The third race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is the Shelby American 400 held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. Carroll Shelby produced the pace car, a Shelby Cobra Mustang GT 350. Qualifying took place on Friday, with 2 Kurt Busch on the pole with a new track record of 188.719. Eighteen drivers broke the old record on Friday. 90 Casey Mears and rookie 46 Terry Cook failed to qualify for the race. They have not qualified for any race this year.
Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch are from Las Vegas. Kurt is on the pole. Can either one of them win on their home track? We’ll see. The track was repaved a few years ago, with progressive banking put in. This makes for fast racing. Mark Martin won the inaugural race here in 1998 in a Ford. Can he win in a Chevy? We’ll see. 43 A. J. Allmendinger changed his engine, and will be starting the race from the rear. Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Nationwide race here on Saturday night, despite slow pit stops. Can he win the race today? He is leading the points.
Here we go! 2 chooses the outside to start the race. 2 overdrives in turn 3 and 24 Jeff Gordon leads the first lap. On lap two, the first caution comes out. 37 Rookie Kevin Conway gets up too high and gets into the wall. 7 Robby Gordon slows to get by. Conway bent the nose and pits for repairs.
24 chooses the outside for the restart. 37 speeds out of the pits to get out before the pace car. He will have to come back in and loose that lap. The Green Flag is waved on lap six. 18 Kyle Busch gets by 39 Ryan Newman. 29 Kevin Harvick, who started thirty-fourth, battles 34 Travis Kvapil for 26th. 20 Joey Logano and 42 Juan Pablo Montoya battle for eighth. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 16 Greg Biffle on the inside for sixth. 00 David Reutimann and 33 Clint Bowyer battle for 14th.
43 looses it off turn four and goes into the grass, and saves it. 16 drives under 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for fifth. 09 Aric Almirola heads to the garage. RCR drivers, 33, 31 Jeff Burton and 29 are 15th, 16th and 17th. 18 gets by brother 2 for second. 48 Jimmy Johnson gets by 20 for eleventh. 16 gets by 2 for third. 5 Mark Martin gets around 20 for twelfth. 71 Bobby Labonte smells grease and pits. 42 and 17 Matt Kenseth battle for ninth, with 17 getting by. 99 Carl Edwards (who has a new baby daughter, Anne) gets by 2 for fourth. 88 and 2 battle for fifth. And 88 takes the spot.
The second caution comes out on lap 46 when 36 Mike Bliss (in pink) gets into the wall. 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. gets the free pass and is back on the lead lap. 24 is first out of the pits. 38 David Gilliland gets a speeding ticket and 98 Paul Menard was missing a lug nut. 43 Allmendinger gets the wave around. 24 chooses the outside. 16 takes the lead.
The second caution comes out because the caution lights came on by themselves just after the restart! 34 Travis Kvapil gets the free pass. 16 chooses the inside for the restart on lap 57. 24 takes the lead. 18 gets by 16 and 16 takes the position back. 7 gets into the wall, but continues. 17 drives by 2 for fourth. 2 gets up to the wall, without actually hitting it. 14 gets by 88 for eighth. 1 Jamie McMurray and 39 battle for eleventh. 17 gets by 18 for third. 18 and 48 battle for fourth, with 48 getting by. 42 gets by 39 for twelfth. 99 and 16 battle for fourth.
The fourth caution comes out during the commercial. 77 slides into the infield. 17 comes out of the pits first to lead. 48 had a lug nut come off, resulting in a long pit. 82 Scott Speed gets the free pass. They get the Green Flag before we get back from the commercials. The fifth caution comes out at the restart, on lap 94. 1 and team mate 42 were going for the same spot and got together, collecting pole sitter, 2.
17 chooses the outside for the restart on lap 98. 17 spins the tires and 24 takes the lead. 24 and 17 battle for the lead side by side. But 17 can’t get by. 16 moves into third. 31 and 99 battle for fifth, with 31 taking the spot. 14 gets by 99 for fourth. 18 had trouble getting out of his pit stall, spinning the tires. Now he thinks his power steering is going.
The sixth caution comes out, again for the caution lights coming on by themselves. 34 Travis Kvapil again gets the free pass. Pit road opens and everyone pits. 24 overshoots his stall and has to go back before getting fuel only. Team mate, 48 also took fuel only and comes out of the pits first. 16 tries to come out as 43 comes into his stall and has to back up to get out. 82 Scott Speed stays out to lead the race and chooses the outside. 2 comes back out three laps down after repairing his nose.
24 takes the lead just after the restart. 17 and 48 battle for second. 48 finally gets by. 48 is catching the leader, 24. 31 gets by 17 for third. And there is Green Flag Pitting again. 48 leads, then pits. 29 leads. 18 leads when 29 pits. 14 leads when 18 pits. 1 was too fast entering and will have to make a pass-through. After all the pitting, 24 is back in the lead. 77 was too fast. 13 Max Papis had a tire violation.
29 gets by team mate, 31 for fifth. Fifteen cars are on the lead lap. 31 pits because he can’t turn the car. 99 gets loose and gets lapped. 24 clinches most laps led. 88 in twelfth, goes a lap down. 16 pits to start Green Flag Pitting again, and stalls it. There were 100 laps of Green Flag racing! 12 gets a penalty for the crew going over the wall too soon. 14 is leading. 18 is too fast entering and will have to pass through the pits. After the Green Flag pitting, 24 is back in the lead.
The seventh caution comes out with 39 to go. 37 spins again. 00 David Reutimann is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 24 takes two tires to come out first. But 33 Bowyer stays out to lead and chooses the outside. They go Green with 34 laps to go. 24 and 48 battle for the lead. 29 gets by 33 for third. 5 goes around 33 for fourth. 24 and 48 battle for the lead as we go to a commercial, where 48 took the lead. 20 and 17 battle for fifth, but 20 can’t get by.
And 48 Jimmy Johnson wins the Shelby American 400, his second win in a row. That moves him up seven spots in the points to fifth. After leading the most laps, 24 moves up nine spots, to thirteenth. There will be a break next week to get back home to the Charlotte area. Next race is March 7 in Atlanta.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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