Las Vegas Race Report
· Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota - finished sixth now 14th in points.
· Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota - finished 17th now 8th in points.
· Mark Martin, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota - finished 18th now 10th in points.
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished sixth in Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The finish moved Bowyer to 14th in the point standings. Bowyer started sixth and ran at the front of the field throughout the race. He took over the lead with 35 laps remaining when the leaders pitted for fuel and he stayed on the track. The strategy paid off as several cautions in the closing laps enabled Bowyer to save fuel and make it to the checkered flag. The good finish wasn’t all strategy. The Michael Waltrip Racing team had a fast car. After giving up the lead, Bowyer fell back to 12th but raced back to the front of the field gaining several spots during restarts in the closing laps. The 5-hour ENERGY team returns to action Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
· Started fifth and finished sixth.
· Led three laps including a restart with 35 laps remaining.
· Stretched fuel mileage at the end and raced hard to secure his first top-10 finish at Michael Waltrip Racing.
· Several cautions at the end of the race enabled Bowyer to save fuel.
Bowyer Quotes: “We had a good run today in the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. We tried to stretch there at the end and made it. That was a good call by Brian Pattie. Then we had to race pretty hard. We definitely earned it today. That was a solid top-10 finish which we really needed. We keep posting finishes like that and we’ll be good. Can’t wait to get to Bristol.”
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished 17th in Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The finish moves Truex to eighth in the point standings. Truex started 10th and ran at the front throughout the race climbing as high as second. As track temperatures increased, so did handing issues for the No. 56 dropping him several spots. Truex lost three positions avoiding Matt Kenseth’s accident with two laps remaining. The NAPA AUTO PARTS team returns to action Sunday on the fast half-mile at Bristol Motor Speedway.
· Started 10th and finished 17th.
· Raced in the top six through the early going, climbing as high as second.
· Struggled with grip as track temperatures warmed.
· Appeared destined for top-15 finish but lost spots avoiding an accident with two laps remaining.
TRUEX QUOTE: “I just didn't have the front grip I needed. Ever since the sun came out we just couldn't get our NAPA Toyota better. We fought loose off and could never tighten it back up. It was the same condition we had at Texas last year. We made small wedge and air pressure changes, but we just couldn't get it better. It's frustrating because I know we are better than this."
MARK MARTIN SUMMARY: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin finished 18th in Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Martin started 13th and spent much of the race working to make the No. 55 turn better in traffic. With about 50 laps to go Martin’s car came alive and raced up to 11th despite pancaking the backstretch wall after contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 25 laps left in the race. A spin by Matt Kenseth scattered the field with two laps remaining costing the No. 55 several spots as it avoided the accident. The Aaron’s Dream Machine returns to action Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway with Brian Vickers behind the wheel of the No. 55. Martin returns to action at California Speedway on March 25.
· Started 13th and finished 18th.
· Martin and team worked throughout race to make car turn better in traffic.
· Ran 18th - last car on lead lap - when caution came out on lap 207.
· Passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 11th with about 25 to go. Earnhardt hit Martin in bumper forcing No. 55 into
backstretch wall pancaking right side.
· Appeared destined for a top-15 finish but lost spots avoiding Matt Kenseth’s accident with two laps
MARTIN QUOTE: “That wasn't a bad day for a bad day. That was a tough race. The track had a lot less grip so what worked for us yesterday in practice didn't work for us today. We just couldn’t turn well enough. We tried a lot of things and there at the end we got it going pretty good. But, when Matt (Kenseth) got in the wall I saw stuff going everywhere and didn’t want to go flying into that and get us wrecked. So we cost ourselves a bunch of spots there. So we should have finished better, but we’ll be good.”
· Tony Stewart edged Jimmie Johnson by 0.461 seconds for the victory.
· Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five finishers.
· Eight cautions slowed the race for 33 laps for an average speed of 137.524 mph.
· The race featured 16 lead changes among 11 drivers.
· NASCAR estimated attendance at 150,000.
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC
NAME: Mark Martin
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC