Race #3: Shelby 427

Hometown boy Kyle Busch shocks almost no one, winning his first race of the season and earning his first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Thankfully, the Jersey Boys are finished singing the National Anthem and Robin Leach has fulfilled his prerace duties — it’s safe to race. Does Matt Kenseth make history? Does Junior turn things around? We’ll know more in 427 miles …

Green Flag
Well, Brad Keselowski answered that burning question — would today’s race mimic Satruday’s, which was something of a wreck fest. But at least Saturday’s first caution didn’t come until Lap 8.

Problems For Kenseth?
Anyone else need any further proof why it’s beyond silly to start talking about a team’s season-long performance two races into a 36-race season? Kenseth may have solved his near-term problems, but Dick Berggren tells us that Kenseth still believes his motor isn’t right.

So goodbye to that "Will Kenseth Make History?" Narrative
Kenseth done blowed up.

But, if the Chase for the Championship ended today, he’d still be third…

Picking up Where We Left Off
Jimmie Johnson out front and has led every lap so far…is this a replay of California or what?

So Much for A Good Pitstop
Earnhardt too fast entering, has to do a pass-through penalty. Taking a good, quick stop and throwing it right out the window. Junior apologized to his crew on the radio…

Junior reiterates his apology to the crew. Eury Jr. takes that opportunity to tell Junior that he’s done a good job stopping properly in his pit stall…gotta walk before you can run, I guess…

Holy Crap!
Often times, you hear a broadcaster extoll the virtues of a driver and you’re forced to wonder what they saw that you didn’t. Well, at least, that’s what happens to me. But that maneuver brought to you by Jamie McMurray? Lord, that was one hell of a bit of driving, to not wreck when he lost his back end. Wow.

Bad Day for Roush
Engine number two gives up the ghost, this one in the No. 6 belonging to David Ragan. Kenseth started the day first in points, Ragan began it eighth. If the race ended right now, neither Kenseth nor Ragan would finish in those same spots.

96 Laps In
Well, at least it isn’t raining … and Junior is the beneficiary of the Lucky Dog rule. Is that a great rule or what?

Sixth Caution
And another engine bites the dust — this time, Mark Martin’s. Think collars are getting tight in the No. 88 pits?

Eighth Caution
Past halfway. Junior has worked his way back up to 12th. There’s still a long way to go in this race, and he could win the thing, but it really is hard not to wonder what this season already could have looked like if Earnhardt could just come to grips with his pitroad issues…

Tony Stewart
A friend of mine loves Tony Stewart. Just loves him. When Stewart left Gibbs, my friend was worried — is he gonna suck, he wondered? Not a chance, I assured him.

I have to say, it never occurred to me that Tony Stewart would be anything but successful as a driver/owner … I don’t know why, I don’t have any special powers — well, I do but those are between me and my wife. Regardless, it just didn’t seem credible to me to think that a driver of Stewart’s caliber would leave such a good situation unless he was pretty damn certain he’d land on his feet. Three weeks in, Stewart looks pretty good.

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing 
The newly-merged Earnhardt Ganassi Racing finished 11th at Daytona and 27th last week at California. Though the underfunded team isn’t desperate yet, it certainly can’t afford too many bad weeks in a row. Unfortunately, with fewer than 90 laps remaining and Martin Truex Jr. running 35th, it doesn’t look like this will be the week that things turn around.

Strike Three and Roush is Out?
Greg Biffle having engine trouble, could be down a cylinder? Two weeks in a row for serious engine troubles? This is the kind of trend that causes panic within an organization.

Gordon Channels Junior?
Jeff Gordon locks up on entering pitroad, skips the stop, blows a left front and ruins his left-front fender. Big mistake. Bad mistake. Gordon had been running top five virtually the whole day.

Interestingly, crew chief Steve Letarte is immediately calling on his team to come up with a plan — do we try to fix this thing or cut off the damaged body parts and get back out? Let’s go, guys, come up with a plan, come up with a plan.

Could be common among all teams, but still cool to hear the back and forth.

40 To Go
Check out this top 10: Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Brian Vickers, David Reutimann, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon — three, maybe four names that make you go say wha?
 
12th Caution
This is the race, right here: who has the best stop??

Bowyer takes a gamble and stays out, inheriting the lead. He’s trailed by Burton in second and Gordon in third, both of whom made fuel-only stops. If Gordon squeezes a top-five out of this? Wow.

13th Caution
No way Kyle Busch doesn’t win this race…

You don’t have to like him to admire the talent and confidence — a confidence that obviously permeates the team. After Busch made quick work of Bowyer to take the lead, his spotter could be heard saying Say Goodnight, Gracie, as Busch disappeared up the track.

Color Me Surprised
Is it just me or has Jimmie Johnson had about as much bad luck in these first three races that he’s had in the last three years combined?

Color Me Not Surprised
Hard to call Kyle Busch’s win anything but expected. As Jeff Gordon said in a FOX clip, when the kid’s equipment is right and he’s out front, there’s just no catching him.

1–Busch
2–Bowyer
3–Burton
4–Reutimann
5–Labonte
6–Gordon
7–Biffle
8–Vickers
9–McMurray
10–Earnhardt Jr.

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