Dominant performance leads to Hornish win at Vegas

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With the win, Hornish takes the series point lead.

The No. 12 Penske Racing Ford dominated the second half of the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before Hornish drove away from the field and on to his second-career series win.

"Dreams are made of cars like this," Hornish said in victory lane.

The guys at Penske Racing gave me a great race car.

Sam Hornish Jr.

Kyle Busch drove his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to a second-place finish at his home track. JGR teammate, Brian Vickers in the No. 20 Toyota, finished third. "It stinks man," Busch, who is winless in Nationwide competition at LVMS. "Fought real hard all day. Had a great piece, just wasn't fast enough.

Busch started the race from the 23rd position, but raced his way into the top-five by lap 60. Vickers started on the pole by virtue of 2012 owner points after rain on Friday cancelled track time that day and NASCAR opted to use Saturday's originally-scheduled qualifying time for practice.

Vickers led most of the early laps of the race until Brad Keselowski took the lead in the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford on lap 24.

"The guys did a good job (on the car)," Vickers said. "We started out too loose." Keselowski held on to the lead until a competition caution on lap 35. Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, then assumed the top spot by staying out while everyone else except for the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Regan Smith headed down pit road.

Bayne was able to maintain his lead position, but as a result of staying out during the caution, he had to pit when the yellow flag came out around lap 55. Those who pitted previously stayed out, shuffling Bayne back to 15th for the restart.

After restarting the race from the second row, Hornish moved into the lead on the restart. Bayne regained the lead, again with pit strategy, during a yellow flag on lap 81. Bayne did, like everyone else, headed down pit road during the caution, but he and Kyle Larson in the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet took fuel only to get off pit road first and second.

The two didn't stay up front long, though, as they made contact racing for the lead soon after the restart, bringing out the yellow flag again right as Vickers and the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Austin Dillon claimed the top-two spots.

Hornish drove back up to the front just a few laps after the restart and began to pull away. Busch, meanwhile, raced closer to the front, claiming the second spot just before the yellow flag waved for debris on lap 139.

During the caution, both Busch and Vickers got off pit road ahead of Hornish to restart first and second. The JGR teammates battled side-by-side for the lead several laps until Busch claimed the spot and Hornish got by Vickers for second with 49 laps remaining in the 200-lap race.

Hornish then took the lead from Busch with 47 laps to go. The yellow flag waved two more times in the final laps, each time leading to a restart with Hornish in the lead and Busch alongside in second. But each time, Hornish was able to get out in front of Busch and pull away.

"Had a really good race car," Hornish said. "The guys at Penske Racing gave me a great race car. It was great on restarts."

Bayne made his way back toward the front and into the top-five in the closing laps to finish fourth.

"These guys never got down on me all day," Bayne said. "They gave me a car that should be sitting in victory lane right now."

Elliott Sadler finished fifth in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to give JGR three cars in the top-five running order.

"We're definitely getting better," Sadler said of getting used to a new team and new crew chief Chris Carrier.

With the win, Hornish regains sole possession of the series points standings after heading into the race in a tie with Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet. Allgaier finished the race in 15th position.

Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent

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About this article
Series NASCAR-NS
Article type Race reports
Tags bayne, busch, dillan, ford, gibbs, hornish, lvms, nascar-ns, nationwide, penske, toyota, vegas, vickers