After a rain out on Sunday the Daytona 500 is finally in the books and once again a lot of cars were taken out in one sweep late in the race. Coming out on top was Denny Hamlin for the second season in a row and third time in his career. A great start for a team that thought they should have won a championship last season.
PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY JIFFY LUBE
This week the series heads out west to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube. This is the first of many intermediate tracks that the series will run on this season. The rumor is that next season there will be more short tracks added to the schedule with some tracks being visited that haven’t been on the schedule before. I think that will make it a little more exciting.
Looking at the stats for the past few seasons here this is a tough race to call. There a quite a few drivers who have run consistently well at this track and I don’t really see that changing. The biggest question for me is to see if the Chevrolet teams have improved since last season. They were getting more competitive at the end of last season and they were very fast at Daytona last weekend.
Joey Logano: I am going to go with Joey to win the race this weekend. He won this race two years ago and has five top five and eight straight top ten finishes at this track. He also has Paul Wolfe for a crew chief this year and he has had a lot of success here in the past with Brad Keselowski, I’ll have to watch practice next week before I decide if he is going to be my starter or if it will be my second driver.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has won two of the past five races here including this race last season. He is going to be my second driver to choose from in the A group. He has finished in the top five in four of the last five races also and has finished in the top twenty here in his last twelve starts.
Brad Keselowski: The only reason I’m not going with Brad in this race is because he doesn’t have Paul Wolfe anymore. However, he has won three of the last eight races here and hasn’t finished worse than seventh in his last nine starts. Those a very impressive stats but, I want to see how he does with his new crew chief before I start using him this season.
Kyle Busch: Let’s not forget about our defending NASCAR champion. Kyle considers this his home track and has only won once here through his career. He does have four top five finishes in his last eight starts but, hasn’t run consistently well at this track. I think there are better tracks to use his starts at.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has finished in the top three in three of his last five starts at Las Vegas. Last year he had a lot of bad luck with a fast car. Starting out the year this team has forgotten all about the bad luck they had last season and have a lot of reason to be optimistic right now. I think they are going to have a great year.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has run really good here the past four races winning three stages and finishing second in three other stages. He has also won two of his last seven starts. You can never count him out and he is going to run towards the front all day and will be in contention for the win at the end of the race.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan has finished in the top seven in five of his seven career starts at this track. This team and driver seem to be getting a little better every week that goes by. Once he learns to have some patience early on in races and taking care of his equipment so he can be there at the end he is going to win a lot of races.
Aric Almirola: Since moving to Stewart-Haas Racing two years ago, Aric has run very well on the intermediate tracks. In fact he has finished in the top ten in three of his four starts at Las Vegas and I only see this team getting better in their third full season together. This is the type of track where this team can compete for a win.
Chase Elliott: Chase was the best of the Hendrick group last season and after seeing the speed improvements on the Chevrolet’s at Daytona last week it seems they might have found some more speed and might be able to compete with the other Manufacturers. He finished in the top ten in his last two starts and is looking to capitalize on the new found speed this season.
Matt Dibenedetto: Matt is in a new ride with the Wood Brothers this season and if he can run like Paul Menard did at Las Vegas in the same car he will have a shot at a win early on this season. Matt ran well last year and this car has finished in the top twenty in each of the last twelve races. Matt lead nine laps in the fall race here last year so, he knows how to get around this track at the front of the pack.
Update: Ross Chastain is subbing for Ryan Newman for the near future at least. Use him while he is in an upper tier seat.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Joey Logano
- Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game Group B
- Kyle Larson
- Aric Almirola
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Ryan Blaney
Driver Group Game Group C
- Cole Custer
- Ross Chastain
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Joey Logano
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Larson
Dark Horse: Matt DiBenedetto
Stay Away From: Clint Bowyer
Big 18: Joey Logano