The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third race of the 2014 Sprint Cup Season, the Kobalt Tools 400. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, March 9; 3:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 75; wind out of the ENE at 7 mph. There is a ZERO percent chance of precipitation.
The Track: Las Vegas MotorSpeedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile tri-oval that was reconfigured in 2007 when the banking on the corners was been increased from 12 degrees to 20 degrees. Roush Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have mostly dominated races at the track since it opened in 1998.
Key to Race: BEAT THE BIG BOYS
There have been 15 races run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway since it opened and cars from the Roush-Fenway and Hendrick Motorsports stables have won 11 of them. The ability these teams have to experiment with multiple setups during practice gives them a great chance to win the race.
48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing have been a force on 1.5 mile tracks the past year. He is our pick to win big in Vegas.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won four of the past nine races at Las Vegas. Feel free to use the No. 48 in all leagues.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch won the 2009 race in Vegas and has finished in the top 15 in seven of the past nine races at his hometown track. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has seven consecutive top 16 finishes in Sin City. He is a great choice.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the 2011 and 2008 races at Las Vegas. He will have a top five car again this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has finished outside the top 10 just four times during his career at Vegas. We love his chances.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: The Blue Deuce was awesome at Vegas last year. He will be a solid pick this visit.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has been a top five finisher at Vegas six times. He will finish inside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has averaged an 11th place finish at Vegas the past nine years. He should finish inside the top 11 again on Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has finished in the top six in five of the last nine races at Vegas. He should be in the lead pack again.
11 to 20
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been great in four of the past six races at Vegas.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished in the top 15 in four of the last five races at Vegas. He is a solid choice.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has seven top 15 at Vegas. We expect he will be pushing to crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch has been inconsistent in Vegas during his career. This isn’t a great weekend to use the 41.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has run decent at Las Vegas during his career. Use him in most leagues.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman should have the No. 31 inside the top 20 when the checkers fly on Sunday afternoon.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky S. drove a decent race last year at Vegas. He should crack the top 20 once again.
No. 3 Austin Dillion: Dillon will run decent at Las Vegas, but he is still a rookie.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has cracked the top 22 in all five of his career starts at Las Vegas. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has averaged an 18th place finish at Las Vegas during his career. We predict he will finish a little slower than his average.
21 to 30
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has averaged an 18th place finish at Vegas in his career. He is a decent option.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard is usually a very good shoe at Vegas. Round out your roster with him this weekend.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers knows his way around Las Vegas. He will finish inside the top 30.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne: Bayne has surprised with his runs at Vegas. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Dinger has averaged a 28th place finish at Las Vegas. He will finish right around his average.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick was horrible at Vegas last year. Avoid her.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has been hit-or-miss at Vegas during his career. He is a bit of a risky pick on Sunday.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Las Vegas is one of the best tracks for Mears. If there is ever a weekend to use him it is this one.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has been terrible at Vegas in his career. Avoid him.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: The talented rookie will continue to earn his yellow stripe.
No. 66 Jeff Burton
No. 44 J.J. Yeley
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 32 Travis Kvapil
No. 77 Dave Blaney
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 30 Parker Kligerman
No. 33 Timmy Hill
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 35 Blake Koch
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 98 Josh Wise
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Matt Kenseth
B. Greg Biffle
C. Jeff Burton