NASCAR Race Review: Kobalt Tools 400

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The third race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is the first of the 1.5 mile tracks on the circuit. Each of the 1.5 mile tracks are unique. This one has progressive banking and bumps on the bottom of the track in turn one. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a very fast track. The bumps, however give the drivers some trouble, as three drivers crashed during practice and will have to start the race in back-up cars and from the rear.

5 Kasey Kahne sits on the Pole with a speed of 190.456 mph and 28.353 seconds around the track. This is a new track record and his third pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 18 Kyle Busch qualified second but was one of the drivers who crashed and will have to go to the rear. 48 Jimmie Johnson qualified fourth and is another driver starting in the rear. The third is 42 Juan Pablo Montoya. This puts 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on the front row and 20 Joey Logano starting in fourth. 7 Robby Gordon and 23 Scott Riggs failed to make the race.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the track that held the IRL race last October where Dan Wheldon lost his life. Drivers are coming to the track with a heavy heart this time. EGR drivers have a special Lion Heart decal on the cars in memory of him.

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools car, welcomes everyone to the race and past Idol, Pia Tescani, sings the National Anthem. 48 has the most wins here, four, of any active driver. Last year Tony Stewart led the most laps, but Carl Edwards won the race. 267 laps is 400 miles.

So, here we go! 88 Earnhardt, Jr. leads the first lap as 29 Kevin Harvick tries to make it three wide. 24 Jeff Gordon slides off turn 4 and kisses the wall. 33 Brendan Gaughan gets into the wall. 29 gets by 5 for fifth and moves ahead, driving under 20 for second. 22 A. J. Allmendinger and 51 Kurt Busch race side by side for fifth and 22 makes the pass. 16 Greg Biffle gets by 51. 5 is way too loose and has to slow the car. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. gets by 20 for third.

88 is in traffic and 29 closes in on him. 16 drives around 22. Green Flag Pitting starts with 51 and leader 88. 29 takes the lead as the first caution comes out on lap 45. 37 Timmy Hill gets into the wall. 88 completes his service and crosses the Line in the pits ahead of 29, taking the lead. 51 was not so lucky and is a lap down. 22 overshoots his pit stall and has to back up before service can start. 1 Jamie McMurray has a long pit. 2 Brad Keselowski is too fast exiting and has to come back in for a pass through. 34 David Ragan gets back onto the lead lap.

88 and 29 battle for the lead and 88 leads and takes off. 48 gets by 15 Clint Bowyer for twelfth (after starting the race from the 40th position). 18 drives under 5 for ninth. 14 Tony Stewart drives under 29 for second, but has debris on the grill and falls behind 16 to get it off. 17 Matt Kenseth gets by 29 for second. 48 gets by 18 for eighth. (Although the announcers do not report this.)

The second caution comes out during the commercial on lap 73. Something happened to 10 David Reutimann. 51 Kurt Busch gets his lap back. 29 and 17 restart out front. 17 takes the lead. 2 gets by 11 Denny Hamlin. 48 gets by 29 for second. 88 is in the middle between 27 Paul Menard and 22. Instead of backing off, he shoots ahead of both. 48 is catching leader 17. 14 gets by 29 for third. 16 gets by 29 for fourth. 18 drives under 20 for eleventh. 48 takes the lead. 99 Carl Edwards has a vibration and is loose with a loose wheel. He pits, starting another round of Green Flag Pitting.

The third caution comes out after the pitting is complete, for 93 Travis Kvapil blowing up and 18 hitting the wall. 11 Denny Hamlin gets back onto the lead lap. 48 and 14 are on the front row for the restart. 14 takes the lead. 99 gets by 39 Ryan Newman for tenth. 98 Michael McDowell heads for the garage.

There is another round of Green Flag Pitting. 2 leads, 22 leads and 24 leads to complete the cycle. 14 is back in the lead. 14 almost gets into 43 Aric Almirola trying to lap him. 17 gets by 48 for second. 24 and 20 race for the Lucky Dog position. 22 heads to the garage.

The fourth caution is for debris. 21 Trevor Bayne gets back onto the lead lap. 14 and 88 restart up front. 88 spins his tires and 1 Jamie McMurray takes over second. 99 gets by 18 for seventh. 48 drives around 99. 17 gets by 88 for third, then takes second from 1.

The fifth caution comes out for debris with 39 laps to go. 31 Jeff Burton gets his lap back. 2 and 15 stay out to lead. 14 makes it three wide for the lead and takes the lead. 2 takes the lad, but 14 takes it back. 17 brushes the wall and loses spots. 88 gets into the back of 55 Mark Martin. The sixth caution comes out with 23 laps to go for 83 Landon Cassill up in smoke. 20 Joey Logano gets his lap back. 18 leads those behind him into the pits, while the leaders stay out.

They restart with 17 laps to go. 2 spins the tires and falls way back. 2 is out of fuel and pits. 48 gets by 16 for second. The seventh caution comes out when 15 cuts a tire and spins out. The eighth caution cones out for spinning 18 after he has a flat rear tire. 43 Aric Almirola gets his lap back. 14 and 48 battle for the lead. 14 keeps the lead after blocking. 99 goes to the apron, putting 17 in the middle with nowhere to go. 5 sucks the air off 17 and he gets into the wall. No caution.

14 Tony Stewart wins the Kobalt Tools 400 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is his first win at this track and his 45th career win. 48 Jimmie Johnson finishes second, followed by 16 Greg Biffle, 39 Ryan Newman, 99 Carl Edwards, 15 Clint Bowyer, 1 Jamie McMurray, 21 Trevor Bayne and 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Stewart led the most laps of the ten leaders.

Greg Biffle takes over the points lead, moving up a spot. (He finished third in the first three races.) Kevin Harvick moves up a spot into second. Denny Hamlin falls two spots into third. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. moves up a spot into fourth, while Matt Kenseth falls a spot to fifth. Carl Edwards moves up four positions into sixth. Tony Stewart moves up eight positions into eighth. Martin Truex, Jr. falls two spots to eighth, Joey Logano falls a position to ninth and Mark Martin falls three spots into tenth. Jimmie Johnson moves up fourteen positions into twenty-third after his second place finish.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I Love NASCAR racing.

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