Monday, March 7, 2011
Edwards Wins Vegas 400 with Roush-Yates Power
LAS VEGAS, NV – Roush-Yates Ford engines are the ones to beat in 2011. After a dominating qualifying session, the Fords were 1,2,3 and 4 for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400. Tony Stewart was running a marvelous race leading 163 of the 267 laps, but a penalty for an air-hose incident in the pits midway through the race may have cost him the race. Stewart lost the race when, with 32 laps remaining, he pitted to take on 4-tires. After a series of green-flag stops, Carl Edwards chose to take only 2-tires and was able to wrestle the lead from Stewart. Stewart finished 1.24 sec behind Edwards, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Ryan Newman.
Tony Stewart was none-too-happy following the race. Referring to his air-hose incident during a pit stop on lap 154, “I want you guys to explain to me how we lost this race today before we get done today… I don’t even know what to say. This Mobil 1 Chevrolet was the baddest thing on the West Coast. Second sucks,” exclaimed Stewart. “We had the car to beat today, we just gave it away… I don't know what happened on the pit stop there, but we had a miscue and had a penalty and had to go to the back, and unfortunately it kind of dealt our cards for us.” Stewart and his crew worked hard to get Tony back in the race. He continued, “Darian made a good call getting us the track position back, but it also showed everybody else that they could do it, too, and we couldn't run two and a half runs on a set of left-side tires. Just shot ourselves in the foot two weeks in a row now.”
It was a tough day for several of the top contenders. Jeff Gordon, following the win at Phoenix, blew a tire and slammed hard into the wall on turn 4. David Gilliland also suffered a blown tire resulting in his car crashing into the turn-two wall. Though not ending his race, Kyle Busch also experienced a blown tire on lap 96. But only 14 laps later, Kyle’s Toyota engine blew shooting flames into the cockpit. The other Busch brother also suffered a mishap when he lost control on lap 103 causing Kasey Kahne to hit the wall. Kurt was able to recover from his “excursion” finishing ninth.
Following an “altercation in the garage” with Kevin Conway, Robby Gordon was placed on indefinite probation by NASCAR. Gordon and Conway, who drove seven races for Gordon in 2010, have been involved in litigation involving the relationship. "I'm sending you back to NASCAR, or to the Las Vegas police," Conway said. "That's all I can say about right now." The Las Vegas Police department will investigate the case to determine if any charges will be filed against Gordon.
"This is an exciting win for Roush Yates Engines," said Doug Yates, CEO of Roush Yates Engines in Mooresville, NC. "We ran great all week long. I think this says a lot about our program and how we plan to run at 1.5 mile tracks throughout the 2011 season. I want to thank Ford again for their support as we continue to excel with the FR9 engine."
NASCAR has instituted a new points system for 2011. As a result of the Vegas race, with 113 points, Stewart moved up two positions to tie Kurt Busch for the lead. The win at Vegas propelled Edwards to 3rd place. Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon fell 1 and 14 places respectively showing the volatility in the new point system.