Winners and Losers: Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Patti RodischAnalyst IMarch 1, 2010

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 27:  The checkered flag gets caught up in the fence as its being thrown down to Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, from the flag stand after he won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on February 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The lights, the shows, and the spectacle of Las Vegas did not distract 43 drivers on Saturday afternoon. The NASCAR Nationwide series hit the track for the Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Check out the winners and losers of the sunset strip.

Winners

 

Kevin Harvick

It has been a fast start for Kevin Harvick and his team at Kevin Harvick Inc. On Saturday, Harvick had a fast car—one of the best cars on the track for most of the day. Had it not been for the multiple pit stops—during which his pit crew not only let him down but also cost him the lead—he would have had a perfect day.

On multiple stops, his crew knocked off two very slow ones—and Harvick was not afraid to let the members know his displeasure over the radio. But Harvick had a strong enough car to climb his way back into the top five and the lead.

Harvick is not running the full-time NNS schedule because of sponsorship and the schedule. If he continues to run like he has, Harvick is the one to beat in NNS.

Points: Seventh

 

 

Trevor Bayne

The NASCAR Sprint Cup guys dominated the race Saturday, but there was one driver that, quite frankly, is proving himself with every race. Michael Waltrip Racing’s Trevor Bayne had an impressive run Saturday. While the media was focused on Danica Patrick and the Cup drivers, Bayne scored his third-career top-10 finish.

He ran a very good race. In fact, he had solid pit stops and avoided trouble on the track. He ran the race he needed to help gain him track time and the respect of his peers. He finished sixth, his first top-10 finish of the season.

Bayne has a lot to learn, but he's running solidly every week. He is doing exactly what he needs to do. Along with that he is climbing the series points standings.

Points: 13th

Losers

 

Kelly Bires

After scoring an impressive finish at Auto Club Speedway a week ago, Bires was looking to follow that up with another top-10 finish. After starting just outside the top 10 and only six laps into the race, Bires slapped the wall between Turns One and Two.

Bires said over the radio that something broke on the car, which forced the car to shoot up the track. The accident forced him to the garage and a 42nd place finish—not the way he was hoping to follow up ACS.

Bires now will no longer be running in the shadow of his part-time teammate Patrick. The next four months are his chance to get out of the shadow and prove just why he was picked to drive for JR Motorsports.

Points: 33rd

 

Michael McDowell

It was not an easy day for McDowell—and not the day he hoped for, either.

On Lap 17, McDowell crashed on Turn One, bringing out the second caution of the day. Then, on Lap 83, McDowell crashed with Patrick, ending both their days. He finished 39th.

McDowell is a talented driver and is more than capable of running in the top 10. His problem seems to be taking a ill-handling car and making it better. Until he and his team are able to do that, he will be running mid-pack every week.

Points: 27th

 

Final Lap

It was a very entertaining race Saturday, but after three very good races, the series has its first break of the season. The drivers next hit the track at Bristol Motor Speedway. It should be a very entertaining race—especially since the extension of the safer barriers.

Now drivers will have to adapt to the closer racing. It is possible we will see one of the best NNS races at Bristol in a long time.

The Scotts Turf Builder 300 airs at 2 p.m. EST on ABC.