NASCAR: Round 3 – Shelby American, Las Vegas – 28 February

Jimmie Johnson won the Vegas round, despite the fact that team mate Jeff Gordon dominated for most of the race.

In the end, a decision by Gordon to opt for only two tyres in the final pit stop handed Johnson a critical advantage in the closing laps. Even so, it took Johnson all his skills and two dozen laps to finally wrest the lead from Gordon, but once he did he brought it home to the chequered flag.

In a somewhat humdrum event, the only major incident was between Earnhardt Ganassi team-mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. McMurray turned Montoya into a slow spin which collected not just McMurray but also polesitter Kurt Busch who had never found his qualifying form and who had sunk back down the field by the time of the incident in turn 3 on lap 93. It left all three off the lead lap for the rest of the day after repairs, and out of contention.

Jamie plain and simple just wrecked us,” said Montoya. “Every time I am around him, he wants to run the [heck] out of me. I don’t know if it is okay to say that but I just did.

“On the restart I was inside of him, I think he got tight and never lifted, I didn’t hit the fence because… it was a miracle. Then I arced it in to 3 and he just plain and simple just wrecked us. I’m sure on the radio it was ‘ah, I didn’t mean that’. He is just trying to prove to people he can drive a race car and I guess he isn’t doing too many favours on this team.”

McMurry said he got loose while battling with Montoya and that he was unable to prevent hitting his team-mate’s car. “I just got really loose underneath him, he turned in a little bit earlier than I was expecting and when it did it made even looser,” said McMurray. “I just had to catch my car and unfortunately I got into him whenever I did that.”

The two later buried the hatchet. “[McMurray] said I’m sorry and I said OK,” said Montoya when asked about what his team-mate told him after the race. “In the moment I was really angry about what happened because last week we had an engine failure and then to lose a bunch of points again is not good for the championship. We need a lot of points now.”

Kyle Busch looked threatening for much of the afternoon running comfortably in the top ten until hit by a pit lane speeding penalty in the final round of stops 37 laps from the end.

Race results

Pos  Driver                Car         Laps
 1.  Jimmie Johnson        Chevrolet    267
 2.  Kevin Harvick         Chevrolet    267
 3.  Jeff Gordon           Chevrolet    267
 4.  Mark Martin           Chevrolet    267
 5.  Matt Kenseth          Ford         267
 6.  Joey Logano           Toyota       267
 7.  Tony Stewart          Chevrolet    267
 8.  Clint Bowyer          Chevrolet    267
 9.  Kasey Kahne           Ford         267
10.  Greg Biffle           Ford         267
11.  Jeff Burton           Chevrolet    267
12.  Carl Edwards          Ford         267
13.  David Reutimann       Toyota       267
14.  Marcos Ambrose        Toyota       267
15.  Kyle Busch            Toyota       267
16.  Dale Earnhardt Jr     Chevrolet    267
17.  Paul Menard           Ford         267
18.  Ryan Newman           Chevrolet    267
19.  Denny Hamlin          Toyota       267
20.  Martin Truex Jr       Toyota       267
21.  Regan Smith           Chevrolet    267
22.  Scott Speed           Toyota       266
23.  David Ragan           Ford         266
24.  Travis Kvapil         Ford         265
25.  A.J. Allmendinger     Ford         265
26.  Brad Keselowski       Dodge        265
27.  Elliott Sadler        Ford         265
28.  Sam Hornish Jr        Dodge        264
29.  Dave Blaney           Toyota       264
30.  David Gilliland       Ford         263
31.  Brian Vickers         Toyota       262
32.  Robby Gordon          Toyota       262
33.  Max Papis             Toyota       262
34.  Jamie McMurray        Chevrolet    260
35.  Kurt Busch            Dodge        259
36.  Kevin Conway          Ford         256
37.  Juan Montoya          Chevrolet    247
38.  Bobby Labonte         Chevrolet    216
39.  Mike Bliss            Chevrolet    135
40.  Boris Said            Ford         134
41.  Joe Nemechek          Toyota        65
42.  Michael McDowell      Toyota        40
43.  Aric Almirola         Chevrolet     23

Sprint Cup standings

Pos Driver              Points
1   Kevin Harvick       506
2   Clint Bowyer        459
3   Mark Martin         457
4   Matt Kenseth        448
5   Greg Biffle         443
6   Jimmie Johnson      443
7   Jeff Burton         430
8   Joey Logano         413
9   David Reutimann     397
10  Carl Edwards        389
11  Tony Stewart        386
12  Kyle Busch          375
13  Jeff Gordon         373
14  Jamie McMurray      363
15  D.Earnhardt Jr.     357
16  Scott Speed         348
17  Paul Menard         345
18  Brian Vickers       320
19  Kurt Busch          312
20  David Ragan         308
21  Denny Hamlin        304
22  Martin Truex Jr.    304
23  Kasey Kahne         277
24  Elliott Sadler      269
25  Regan Smith         252
26  J.P.Montoya         248
27  A.J.Allmendinger    248
28  Sam Hornish Jr.     246
29  Travis Kvapil       245
30  Brad Keselowski     240
31  Bobby Labonte       231
32  Ryan Newman         225
33  Marcos Ambrose      219
34  Robby Gordon        215
35  Max Papis           186
36  Boris Said          185
37  Mike Bliss          180
38  David Gilliland     158
39  Michael McDowell    138
40  Kevin Conway        125
41  Dave Blaney         121
42  Joe Nemechek        117
43  Michael Waltrip     109
44  Bill Elliott         82
45  R.Richardson         70
46  Aric Almirola        68
47  John Andretti        49
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