2011-03-10 / Sports

Edwards Tops Stewart At Vegas

By Gerald Hodges
THE RACING REPORTER

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards both pitted for tires under green, late in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400. Stewart took on four tires, while Edwards’ team only gave him two.

The time between changing two tires versus four tires was about seven seconds. Stewart had been leading the race, but after the pit stop, Edwards was the leader. He went on to win by less than a second, while all Stewart could do was watch and fume.

After the race had ended, Stewart shouted to his team on the radio, “I want ya’ll to explain to me how we lost today’s race?”

Edwards went into the race a 10-1 underdog according to Las Vegas bookies, but he led 65 of the 267 laps, including the last 16.

My team gave me the win,” said Edwards. “After the bad incidents at Phoenix last week, I didn’t know where our team was going, but today showed just how good we are.”

Stewart, who finished second, led the most laps and had the fastest car for most of the race.

“We just gave one away,” said Stewart. “On second thought, it sucks.”

Juan Montoya was third and Marcus Ambrose came in fourth.

“We fought all day,” said Ambrose. “They worked and worked on the car. They gave me great pit stops, and it shows in our finish.”

Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Brian Vickers were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Polesitter Matt Kenseth came into the pits with a cut tire on Lap 13 and lost a lap. During a long green-flag run that followed a restart on Lap 19, Kenseth was trapped one lap down.

Kurt and Kyle Busch had a terrible race. Kurt lost control of his No. 22 Dodge and spun out. Kyle had a right front tire blow out early in the race, then the engine in his No. 18 Toyota blew up, and he wound up with a DNF.

Jeff Gordon, the winner of last week’s Phoenix race hit the wall and did not finish.

“We never got a handle on the car,” said Gordon. “Nothing seemed to help. It kept getting tighter and tighter until that happened.”

Top-12 driver standings after 3 of 36: 1. Stewart-113, 2. Kurt Busch-113, 3. Edwards 106, 4. Montoya-106, 5. Newman-103, 6. Menard- 96, 7. Truex-95, 8. Hamlin-95, 9. Allmendinger-94, 10. Earnhardt 91, 11. Martin-91, 12. Johnson-87

Mark Martin stretched his fuel mileage to win Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas.

After race leader Brad Keselowski cut a tire and hit the wall on the final lap of the Sam’s Town 300, Martin cruised to the checkered flag, posting his 49th Nationwide victory.

Justin Allgaier ran second, with Keselowski coming home in third.

After falling more than two laps down earlier in the race, Danica Patrick rallied to finish fourth, posting the best result ever for a female driver in one of NASCAR’s top three series. Patrick’s previous best finish was 14th at Daytona in February.

Trevor Bayne was fifth, followed by Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse, Jason Leffler, and Kenny Wallace.

Kyle Busch, dominated early, but later fell out of the race. He finished 30th. His winning chances disappeared on Lap 130, when he made an aggressive move off Turn 4, clipped the infield grass, and slid through the tri- oval. The left front of Busch’s Toyota smacked the inside wall and his race was over.

“I had a really big run off the top, and I didn’t want to go to the outside,” Busch said. “I wanted to kind of get down and be on the bottom, so I could get down on the white line in Turn 1. I didn’t even make it that far. I got to the bottom of the 22 (Keselowski), and I guess he came to block a little bit.”

“I didn’t want to run into him, so I went into the grass, and I know the grass typically doesn’t work, so I looked kind of stupid doing that. Tried to hang on to it, and just couldn’t get it back straight in enough time and got into the inside wall.”

Top-10 points leaders after 3 of 34: 1. Sorenson-111, 2. Stenhouse-109, 3. Leffler-106, 4. Patrick-98, 5. Allgaier-95, 6. Bayne-87, 7. Almirola-85, 8. K. Wallace-84, 9. Bliss-82, 10. Nemechek-79

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