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NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Kobalt Tools 400 Preview

From The Sports Network

DATE: Sunday, March 6th
SITE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1996) -- Las Vegas, Nevada
TRACK: 1.5-mile oval - 2,275 feet (Frontstretch); 1,572 feet (Backstretch)
CAPACITY: 142,000 (Grandstand Seating)
ANNUAL: 14th
ANNOUNCERS: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds
RADIO: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 3:14 p.m. (et)
RUNNER-UP: Kevin Harvick
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (Finished 35th)
LAPS: 267
MILES: 400.5
QUALIFYING RECORD: Kurt Busch, 2010 (188.719 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Mark Martin, 1998 (146.554 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $6,304,875 (2010 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $405,628; 2nd Place - $287,826; 3rd Place - $249,851
2010 Finish
1Jimmie Johnson206Joey Logano6
2Kevin Harvick347Tony Stewart9
3Jeff Gordon28Clint Bowyer13
4Mark Martin89Kasey Kahne19
5Matt Kenseth1110Greg Biffle7
2010 Kobalt Tools 400 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 141.450 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 49 minutes, 53 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.874 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 7 for 29 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 18 among 9 drivers
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (188.719 m.p.h.)
Past Kobalt Tools 400 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2010 -- Jimmie Johnson (20th) -- Chevrolet -- 141.450 m.p.h.
2009 -- Kyle Busch (1st) -- Toyota -- 119.513 m.p.h.
2008 -- Carl Edwards (2nd) -- Ford -- 127.729 m.p.h.
2007 -- Jimmie Johnson (23rd) -- Chevrolet -- 128.183 m.p.h.
2006 -- Jimmie Johnson (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 133.358 m.p.h.
2005 -- Jimmie Johnson (9th) -- Chevrolet -- 121.038 m.p.h.
2004 -- Matt Kenseth (25th) -- Ford -- 128.790 m.p.h.
2003 -- Matt Kenseth (17th) -- Ford -- 132.934 m.p.h.
2002 -- Sterling Marlin () -- Dodge -- 136.747 m.p.h.
2001 -- Jeff Gordon (24th) -- Chevrolet -- 136.377 m.p.h.
2000 -- Jeff Burton (11th) -- Ford -- 119.982 m.p.h.
1999 -- Jeff Burton (19th) -- Ford -- 137.537 m.p.h.
1998 -- Mark Martin (7th) -- Ford -- 146.554 m.p.h. (race record)
NOTE: Formerly called Las Vegas 400 (1998-1999), 400 (2000),
UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 (2001-07), UAW-Dodge 400 (2008), Shelby 427
(2009), Shelby American (2010).
Past Kobalt Tools 400 Pole Winners (Finish)
2010 -- Kurt Busch -- 35th
2009 -- Kyle Busch -- 1st
2008 -- Kyle Busch -- 11th
2007 -- Kasey Kahne -- 35th
2006 -- Greg Biffle -- 8th
2005 -- Ryan Newman -- 9th
2004 -- Kasey Kahne -- 2nd
2003 -- Bobby Labonte -- 4th
2002 -- Todd Bodine -- 29th
2001 -- Dale Jarrett -- 2nd
2000 -- Ricky Rudd -- 12th
1999 -- Bobby Labonte -- 5th
1998 -- Dale Jarrett -- 40th
Last Race Results
RACE: Subway Fresh Fit 500 (February 27th)
SITE: Phoenix International Raceway -- Avondale, Arizona
MILES: 312 (500 kilometers)
LAPS: 312
WINNER: Jeff Gordon
RUNNER-UP: Kyle Busch
THIRD: Jimmie Johnson
FOURTH: Kevin Harvick
FIFTH: Ryan Newman
POLE WINNER: Carl Edwards (Finished 28th)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 1 minute, 49 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 102.961 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.137 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 8 for 43 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 28 among 12 drivers
LAP LEADERS: C. Edwards - pole; Kurt Busch 1-5; Kyle Busch 6-15; C. Edwards
16-22; Kurt Busch 23-31; D. Hamlin 32-35; A. Lally 36; M.
McDowell 37; C. Edwards 38-51; Kurt Busch 52-68; D. Hamlin 69-73;
R. Newman 74-76; J. Gordon 77-87; R. Newman 88-91; T. Stewart
92-123; J. Gordon 124-128; T. Stewart 129-140; J. Gordon 141-173;
T. Stewart 174-182; J. Johnson 183-189; J. Gordon 190-191; M.
Kenseth 192-193; J. Johnson 194-204; J. Gordon 205-282; K.
Harvick 283; J. Johnson 284; T. Stewart 285-290; Kyle Busch
291-303; J. Gordon 304-312.
Kobalt Tools 400 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
00David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Toyota/Tums
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/McDonald's
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
4Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Toyota/Red Bull
5Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Chevrolet/
6David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/UPS
7Robby Gordon (Orange, CA)Dodge/Speed Energy
09Bill Elliott (Dawsonville, GA)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/Stanley
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Ground
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Toyota/GEICO
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Mobil 1
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/Post It
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Crown Royal
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/Snickers
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
21Trevor Bayne (Knoxville, TN)Ford/Motorcraft/Quick Lane
22Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
24Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/DuPont
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Moen
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Budweiser
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/Caterpillar
32Terry Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Ford/TBA
33Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Chevrolet/Wheaties Fuel
34David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/Taco Bell
36Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
37Tony Raines (LaPorte, IN)Ford/TBA
38Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Ford/Long John Silver's
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Haas Automation
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Ford/Clorox
46J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Chevrolet/Red Line Oil
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Kingsford
48 *Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA
60Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Toyota/Big Red
66Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Toyota/HP Racing LLC
71Andy Lally (Northport, NY)Chevrolet/Eco-Fuel Saver
78Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing
83Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC)Toyota/Red Bull
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/NEMCO Motorsports
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat'l Guard
92Brian Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/K-Automotive Motorsports
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Scott's/Kellogg's
* - Defending champion
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Jimmie Johnson6th11th16thWonWonWon29th24thWon
Kevin Harvick25th13th21st5th11th27th4th12th2nd
Jeff Gordon17th37th15th4th5th2nd35th6th3rd
Mark Martin3rd43rd5th30th6th5th10th40th4th
Matt Kenseth14thWonWon8th2nd4th20th43rd5th
Joey Logano---------------------13th6th
Tony Stewart5th5th3rd10th21st7th43rd26th7th
Clint Bowyer------------15th36th28th2nd8th
Kasey Kahne------2nd38th4th35th6th11th9th
Greg Biffle------40th6th8th16th3rd7th10th
Jeff Burton9th6th13th17th7th15th5th3rd11th
Carl Edwards---------14th26th6thWon17th12th
David Reutimann------------------37th4th13th
Kyle Busch------41st2nd3rd9th11thWon15th
Dale Earnhardt Jr16th2nd35th42nd27th11th2nd10th16th
Paul Menard---------------32nd22nd35th17th
Ryan Newman4th7th27th9th43rd8th14th25th18th
Denny Hamlin------------10th3rd9th22nd19th
Martin Truex Jr---------------12th15th32nd20th
Brad Keselowski---------------------38th26th
Brian Vickers------23rd43rd22nd---24th8th31st
Jamie McMurray---32nd4th15th23rd10th25th9th34th
Kurt Busch20th38th9th3rd16th26th38th23rd35th
Juan Pablo Montoya---------------22nd19th31st37th
Mover of the Week
Jimmie Johnson - Started 28th on the grid and finished 3rd
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Matt Kenseth
Darkhorse - Kasey Kahne
Last Week's Pick to Win (Jeff Gordon) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse (David Ragan) - Finished 36th
After snapping a 66-race winless drought last Sunday at Phoenix, Jeff Gordon's thirst for victory continues this weekend when the Sprint Cup Series runs at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gordon passed Kyle Busch for the lead with nine laps remaining and then held off Busch by just over one second for his first win since April 2009 at Texas. The victory was not only a relief for Gordon, but also his No.24 team, with new crew chief Alan Gustafson.

His 83rd career win placed him in a tie with Cale Yarborough for fifth on the series' all-time race winners list. He's now one victory away from tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third. Richard Petty holds the record for most wins in NASCAR's top division with 200, followed by David Pearson with 105.

This race has a history of multiple winners, as Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton have repeated as champions in Las Vegas. Johnson won three consecutive races (2005-07) and added a fourth title last year, while Kenseth (2003-04) and Burton (1999-2000) won back-to-back titles.

Last season, Johnson cashed in with a late-race pit strategy to win his 49th career Sprint Cup title. In doing so, he also set a NASCAR record for most wins on a 1.5-mile track with 15.

Gordon led a track-record 219 laps, but Gordon took on only two new tires during his final pit stop. After putting on four tires, Johnson quickly chased down his Hendrick Motorsports teammate after a restart with 34 laps to go. Johnson finally passed him for the lead with 17 laps remaining and then cruised to his second consecutive victory of the 2010 season.

In 2009, Kyle Busch edged Clint Bowyer by less than a second for his 13th career Sprint Cup title. Busch, who's win total now stands at 19, started first on the grid and became the first pole sitter to capture this race. Johnson was the race lap leader with 92 laps led, but he faded to 24th. Busch overtook Bowyer on lap 269 and held on for a 0.411 of a seconds victory.

Carl Edwards snapped Johnson's strangle-hold of this race in 2008, as he recorded his ninth career Sprint Cup title. Starting in the second position, Edwards reclaimed the lead on lap 238 and held on to edge Dale Earnhardt Jr by less than a second. Edwards led four times for a race-high 86 laps, while pole sitter Kyle Busch, who finished 11th, led three times for 56 laps. Two-time Vegas winner Matt Kenseth placed 20th after leading four times for 70 laps. Edwards' win total now stands at 18.

In 2007, Johnson reclaimed the lead for the last time on lap 240 and held on to defeat Jeff Gordon by almost three seconds for his third straight win in Vegas. Johnson, who started 23rd on the grid, led four times for 89 laps, while Gordon, in the 36th starting spot, led for 111 laps. Pole sitter Kasey Kahne, who led for the first 13 laps, failed to finish the race due to an accident and placed 35th. The victory for Johnson was the 24th of his 53- win career.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway has the distinction of being the first completely new superspeedway to be built in the southwest region of the United States in more than 20 years. The track features a 1.5-mile superspeedway, a 2.5-mile FIA- approved road course, a 4,000-foot drag strip, paved and dirt short tracks, motocross circuits, stadium truck racing facilities, go-kart and Legends cars layouts as well as a Junior Drag racing strip. The track was originally built as the Las Vegas Jockey Club horse track. Only three motorsports events were held at the mile-long dirt track before it was razed to make way for the Las Vegas Hilton: An IndyCar championship race in 1954, a USAC stock car race in 1959 and the NASCAR event of 1955. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway recently went under a complete renovation, as added banking and a major facelift to the infield were concluded.

When Johnson won in 2006, he crossed the finish line .045 of a second ahead of Kenseth for his 20th career Sprint Cup title. Johnson led for only one lap in the race, but it was the last, as he won the second of his five 2006 titles. Pole sitter Greg Biffle finished eighth leading only six laps, while Kenseth was the lap leader with 146 laps led.

Back in 2005, Johnson recorded his first win of that season, as he edged Kyle Busch by 1.661 seconds for his 15th Sprint Cup title. Johnson, who started in the ninth position, led for 107 of the 267 laps, including the final 55.

In contrast to Johnson, Tony Stewart has not fared well in Sin City, posting an 0-12 Sprint Cup mark. Although he has seven top-10s, his best finish was second in 2000.

Only five of the previous 13 races at LVMS have been won from a top-10 starting position, with the pole sitter winning just once (2009).

For the first time since 1988, Kyle and Kurt Busch stand one-two in the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points list. The last time family members held the top two spots, was the father-son duo of Bobby and Davey Allison. No brothers have ever been 1-2 in the standings since the current points system went into effect in 1975.

Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon have raced in all 13 previous Las Vegas races. Labonte is the only driver of the four that is winless.

The Sprint Cup Series takes its first weekend break before running the March 20th Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson is the defending race winner.

03/01 17:52:41 ET

As of March 1, 2011, at 05:53 PM ET