NNS: Sam’s Town 300 Preview – Las Vegas Motor Speedway

March 8, 2012 No Comments

Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR


Date: Saturday– March 10, 2012

Time: 5:00 p.m. ET

Distance: 200 laps/300 miles

Broadcast: TV– ESPN2



Mark Martin and Turner Motorsports weren’t expected to go to victory lane last March in Las Vegas, but with a little fuel mileage strategy that is exactly what they did.

This year, Martin will look to capture another Las Vegas victory, but this time with a different team and his chances are pretty high.

Last year, the No. 18 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing was piloted by Kyle Busch and he went on to lead 81 of the 200 laps, the most of anyone else last spring. However as the NASCAR Nationwide series returns to Las Vegas for their annual desert race, the driver of the No. 18 won’t be the person who led the most laps last year, it’ll be the driver that won the race: Mark Martin.

Busch will still be in the race though, as he will drive his own equipment in Saturday’s race.

Last year’s Sam’s town 300 came down to a fuel mileage race and even then, Martin didn’t look like he was going to win. Brad Keselowski was leading the race when, in turns three and four something went wrong and caused him to go into the wall.

Martin, who had been gaining on Keselowski on the final lap, was able to dive under Keselowski and take the win. Turner Motorsports took home a 1-2 finish when Justin Allgaier was able to get around Keselowski and finish behind his Turner teammate of Martin.

The win was the first for Turner and it was a then series record for Martin who recorded his 49th career victory. When Martin returns to the track on Saturday he’ll be chasing his 50th career NASCAR Nationwide series win, bringing him within one win of Kyle Busch, who holds the series record for most wins.

Last year’s race may have come down to a fuel mileage survival, most of the race focused on two drivers, the No. 18 of Busch and the No. 60 of Carl Edwards.

Together, the two drivers led 156 of the 200 laps. This year, though, only Kyle Busch will return to try and capture a Nationwide victory in his hometown. Something Busch has not done yet in the Nationwide series.

Las Vegas will be the third race of the season and for some drivers that means that they may need to start looking for other places to drive. One of the notable drivers in that situation is Trevor Bayne.

Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, and Roush-Fenway driver still does not have full sponsorship for the entire season. At the beginning of the year, Jack Roush announced that Stenhouse Jr., last year’s Nationwide Series points champion, would run the full schedule, but Bayne was only assured a car through the first three races of the year.


By the numbers:

The average starting position for a winner at Las Vegas is 9th. (Number is rounded up)

With nine victories at the track, Chevrolet has the most wins of any manufacturer.

Ford has five wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Dodge has one win at Las Vegas. Toyota is still searching for its first Nationwide victory at Las Vegas.

Mark Martin has the most wins, with four Las Vegas Nationwide series wins.

All five of Ford’s wins at Las Vegas have come from a Jack Roush owned car.

For the first time since 1995, a Sprint Cup Series regular driver has not visited victory lane in the Nationwide series through the first two races.

Entry list:

  1. Mike Wallace
  2. Elliott Sadler
  3. Austin Dillon
  4. Danny Efland
  5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  6. Danica Patrick
  7. Tim Andrews
  8. Kenny Wallace
  9. Jeff Green
  10. Brian Scott
  11. Sam Hornish Jr.
  12. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  13. Eric McClure
  14. Mark Martin
  15. Tayler Malsam
  16. Joey Logano
  17. Brad Keselowski
  18. Robert Richardson Jr.
  19. Benny Gordon
  20. J.J. Yeley
  21. Derrike Cope
  22. James Buescher
  23. Justin Allgaier
  24. Brendan Gaughan
  25. Kasey Kahne
  26. Joey Gase
  27. Erik Darnell
  28. Blake Koch
  29. Jose Wise
  30. Michael Annett
  31. Mike Bliss
  32. Chase Miller
  33. Scott Speed
  34. T.J. Bell
  35. Jeremy Clements
  36. Tim Schendel
  37. Kyle Busch
  38. Trevor Bayne
  39. Johanna Long
  40. Mike Harmon
  41. Jason Bowles
  42. Joe Nemechek
  43. Cole Whitt
  44. Morgan Shepherd
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