Sam Hornish Jr. scored his second career Nationwide Series victory in Saturday's Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The Penske racing driver piloted his Ford Mustang to his second win in 69 series starts in front of a good crowd at the 1.5-mile speedway.
Hornish became the 11th different Nationwide Series winner at LVMS.
“This feels awesome,” said Hornish, who led 114 laps on Saturday. “The car was great. One of the things I said when we did the ride around was what a great crowd we had here. I didn’t know until this morning that this was the Sam’s Town 300. It is kinda cool that I was able to win it.
“I have to thank all the people at Penske Racing and Roush Yates engines for giving us this opportunity. It is great to get Penske Racing’s first victory back in a Ford. We were so close at Daytona. Man, the car was awesome today. It was a real joy to drive.”
Although Hornish dominated the afternoon the win didn’t come easy during the final laps when a late race accident bunched up the field for the last restart.
Joey Gase, Ryan Sieg and Kyle Larson were involved in a multi-car crash racing through turn two that set up the final dash to the checkered flag.
Larson, who was involved in an earlier accident racing for position with Trevor Bayne, climbed from his battered car after it caught fire and came to rest on the inside backstretch wall. He was uninjured in the melee.
The green flew again on Lap 194, with Hornish holding off a tough challenge from Kyle Busch to take a 1.100 second victory.
“Now I know how everyone else felt last week,” said a frustrated Busch, referring to his dominating victory a week ago in Phoenix.
The victory was the first Nationwide Series win for crew chief Greg Erwin. The veteran joined Penske Racing this year to work with Hornish.
“He’s a heck of a driver and this team worked so hard in the off season to get ready,” said Erwin. “I’m proud of the effort today to be sure.”
Brian Vickers, Bayne and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.
“We had a lot of ups and downs today but we fought back every single time,” said Bayne of his rally to a fourth place effort after his early crash. “These guys never got down. You couldn’t tell a difference on the radio in their tone of voice. That is what it takes. We have to take bad days, and this should have been a 12th place day after we wrecked, and we finished fourth. We had a chance to win it at the end and didn’t get position on them. I am really proud.”
Austin Dillon, Regan Smith, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott and Travis Pastrana completed the first ten finishers.
“I am just excited to have finished a race after last weekend,” said Pastrana about his Phoenix outing. “We learned something even though practice was canceled. Last weekend we had a lot of practice but we have no idea what we would have done for the race. I am really excited for the guys and I know there is a lot I need to work on for next weekend but a top-10 finish here, I will definitely take it.”
The NASCAR Nationwide Series now heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday afternoon.