Stenhouse once again proved mighty at the restart and quickly started to pull away from Mark Martin, ultimately stretching out a 5s lead as the race went to the finish in a 39-lap green flag period. There was simply nothing left in the car for Martin to respond with, as the veteran racer admitted once the chequered flag came out and confirmed Stenhouse's win.
"That was one serious beat-down he put on me that last run," declared Mark Martin, which was probably the best accolade that anyone could pay the young series champion. "I mean just a beat-down. I kept up with him for a while and about wrecked five times, and that's it."
"It was really cool," said Stenhouse of his impressive run to the flag. "It definitely was good out front. I think that's gonna be the case at a short track or anywhere. We stretched the lead out there to four or five seconds and then I just kind of rode around and saved the tires in case we had a late restart.
"We tightened the car up when we needed to tighten it up and we freed it up when we needed to be a little bit looser," he added. "Mike [Kelley, crew chief] did the adjustments on how far to go and I think we all worked as a team this weekend and worked really hard."
Further back, Elliott Sadler overcame mid-race handling issues to reclaim third place from Trevor Bayne in the final stint, with Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan in fifth followed by rookies Cole Whitt and Austin Dillon. Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top ten.
“It's good when you can say a top five is disappointing," said Trevor Bayne, who faces an uncertain future in the Nationwide Series as he has no sponsorship lined up for any further races in 2012. "We want to be in Victory Lane every week and there for a while I thought we had a shot at it."
"It was a solid day ... Not a ground breaking day," said Danica Patrick, after a decent afternoon spent avoiding any incidents at Vegas which made this a fairly confidence-boosting weekend after a rather too-eventful start to the season up till now. "It would have been nice if we'd got in the top ten, that was my goal," she added after finishing in 12th place, the position she had started in.
Full race results, qualifying times
and championship standings are available.