Mark Martin rolled to his all-time record 49th career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory and Danica Patrick placed fourth to become highest NASCAR history at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Martin and his No. 32 Turner Motorsports machine took the race lead from Brad Keselowski with 11 of 200 laps remaining after Keselowski's No. 22 Penske Racing ride suffered a flat tire and connected with the outside retaining wall in Turn 4.
After a pit call to attempt to extend fuel mileage, the No. 32 had enough in its fuel tank to cross the finish line 1.221 seconds ahead of Justin Allgaier and his No. 31 Turner Motorsports racecar. Keselowski took third in Las Vegas and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne snared fifth place for Roush Fenway Racing.
Martin wheeled to his fourth victory and sixth career top-10 finish through six Las Vegas Motor Speedway starts. It also marked
"Trent Owens deserves all the credit for this one. He made the right calls. The only chance we had was to save, save, save (fuel). I decided I wasn't going to run out of gas, then, with two to go, I went ahead and stepped on it.
"I don't care how hard you try, you just can't win these things. You just can't do it and then when it's time, it just happens. Turner Motorsports racing one, two; that's a storybook ending for me," Martin said.
Patrick, who went two laps down in her No. 7 JR Motorsports car at one juncture, became the highest finishing female competitor in a NASCAR national series event and the first female to score a top-five finish in a Nationwide Series race. Her previous best series finish was 14th at Daytona International Speedway earlier this season.
Sara Christian held the previous all-time series record for best female finish. She raced to a fifth-place Sprint Cup Series finish in Heidlberg, Pa., on Oct. 2, 1949.
"To be honest, I think we're making some real progress. We make progress every weekend, but it's just a matter of, are you on the lead lap and in position to take advantage by the end of the race?
"Just like any weekend, you'll take a good result. I don't want this to create any sort of false expectations that I'm going to go out and go for a top-five or a top-10 finish at Bristol. My goal at Bristol is to finish and not be more than 10 laps down. When I tell people Bristol is my next track, they're like, 'Oh, oh.' So they're kind of putting me in a scared position," Patrick said.
She currently sits fourth in the series standings and 13 points behind leader Reed Sorenson when series arrives at Bristol Motor Speedway for a March 19 tussle. Sorenson placed 11th at Las Vegas and holds a two-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who took an eighth-place race finish.
Race coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m., on PRN and Sirius XM 128 radio and 2:00 p.m. on ESPN..
Story by Mike Schmaltz with contribution from NASCAR