LAS VEGAS — Sam Hornish Jr. didn’t know the name of Saturday’s race until he went to the drivers’ meeting for the Sam’s Town 300.
“That’s a pretty good one for me to win,” he thought to himself. “Already got my name on the trophy.”
Hornish survived two restarts in the final 15 laps and held off Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hornish led 114 laps in his second career Nationwide victory, but needed a strong finish to outrun Busch, the hometown driver who won the Nationwide race last week in Phoenix.
Hornish credited the win to his dominant car, all the more impressive since the drivers got almost no practice on the 1.5-mile tri-oval because of Friday’s rain.
“You dream about having cars like this,” Hornish said. “I think I used more energy celebrating than I did actually driving the car today.”
Hornish and Busch both went aggressively after the final restart with seven laps to go, with Busch briefly nudging ahead before Hornish reclaimed the lead with five laps left. Hornish got clear of Busch and finished comfortably in a caution-filled race.
With his third top-10 finish in three races this season, Hornish moved atop the points race and gave owner Roger Penske his first victory at Las Vegas in any NASCAR series – and Penske’s first win since moving from Dodge to Ford in the offseason.
Hornish also snapped a 36-race winless streak in his Ford.
Pole sitter Brian Vickers finished third, with Trevor Bayne fourth – despite an early brush against the wall– and Elliott Sadler fifth. Travis Pastrana came in 10th, four spots ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
EDWARDS EYES WINNING STREAK: Remember when Carl Edwards broke his 70-race winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series? The most recent one, that is.
It was last Sunday at Phoenix.
Edwards actually has a good chance to win today’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and create a winning streak – something he hasn’t done since he won the final two races of 2010.
Had Edwards not won last Sunday, he would have rolled into Las Vegas likely spending the week being asked about his 2010 victory at the track – which had been most recent Cup series win.
“I think we have a lot of great things to look forward to, but a win right off the bat is really, really good for us,” Edwards said.