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Nationwide: Stenhouse too fast for Martin

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas on Saturday, dominating the final quarter of the race to hold off Mark Martin to claim the victory.
There was no stopping Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. once he hit the front of the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, and not even all the experience of Mark Martin could do anything to stop the 24-year-old reigning series champion from clinching his first win of 2012.

"To win on a mile-and-a-half is big for me," said Stenhouse in victory lane. "I think we've got a really good package going right now and to get that win on a mile-and-a-half feels good," he continued, adding: "The guys on pit road did an awesome job to get us out first and that really helped to win us that race."

Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne had led the field to the green flag, but from the start many drivers including Sadler were grappling with loose race cars - and both Mark Martin and Kyle Busch were among those seen saving some dramatic sideways drifts in the opening laps. In the end, Busch finally came to grief in a separate incident on lap 24 when he lost the rear end of his car while battling for position with Sam Hornish Jr., and he couldn't save the spin before the rear of the #54 impacted on the inside SAFER barrier. The repairs put him 70 laps off the lead by the time he was able to rejoin.

The first caution of the race had earlier been triggered by rookie Kyle Fowler spinning in turn 4 on lap 11 and by Benny Gordon simultaneously spinning onto pit road itself further down the field. Other cautions included Joey Gase blowing a tyre and sliding along the wall on lap 42, and Jennifer Jo Cobb bringing out a caution after she spun on lap 69 after a little help from Mike Bliss.

The biggest wreck of the race came just shy of the midway point on lap 95, when Brian Scott's car got unsettled by Trevor Bayne passing on the outside line. Scott tried to stop the car from spinning, over-corrected and had the #11 suddenly snap right and into a vicious head-on impact on the outside wall at turn 4. The impact was so violent that the car was briefly lifted clear off the track, and debris was scattered so widely that the rest of the field were taken through pit lane while the clean-up operation went on. Scott himself climbed out of his wrecked car without any problems, thanks again to the SAFER technology.

Scott had been one of the cars to have led during the first half of the race. Polesitter Elliott Sadler led for the first 30 laps until a restart allowed Kasey Kahne to take the top spot; Scott beat Kahne at the next restart to lead for four laps but Kahne quickly reasserted his control of proceedings. Kahne's lead lasted through the next caution until the restart on lap 74, at which point Brad Keselowski had the better start and took over.

Problems getting the fuel into the tank meant a slow stop for Keselowski at the midway point of the race, and even to the car still failed to get a full tank of gas. That meant the #22 ended up running dry on lap 131 and had to crawl back to the pits; to add insult to injury, the car took an eternity to get restarted, and then had to come back in to serve a penalty for speeding in pit lane because the tachometer had been without power. All of that high drama put Keselowski four laps off the lead with no hope of recovering the lost ground.

In the meantime, wily Mark Martin and his crew had previously gone for a and jumped to the lead, which he kept until the next round of pit stops under a caution brought out by TJ Bell stalling on track with no oil pressure on lap 144. Everyone came in for what was the final full round of pit stops, and Martin lined up alongside current Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr for the restart.

Stenhouse went into the lead but it was a brief green flag stint, with Jeremy Clements getting help off turn 4 on lap 154 from Tayler Malsam and being sent on a wild ride across the infield grass. Despite getting briefly airborne over the undulations in the process and bringing out the seventh and final yellow of the afternoon as a precaution, it ultimately proved a harmless diversion for the #51.




Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch heads to pit road after making contact with the wall on the backstretch during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam`s Town 300 on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads Mark Martin during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam`s Town 300 on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, takes the green flag waved by Evander Holyfield to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick (L), driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, talks to Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS, finished ninth and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Great Stuff Chevrolet SS, finished 28th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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