Stenhouse earns 1st win of 2012 at Las Vegas

By John Marshall

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 10 2012 6:00 p.m. MST

Drivers cross the start/finish line at the beginning of the Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 auto race on Saturday, March 10, 2012, in Las Vegas.

Isaac Brekken, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the final 54 laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday for his first victory of the season.

Stenhouse had a strong car all day and dominated the end of the 200-mile race, pulling away from Mark Martin on a pair restarts on the 1.5-mile tri-oval in the desert.

Martin, who had won four of his previous six Nationwide starts at Las Vegas, finished second in his first Nationwide race for Joe Gibbs Racing. Polesitter Elliott Sadler rallied to finish third after a lengthy mid-race pit stop to fix a vibration.

Danica Patrick was 12th in the first race at LVMS since IndyCar star Dan Wheldon was killed in a fiery crash last fall.

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