By Noel Lanier For Civitas Media
March 13, 2014
LAS VEGAS — It’s a situation no one wants to experience: running out of gas. If you’re a NASCAR driver it can mean the difference between winning or losing. That’s exactly what happened to Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Making a decision late in the race to stay out and not pit during a caution gave Dale Jr. the opportunity to pull away from Brad Keselowski on the restart and maintain the lead with only 15 laps remaining. It created quite a battle between the two, but with only a half lap to go, Dale Jr.’s engine began to sputter as he ran out of gas and Brad Keselowski sped past to the checkered flag.
The win by the #2 Lite Beer Ford of Team Penske gave Keselowski a sweep of the weekend races. And, instead of his second win in three races this season, Dale Jr. was the runner-up for the second consecutive week.
Keselowski completed the first weekend sweep by a Ford driver since Carl Edwards won both races at Phoenix in 2010.
Paul Menard ran third, followed by pole winner Joey Logano and Carl Edwards, with Fords taking three of the top five positions.
“It’s such a relief for myself and everyone on the team to get that win in early and being able to enjoy the racing opportunity that we have, rather than being stressed out about it,” Keselowski told reporters following the race.
With the win, Keselowski is all but guaranteed a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.