The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third race of the 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 8; 3:46 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 75; wind out of the E at 4 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 18 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 gives them a great chance to win the race. As we saw last weekend at Atlanta it is important to pay attention to who drives well in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. With the cars in the Xfinity and Sprint Series very similar this year drivers who are fast on Saturday will likely also be fast on Sunday.
48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won four of the past 10 races at Las Vegas and was fantastic late in Sunday’s race at Atlanta. Feel free to use the No. 48 in all leagues.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has seven consecutive top 17 finishes in Sin City. He finished second last year and is a great choice this weekend.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has averaged an 11th place finish at Vegas the past 10 years. He was fast last weekend and should be great once again.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: The Blue Deuce won at Vegas last year. He will be a solid pick this visit.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has run decent at Las Vegas during his career. Use him in most leagues.
6 to 10
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing didn’t have a great car last weekend in Atlanta, but fought their way to a decent finish. We don’t think one week will give them enough time to fix their setup enough to win.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has finished in the top six in five of the last 10 races at Vegas. He should be in the lead pack again.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the 2011 and 2008 races at Las Vegas. He will have a top 10 car again this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has finished outside the top 10 just five times during his career at Vegas. We love his chances.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has eight top 15 finishes at Vegas. We expect he will be pushing to crack the top 10 on Sunday.
11 to 20
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished in the top 15 in four of the last six races at Vegas. He is a solid choice.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson finished 19th at Vegas last year. He is a great option.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex was excellent at Atlanta last weekend. He should be fast again
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been great in four of the past seven races at Vegas, but he was slow last week at Atlanta.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon ran good at Vegas last year. He will be better this visit.
No. 41 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged a 25th place finish at Vegas in his career. He should be a little better this visit.
No. 18 David Ragan: Ragan has been hit-or-miss at Vegas during his career. Even in the No. 18 car he is a bit of a risky pick on Sunday.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman should have the No. 31 inside the top 20 when the checkers fly on Sunday afternoon.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has been a top five finisher at Vegas six times, but we hated how he looked last weekend. We advise staying away from him at this point in the season.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky S. drove a decent race at Vegas in 2013. He should crack the top 20 once again.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard is usually a very good shoe at Vegas. Round out your roster with him this weekend.
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has averaged a 28th place finish at Las Vegas in his career. He should finish right around his average.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne has surprised with his runs at Vegas. He is worth using in most leagues.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick actually looked solid during parts of last Sunday’s race. She might be more of a fantasy option than her owner.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has averaged an 18th place finish at Vegas in his career. He is a decent option.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers is back inside the No. 55 this weekend. He knows his way around Las Vegas. He will finish inside the top 30.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: Dinger has averaged a 26th place finish at Las Vegas. He will finish right around his average.
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. 21 Ryan Blaney: Blaney should have no issue getting the No. 21 car into the top 30.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 26 Jeb Burton
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 33 Brian Scott
No. 62 Brendan Gaughan
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 66 Mike Wallace
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 23 J.J. Yeley
No. 29 Reed Soreson
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 44 Travis Kvapil
No. 83 Matt Dibenedetto
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Kyle Larson
C. David Ragan