NASCAR Las Vegas Preview – Playoffs Begin with South Point 400 and a Hurricane
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
Teams have battled a shorthand schedule due to rainouts last weekend at Indy and the rescheduled races on Monday. They’ve managed to get cars turned around after a wet week at Indy in time to make the drive across the country to Las Vegas. And that’s while preparing for an incoming hurricane. Nothing like adding some stress as the first race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs takes the green flag!
But, the schedule rolls on as the Camping World Truck Series join the Cup and Xfinity Series for a rare triple-header race weekend. The Cup Series will be kicking off their first round of the playoffs with Kyle Busch leading the Championship points. And, as has been with the last several weeks – both Busch and Kevin Harvick are leading the list of favored drivers to win on Sunday.
Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Ford for Stewart – Haas Racing has a slight lead over Busch heading into the race weekend. Harvick, +240, is the defending race winner as he picked up the win at Vegas earlier this season. He also won at the track in 2015. Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, last won at the track in 2009. Being from Las Vegas, he would love to pick up a second win at his hometown track.
The Top-Ten Favorites
Here’s a look at the top-ten favored drivers heading into the Cup Series race on Sunday. Martin Truex Jr is right at the top of the list with Harvick and Busch. This has been the case for much of the year and Vegas is no exception. The driver of the No. 78 car for Furniture Row Racing won at the track last year during his Championship run. Now, he must put the news of his team closing after this season behind him and go for the win again.
Martin Truex Jr
Two drivers missing the top-ten cut are Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer who are both at +2500 as neither driver has a win at Vegas. The active driver with the most wins at the track is Jimmie Johnson. The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet has four wins at the track with his last coming 2010.
Last 15 Las Vegas Winners
Here are the last fifteen drivers to win at Las Vegas for those who love looking at trends. Note the dates as this is the first time the Cup Series has raced at the track twice in a season.
Martin Truex Jr.
*Matt Kenseth has two wins at Las Vegas but he’s sharing the seat of the No. 6 Ford with Trevor Bayne. This week Kenseth sits out as Trevor Bayne takes the wheel of the car for Rousch – Fenway Racing.
There are sixteen drivers eligible to race for the Championship. Heading into the first race of round one its Kyle Busch leading the standings. Championship drivers are shown in order by points with their current odds for the South Point 400.
1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Joey Logano
7. Kurt Busch
8. Chase Elliott
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Erik Jones
11. Austin Dillon
12. Kyle Larson
13. Denny Hamlin
14. Aric Almirola
15. Jimmie Johnson
16. Alex Bowman
NASCAR Weekend Viewing Guide:
All three series will race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. The Camping World Truck Series races on Friday night with the Xfinity Series racing on Saturday. The Cup Series races on Sunday afternoon. All times Eastern.
Friday, Sept. 14
• 2:05-2:55 p.m.: Cup Series practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 3:05-3:55 p.m.: Xfinity Series practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 5:05-5:50 p.m.: Xfinity Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 6:05 p.m.: Truck Series qualifying, FS1 • 7:30 p.m.: Cup Series Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 9 p.m.: Truck Series World of Westgate 200 (134 laps, 201 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Saturday, Sept. 15
• 1-1:50 p.m.: Cup Series practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 2:10 p.m.: Xfinity Series qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 3:30-4:20 p.m.: Cup Series final practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App • 5 p.m.: Xfinity Series DC Solar 300 (200 laps, 300 miles; NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Sunday, Sept. 16
• 3 p.m.: Cup Series South Point 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles; NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio