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Stenhouse Jr. runs away with Nationwide race in Vegas

Beats Mark Martin
Saturday, March 10, 2012

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Ricky Stenhouse
Getty Images for NASCAR
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated the last 50 laps of Saturday's Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, pulling away from Mark Martin during a 39-lap green flag run the finish.

The victory was Stenhouse's first of the season and third in the series -- and his first on a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway, the staple of NASCAR's top three touring series.

Points leader Elliott Sadler came home third, followed by Trevor Bayne and Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan. Cole Whitt, Austin Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kasey Kahne completed the top 10.

"To win on a mile-and-a-half (racetrack) is big for me," Stenhouse said. "I feel like our cars are better than I am at some mile-and-a-halfs, and I feel like I drive really hard at the short tracks. I think we've got a really good package going now, and to get that win on a mile-and-a-half feels good."

First out of the pits after a stop under caution on Lap 146, Stenhouse drove away from Martin after a restart on Lap 162, opening a lead of 4.785 seconds with 20 laps left. The defending Nationwide champion maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

Even if he hadn't won the race off pit road on Lap 146, Stenhouse felt he had the winning car.

"I definitely think we had the car to beat -- I feel like we could have started sixth and still won that race there at the end," Stenhouse said. "I found a line that I like to run, the car was coming around to it, (crew chief) Mike Kelley made some awesome pit calls there, and I just think we had the car to beat."

Martin said the last green-flag run was no contest.

"That was one serious beat-down he put on me that last run," Martin told the NASCAR Wire Service. "I mean just a beat-down. I kept up with him for a while and about wrecked five times, and that's it. The run before that (when Martin was leading)? It was no problem. I could stay ahead of him, and any time he would close in on me, I could get up on the wheel and pull back out.

"But that last run, he seemed to be stronger. I didn't feel my car was off. He just had that thing rolling. I'm not ashamed to say it wasn't even close."

Danica Patrick finished where she started, running 12th after qualifying 12th.

Fighting an extremely loose handling condition, Kyle Busch spun off Turn 2 and backed his No. 54 Toyota into the inside wall on Lap 26. Busch drove the car to the garage, where he lost 70 laps while his team made repairs.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 6 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Ford EcoBoost 48/5 200 Running
2 7 18 Mark Martin Toyota Interstate Batteries 0 200 Running
3 1 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 42/1 200 Running
4 14 60 Trevor Bayne Ford Roush Fenway Racing 25th Anniversary 40/0 200 Running
5 9 33 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet South Point Hotel & Casino 0 200 Running
6 22 88 Cole Whitt * Chevrolet TaxSlayer.com 38/0 200 Running
7 3 3 Austin Dillon * Chevrolet American Ethanol 37/0 200 Running
8 8 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt 36/0 200 Running
9 13 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 35/0 200 Running
10 2 38 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Great Clips 0 200 Running
11 18 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota RAB Racing 33/0 200 Running
12 12 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 32/0 200 Running
13 21 43 Michael Annett Ford Pilot Flying J 31/0 200 Running
14 11 30 James Buescher Chevrolet Turner Motorsports 0 200 Running
15 19 44 Mike Bliss Toyota TriStar Motorsports 29/0 200 Running
16 17 19 Tayler Malsam Toyota G-Oil 28/0 200 Running
17 24 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet The Gun Store / G&K Services 28/1 198 Running
18 32 41 Blake Koch Ford Poynt.com 26/0 198 Running
19 15 70 Johanna Long * Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach / Race Fuel Energy Drink 25/0 198 Running
20 31 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 24/0 198 Running
21 25 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Clements Automotive 23/0 197 Running
22 43 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet GoodInfo.com 22/0 197 Running
23 5 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 0 196 Running
24 40 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet North Texas Pipe / Riviera Hotel 20/0 196 Running
25 27 14 Eric McClure Toyota Hefty / Reynolds Wrap 19/0 196 Running
26 42 4 Daryl Harr Chevrolet iWorld 18/0 194 Running
27 10 81 Jason Bowles * Toyota American Majority 17/0 188 Running
28 16 108 Kyle Fowler Ford Randy Hill Racing 16/0 165 Oil Cooler
29 35 52 Tim Schendel Chevrolet All Sports Tailgating 15/0 164 Running
30 29 124 Benny Gordon Chevrolet Revita Anti-Aging / VSI 14/0 146 Running
31 38 50 T.J. Bell Ford Turbine Powered Technology 13/0 140 Engine
32 36 28 Derrike Cope Dodge JPO Absorbents 12/0 137 Electrical
33 20 54 Kyle Busch Toyota Monster Energy 0 127 Running
34 4 11 Brian Scott Toyota Dollar General 11/1 94 Accident
35 34 40 Erik Darnell Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 9/0 91 Fly Wheel
36 37 113 Jennifer Jo Cobb Dodge Glen Lerner & Associates 0 72 Steering
37 30 39 Joey Gase * Ford Go Green Racing 7/0 41 Accident
38 23 27 J.J. Yeley Ford GC Motorsports Int'l 0 39 Oil Pump
39 33 46 Chase Miller Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 5/0 6 Electrical
40 28 10 Jeff Green Toyota TriStar Motorsports 4/0 4 Vibration
41 39 42 Josh Wise Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 4 Electrical
42 26 47 Scott Speed Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 0 3 Vibration
43 41 174 Mike Harmon Chevrolet Koma Unwind Relaxation Drink 0 3 Vibration

* Denotes Rookie

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