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2011 Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took his first victory of 2012 in a stop-start race in Las Vegas. Pole man Elliott Sadler lead for a large part of the race before eventually coming third behind veteran Mark Martin. A series of cautions throughout the race meant plenty of lead changes, but it was Stenhouse who pulled away when it mattered to take the checkered flag.
Elliott Sadler lead away from the front in the opening laps as he looked for his second victory in a row after taking the checkered flag in Phoenix last week. Defending champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. moved into second place early on until the first caution came out on lap 12 when Kyle Fowler and Benny Gordon got into a spin at the back of the pack.
Sadler once again lead the field away from the restart as the group spread out with very little wheel-to-wheel racing happening. The track which was criticized last year for pack racing when Dan Wheldon died in a multi-car wreck in the IndyCar finale, and Kyle Busch was the next to hit the Vegas walls on the back straight, bringing out caution number two and another mass of pit-stops. Kasey Kahne jumped Sadler during the caution and he lead away from the restart.
Phoenix winner Sadler had a poor restart and dropped down the pack allowing Kahne to pull away at the front, but it was not long until they were behind the pace car again when Joey Gase brushed the wall coming out of turn two, the same place Busch lost it twelve laps earlier.
Like Sadler on the previous restart, Kahne did not get away well from the outside, and Brian Scott took the lead for the next stint of the 300 miles. The Vegas oval was still failing to provide much close pack racing as the drivers found space fairly easily unless they came up against lapped traffic.
Kahne had retaken the lead when caution number four came out after Mike Bliss turned around Jennifer Jo Cobb on the tri-oval, Cobb managing to keep it out of the wall, but stalling in the middle of turn one. Kahne once again dropped to second from the restart as Brad Keselowski took his turn to lead the field as the race approached its halfway point. It was turning into a race riddled with cautions and very little wheel-to-wheel in between as Kasey Kahne once more regained the lead.
Previous leader Brian Scott brought out the next caution when he hit the wall hard in turn four, and a six-lap caution saw Mark Martin take the lead, with Allgaier and Sam Hornish Jr. also beneficiaries of the yellow flag period. It still was not your regular NASCAR event. Mark Martin held the lead comfortably as once again the pack began to fan out between cautions.
The next caution fell with a little over 50 laps remaining when TJ Bell stalled his car on the track apron of turn two, Stenhouse Jr. beat Martin out of the pits, with Danica Patrick finding herself in sixth place. The caution was out again soon after when Jeremy Clements put his car on the infield after contact with Tayler Malsem as the race approached its finale stages with Stenhouse still out front.
Cole Whitt in the No.88 spot found himself running in the top three, and things were tightening up as Elliott Sadler made a push back up the running group to put himself back in contention with 30 laps to go.
Stenhouse Jr. pushed on and extended his lead as the field entered their final 10 laps, only a caution now would deny the 2011 champion his first victory of the season. As the white flag dropped, it seemed the leader was running out of fuel, but he held on to take the flag ahead of Mark Martin and Phoenix winner Elliott Sadler.