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Long: Three thoughts on Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas

Kobalt 400

Kobalt 400

Drew Hallowell

1. Crew chief Greg Ives showed he was willing to gamble, calling for a two-tire change on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final pit stop with about 35 laps left. It didn’t work, as Kevin Harvick (on four fresh tires) got around Earnhardt and went on to the win, while Earnhardt placed fourth. For those wondering about Earnhardt’s new crew chief, well, he seems to have a bit of the gambling style Steve Letarte was known to have. That’s not a bad thing.

2. It’s a great start of the season for the single-car teams of Martin Truex Jr. and AJ Allmendinger - both are a part of the Richard Childress Racing alliance. Truex finished second with Allmendinger sixth Sunday. The key is how these teams fare as the season progresses. Can these feel-good stories continue through the season’s grind?

3. Last week at Atlanta, Chevrolet teams finished 1-2-3 with Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., representing Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing. Sunday, Chevrolet teams went 1-2-3-4 with Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman and Earnhardt. Those four cars represent four different teams (Stewart-Haas, Furniture Row, Richard Childress Racing and Hendirck Motorsports). The question is when will the Ford and Toyota teams match those Chevrolet teams on 1.5-mile tracks.

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