Patrick With History Making Run

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Mark Martin won the Nationwide Series race at

Las Vegas Motor Speedway when a flat tire sent leader Brad

Keselowski into the wall on the final lap.

The race, however, will be remembered for Danica Patrick's

history making run.

Patrick placed fourth, the best finish for a woman in a national

NASCAR race since Sara Christian was fifth at Pittsburgh in 1949.

"We just had a good car, that's all I can say. That's what

makes a difference in these things," said Patrick. "I know I

haven't had the best results, especially in NASCAR, but we're

getting them now."

Patrick came back from a lap down and worked her way into the

top 10, then capitalized when most of the drivers ahead of her had

to make late fuel stops. That included pole-sitter Carl Edwards,

who gave up the lead to pit late.

It put Patrick inside the top five, where she improved on her

previous career-best finish of 14th, earned at Daytona last month.

It's the 16th race of her NASCAR career.

"I don't know. I don't think about trying to achieve the

highest finish of a female," she said. "I think about trying to

win the race."

The fuel issues, and a midrace crash by Kyle Busch, shuffled the

final running order and put Keselowski in position to win the race.

But the defending Nationwide champion got a flat tire on the final

lap and his Dodge darted into the wall.

"Must have run over something because it went down pretty

quick," he said.

Martin, who didn't think he had enough gas to get to the finish,

then sailed by for the victory.

"I just decided I wasn't going to run out of gas, and then with

two to go, I went ahead and stepped on it (because) I figured I was

close enough to the finish," Martin said. "Golly, that's a

storybook ending for me."

Just Allgaier finished second to give Turner Motorsports, a

Nationwide Series team competing against Sprint Cup teams every

weekend, a 1-2 finish. Keselowski wound up third.

Trevor Bayne was fifth and Edwards settled for sixth after

leading 68 laps. Denny Hamlin was seventh, while Ricky Stenhouse

Jr., Jason Leffler and Kenny Wallace rounded out the top 10.

Busch led a race-high 84 laps, but wrecked when he tried to make

a three-wide pass around Keselowski. He ducked his car into the

grass, lost control and couldn't save it as he ran into an interior

wall. He finished 30th.

"I know the grass typically doesn't work, so I look kind of

stupid doing that," he said. "I screwed up."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)