-A-Lot 126/5 202 Running
15 16 47 Kelly Bires Ford Clorox 118/0 201 Running
16 28 1 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 115/0 201 Running
17 33 161 Kevin Lepage Ford Specialty Racing 112/0 201 Running
18 11 111 Jason Keller Chevrolet CJM.com 109/0 200 Running
19 42 4 Robert Richardson, II Chevrolet JVC Everio 111/5 198 Running
20 43 283 John Borneman III Ford Borneman Plastering 103/0 198 Running
21 40 05 Brett Rowe Chevrolet 31-W Insulation / CertainTeed 100/0 197 Running
22 30 24 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty 97/0 197 Running
23 15 88 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet U.S. Navy 99/5 195 Off Track
24 2 29 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express 96/5 157 Out of Race
25 5 99 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 88/0 152 Running
26 13 22 Mike Bliss Dodge Supercuts 85/0 141 Running
27 4 20 Tony Stewart Toyota Old Spice 87/5 137 Out of Race
28 7 59 Marcos Ambrose Ford Kingsford Hickory Charcoal 79/0 131 Out of Race
29 34 81 D.J. Kennington Dodge MC2 Energy Drink / NPPL 76/0 122 Running
30 12 66 Steve Wallace Chevrolet Atreus Homes & Communities 73/0 115 Running
31 3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries 75/5 102 Out of Race
32 37 52 Derrike Cope Chevrolet Means Racing 67/0 90 Out of Race
33 31 01 Kertus Davis Chevrolet RaceGirl 64/0 81 Out of Race
34 19 21 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Richard Childress Racing 66/5 72 Out of Race
35 24 37 Brad Baker Ford Baker Curb Racing 58/0 65 Off Track
36 1 32 Brian Vickers Toyota Dollar General 60/5 61 Out of Race
37 32 90 Todd Bodine Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 52/0 45 Out of Race
38 35 91 Larry Gunselman Chevrolet MSRP Motorsports 49/0 45 Out of Race
39 20 38 Jason Leffler Toyota Great Clips 46/0 42 Out of Race
40 38 89 Morgan Shepherd Dodge Victory In Jesus 43/0 37 Out of Race
41 41 0 Dwayne Leik Chevrolet Lori Morgan 40/0 36 Out of Race
42 39 28 Brian Keselowski * Chevrolet Jay Robinson Inc. 37/0 30 Out of Race
43 25 41 Kyle Krisiloff Dodge Energizer e2 Lithium 34/0 9 Out of Race

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