Vickers echoed Busch's praise of Hornish's superior car.
"I couldn't move around much," said Vickers, a top-10 finisher three times in six Vegas races. "The car would get out from under me. Seemed like Sam could not only get through the bumps, but he could run top through bottom.
"We just ended up getting too loose. We killed the car on the last run. It was a valiant effort, trying to go for the win."
Hornish regained his early lead on the 145th lap, but Scott Lagasse Jr.'s late spin and an even later wreck forced him to be resourceful out of restarts.
Shortly after Lagasse's spin, rookie Kyle Larson's car ended up in flames after a big collision with Joey Gase and Ryan Sieg. Larson, who also hit the wall on the 87th lap, emerged from his car unharmed.
Larson, a 20-year-old from the Sacramento area, survived a frightening crash on the final lap of the Nationwide race two weeks ago at Daytona, where his car sailed into the fence and peppered the crowd with debris, including a tire, injuring more than two dozen fans.
Hornish leads the Nationwide points standings by 19 points over Justin Allgaier.