Gambling in Vegas: Mark Martin Wins the Sam's Town 300

Ashley McCubbinAnalyst IMarch 5, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  Mark Martin, driver of the #32 Dollar General Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

Most people on the street are worried about saving gas so they don't spend a lot of money, considering the price of fuel. During today's Sam Town's 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Mark Martin saved his fuel the best to get his 49th career Nationwide Series win.

"Well, Trent Owens deserves that one—all the credit for it," Martin said in victory lane. "He made the right calls and the only chance we had was to save, save and I just decided that I wasn't going to run out of gas. With two to go, I decided to step on it as I figured I was close enough to be able to do it.

"I can't believe it. I don't care how hard you try, you can't win this things.Then when its time, it just happens."

With the white flag coming, it looked as if Brad Keselowski would be able to make on fuel. However, he had a flat tire and ended up in the wall.

"He was slowing quite a bit so I knew he was having fuel trouble or something so I stepped on it and tried to catch him," Martin said.

The win marked the first ever win for Steve Turner and Turner Motorsports as Turner bought Braun Racing from Todd Braun last year. They were able to play the strategy card after they pitted with 62 to go, to check the tires after being in the middle of a wreck.

"We know we got in the wall so we needed to pit and look at our tires," crew chief Trent Owen said. "Mark did a great job saving the fuel there."

Mark Martin's teammate Justin Allgaier finished second.

"I can't say enough about everybody at Turner Motorsports and the Hendrick power under the hood," Allgaier said. "These Chevys are running strong. I can't say enough for what these guys are building. This is the most fun series that I've ever been around. Congratulations to Mark. That guy has got a lot of knowledge and is really helping our team."

Brad Keselowski, after getting into the wall, finished third.

"We were about four to five laps good for fuel and he came on the radio and asked if he needed to save and I said he was good," Todd Gordon, crew chief for Keselowski. "We must have just run something over as we'd run two fuel runs in the right sides before. He came on the radio and said he had a flat as we came across the finish line."

Finishing fourth was Danica Patrick, becoming the highest finishing women in NASCAR Nationwide Series history. She topped her best career finish of 17th, that she got last week at Phoenix.

"Just we worked so hard on the car this weekend," Patrick said. "Went from loose to tight to loose to tight with the same set-up at times. We had a lot of practice time, which was good, but kind of confused us along the way. Missed those lucky dogs and finally got one. I asked Tony Jr to take a big swing at it to make it tight, not a small one but a swing at it, and it wasn't good at the beginning, but it was good at the end."

After starting 17th, she worked her way to just outside the top 10, and then into the top 10 before employing the fuel strategy to seal a top five finish.

"Qualifying wasn't perfect, practice was up and down," she said. "I was like, okay, we got a new car. Hopefully we can learn something so that way me and Aric (Almirola) can run up front at the next mile and a half."

"I mean, we've been really consistent - the finishes haven't shown it," crew chief Tony Eury Jr. said. "Its really easy for her to run in the top 15. If we can get everything right, we can run in the top 10 with this girl. Luckily we got luck with fuel mileage and got a top five out of this."

Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne finished fifth using the same strategy after finding trouble earlier. Bayne's teammate and pole sitter Carl Edwards finished sixth after running in the top five most of the day.

"For Mark to win on fuel mileage, its real frustrating for Mike Beam and I," Edwards said. "It's just frustrating as we're trying to find marketing partners for all three cars."

Denny Hamlin finished seventh, after also running up front all day.

"Its tough," Hamlin said. "Once I saw we weren't going to win the race, I backed off in case a caution came to save the tires. We were so equal in the long run, but that's part of racing. You have the right fuel mileage, the right everything to be able to win."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leftler and Kenny Wallace rounded out the top 10.

It looked to be another Kyle Busch show at the beginning as he led the majority of the first half, though wrecked on lap 71 after getting stuck back in traffic.

"I had a really big run off the top," Busch said. "I didn't want to go to the outside. I came down to the white line as I wanted to be there going into turn 1 and never got there. The 22 came down to block and I went down to the grass to try to avoid hitting him and I looked pretty stupid going down there. I made a mistake. That's why I run these races. I take what I learn here and carry it forward."

Reed Sorenson, who finished 11th, leads the Nationwide standings now, two points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. They are followed by Leftler (-5), Patrick (-13), Allgaier (-16), Bayne (-24) and Almirola (-26).