Over the weekend, BallerStatus.com attended NASCAR’s Kobalt 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 267-lap race proved exciting up to the very last second with fearless gambles being placed in typical Vegas fashion.

During Sunday’s (March 9) race, we were granted an exclusive HOT Pass for the race, allowing us the chance to stay in Mountain Dew’s Kickstart pit and witness the action first hand.¬†Fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr., took to a slow start during the first half of the race. It wasn’t until the last 15 laps when things started to get interesting with the implementation of a very daring fuel strategy by Dale Jr’s team. The strategic conservation of motor fuel and reduction of pitstops proved risky, and in the end, he came up short as the #88 Chevrolet SS ran out of fuel and coasted to a second place finish, behind Penske’s Brad Keselowski.

During the race we learned the following impressive NASCAR facts: a professional NASCAR pit crew can change and replace all four tires, refuel and gear up a stock car all in 10-12 seconds; and that many of NASCAR’s pit crew employees are recruited former collegiate athletes, which after seeing the physical demands of the job first hand makes perfect sense.

After the race, Earnhardt sat next to two cans of Mountain Dew Kickstart drinks and remarked: “That’s all we needed, just 16 ounces,” during a post Kobalt 400 interview.

1. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 267 laps, 48 points, $449,048.
2. D. Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, 267 laps, 43 points, $263,005.
3. P. Menard, Chevy, 267 laps, 42 points, $237,719.

See also: Q&A: NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Talks Kobalt 400, Mountain Dew