The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third race of the 2013 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 10; 3:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 68; wind out of the NNW at 13 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 dominated the races at the track since it opened in 1998.
Key to Race: BEAT THE BIG BOYS
There have been 14 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.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won four of the past eight races at Las Vegas. Feel free to rely heavily on the No. 48 in all leagues.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart won last year’s race at Vegas and has been a top five finisher at track six times. He will finish inside the top five again this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the 2011 and 2008 races at Las Vegas. He will have a top five car again this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has finished outside the top 10 just three times at Vegas during his career. We love his chance.
No. 22 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has won two of the last 10 races at Vegas. He shouldn’t have a problem cracking the top 10.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has finished in the top six in five of the last eight races at Vegas. He will be in the lead pack again.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been great in four of the past five races at Vegas. With the speed Ford brought so far this season, The Biff is a fine choice.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch won the 2009 race in Vegas and has finished in the top 15 in six of the past eight races at his hometown track. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has averaged an 11th place finish at Vegas the past seven years. He should finish around his average on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has five consecutive top 17 finishes in Sin City. We expect he will have a strong car again.
11 to 20
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has six top 15 finishes and two 35th or worse finishes at Vegas in his career. He should be pushing to crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has nine top 11 finishes in 15 career starts at Vegas. He will be one of the top 15 cars.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman was terrific at Vegas last season. He should have the No. 39 inside the top 15 when the checkers fly on Sunday afternoon.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: The Blue Deuce has struggled at Vegas so far in his career. There is a good chance he will break out of the slump on Sunday.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has four-straight top 15 finishes at Vegas. He is a solid choice.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse has driven very well so far this season. He will remain worth using.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has notched seven top five finishes in 15 career starts at Vegas. He is a rock solid third driver in all fantasy leagues.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has cracked the top 20 in all four of his career starts at Las Vegas. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has driven very well in the Double-Deuce so far this season. He is a decent buy-low candidate for those that gave up on him when he was bumped from the No. 20 car.
No. 51 Austin Dillon: Dillon is in the No. 51 car this weekend. He is worth gambling on.
21 to 30
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya ran a strong race at Vegas in 2011, but was very average last year. He is only a third or fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has averaged an 18th place finish at Las Vegas during his career. We predict he will finish right around his average.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard is off to a terrific start this season and was great at Las Vegas last year. For those of you in deep leagues he is someone to grab immediately.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has continued the strong driving he had last season in the No. 43. He is someone to grab in all deep leagues.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray cracked the top 10 at Vegas last year, but he is off to a poor start this season.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick drove like a rookie at Phoenix. More will be expected this weekend.
No. 83 David Reutimann: Reutimann is off to poor start to the 2013 season. He has had past success at Vegas, but we are not huge fans of him this week.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch has been very inconsistent in Vegas during his career. This isn’t a great weekend to use him.
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. 47 Bobby Labonte: Bobby has had past success at LVMS and could crack the top 25 with a little luck.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 33 Landon Cassill
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 34 David Ragan
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 35 Josh Wise
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Jimmie Johnson
B. Carl Edwards
B. Paul Menard
C. Casey Mears