NASCAR: Kobalt 400 in Vegas

In the first of three races on the west coast – the west coast swing – the Monster Energy Cup Series comes to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400.

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Stages one and two of the race will be 80 laps with the final stage lasting 107 laps. Las Vegas is a mile and a half track.

For the second week in a row only 39 teams brought cars to the track.

Brad Keselowsi won the pole position in qualifying on Friday and will bring the field down for the green flag.

Award winning Hall of Famer John Fogerty gave the command to start the engines.

The starting lineup for the Kobalt 400:
Brad Keselowski
Martin Truex Jr
Ryan Blanehy
Matt Kenseth
Kyle Larson
Joey Logano
Kasey Kahne
Erik Jones
Kyle Busch
Jamie McMurray
Daniel Suarez
Chase Elliott
Clint Bowyer
Paul Menard
Denny Hamlin
Jimmie Johnson
Kurt Busch
Dale Earnhardt. Jr
Kevin Harvick
Trevor Bayne
Ryan Newman
Austin Dillon
AJ Allmendinger
Ty Dillon
Chris Buescher
Michael McDowell
Landon Cassill
Danica Patrick – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments
Ricky Stenhouse Jr – moved to the rear of the field in a backup car
Aric Almirola
Matt DiBenedetto
David Ragan
Cole Whitt
Corey LaJoie
Gray Gaulding
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Reed Sorenson
Drrrike Cope
Timmy Hill – moved to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments

Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the start of the race and is immediately challenged by Martin Truex Jr with Keselowski leading the first lap.

Four laps into the race and Brad Keselowski has a lead of half a second over the second place driver Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 10 Brad Keselowski is still leading the field with a lead of half a second.

Lap 17 Brad Keselowski has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half over second place driver Martin Truex Jr.

The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap 18 when Corey LaJoie hit the wall and trails smoke. Jeffrey Earnhardt is the “lucky dog”.

Drivers come down pit road for service. Many of the drivers were reporting loose conditions.

Martin Truex Jr leads the race off of pit road and takes over the lead of the race.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 25 and is challenged by Brad Keselowski who takes over the lead.

Lap 30 Brad Keselowski holds on to the lead of the race.

Lap 40 – halfway through stage one – Brad Keselowski has a lead of over a second on second place driver Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 46 Brad Keselowski has increased his lead to over a socond.

Lap 50 Keselowski has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half.

Lap 54 Keselowski has increased his lead to nearly two and a half seconds with 30 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 60 Brad Keselowski’s lead is down to two seconds over Martin Truex Jr.

Kevin Harvick brings out the second caution flag of the race on lap 69 when he hits the wall after blowing a tire.

Once pit road opens many of the drivers come down pit road for service. Jamie McMurray wins the race off of pit road but after not pitting Joey Logano takes over the lead of the race.

Choosing the outside lane, Joey Logano brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 75.

Getting three wide Martin Truex Jr takes over the lead of the race. After not taking any tires, Joey Logano drops to 16th place in two laps.

On the final lap of stage one Martine Truex Jr has a lead of over a second.

Martin Truex Jr wins stage one.

The top 10 drivers at the end of stage one:
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski
Chase Elliott
Jaie McMurray
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Busch
Matt Kenseth
Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Kevin Harvick joins Corey LaJoie out of the race.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the start of stage two on lap 88 and holds on to the lead of the race.

Lap 14 of stage two Martin Truex Jr has a lead of a second on second place driver Kyle Larson.

Lap 17 Truex has increased his lead to a second and a half. Brad Keselowski passes Kyle Larson for second place. Kurt Busch is reporting a possible battery/alternator issue.

Lap 20 of stage two Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half.

Lap 107 Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over two seconds on second place driver Brad Keselowski.

With 48 laps remaining in stage two Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over two and a half seconds over second place driver Brad Keselowski.

With 46 laps remaining in stage two, Truex’s lead is over three seconds.

At the halfway point of stage two – lap 120 – Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over three seconds. There are 25 cars on the lead lap and two cars out of the race.

With 38 laps remaining in stage two drivers are beginning to make green flag pit stops.

With 35 laps remaining in stage two, Truex brings his car down pit road for service giving the lead to Brad Keselowski.

Kyle Busch and Gray Gaulding were caught speeding on pit road. Cole Whitt was caught speeding on pit road during his first pit stop.

Once green flag pit stops have cycled through, Martin Truex Jr reclaims the lead of the race with a lead of over three and a half seconds over second place driver Chase Elliott. There are 19 cars on the lead lap.

With 10 laps remaining in stage two Chase Elliott has closed Martin Truex Jr’s lead to less than three seconds.

Derrike Cope brings out the fourth caution on lap 152 afer spinning out. Kyle Busch is the “lucky dog”.

Martin Truex Jr leads the race off of pit road but not all of the drivers came down pit road.

Jimmie Johnson brings the field down for the green flag restart with just four laps remaining in the stage. Martin Truex Jr takes the lead of the race.

Martin Truex Jr wins stage two and wins another 10 championship points and an additional playoff point.

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Martin Truex Jr
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Ryan Blaney
Dale Earnhardt Jr’
Jamie McMurray
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 167. There are 24 cars on the lead lap after four drivers took the wave around.

With 95 laps remaining in the race Martin Truex Jr has increased his lead to over a second. Kurt Busch has hit the outside wall but the track stays green.

With 90 laps remaining in the race Truex has increased his lead to over a second and a half.

Landon Cassill also brushed the wall but the track stays green.

With 80 laps remaining in the race Martin Truex Jr has a lead of nearly two seconds.

With 70 laps to go Truex’s lead is down to just over a second on second place driver Brad Keselowski.

On lap 200 Kurt Busch comes down pit road for a battery change after having a number issues during the race.

Lap 210 drivers begin making green flag pit stops.

Kurt Busch returns to the track four laps down.

With 40 laps remaining in the race, Jimmie Johnson fianally makes his way down pit road for his green flag pit stop which hands the lead back to Martin Truex Jr.

With 35 laps to go Martin Truex’s lead over second place driver Brad Keselowski is just over a second.

Twenty-seven laps to go in the race and Martin Truex Jr’s lead is down to half a second over Brad Keselowski.

With 24 laps to go Keselowski challenges Truex for the lead and passes Truex to lead the race.

Nineteen laps remaining in the race and there are 18 cars on the lead lap.

Sixteen laps to go and Danica Patrick brings out the caution flag after blowing an engine. Aric Almirola is the “lucky dog”.

Brad Keselowski wins the race off of pit road.

Jimmie Johnson had to make a second trip down pit road to tighten lug nuts.

With only nine laps remaining in the race Brad Keselowski brings the field down for the green flag restart Keselowski edging out the lead in turn one.

With two laps to go Martin Truex Jr passes Brad Keselowski for the lead. Keselowski is reporting some power issues.

Martin Truex Jr takes the white flag.

Martin Truex Jr wins the race as cars wreck behind him. He becomes the first driver to win the cycle – all three stages.

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While Truex is celebrating Kyle Busch and Joey Logano get into a fight on pit road that leaves Kyle with a bloody forehead.

The unofficial results of the Kobalt 400:
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Joye Logano
Brad Keselowski
Kenny Hamlin
Ryan Reed
Jamie McMurray
Matt Kenseth
Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson
Kasey Kahne
Trevor Bayne
Aric Almirola
Erik Jones
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Ryan Newman
Michael McDowell
Paul Menard
Daniel Suarez
Ty Dillon
Kyle Busch
Chris Buescher
AJ Allmendinger
Austin Dillon
Matt DiBenedetto
LandonCassill
Cole Whitt
David Ragan
Kurt Busch
Reed Sorenson
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Gray Gaulding
Derrike Cope
Danica Patrick
Timmy Hill
Kevin Harvick
Corey LaJoie

photos courtesy of:
By Eddie Maloney from North Las Vegas, USA – Las Vegas Motor Speedway, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31883705

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41336482


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