2017 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kobalt 400
Congratulations to Brad Keselowski who won his first race of the season at Atlanta this past weekend after Kevin Harvick, who dominated the race, was issued a speeding penalty on a late race pit stop. Harvick did win the first two stages of the race which weren’t very exciting this week. I still have to wait and see if the stages are going to make the races more exciting.
The series heads out to the west coast for the next three races with this week’s race being held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is another mile-and-a-half track and those who ran well last week should be the drivers who do well once again this weekend. Kurt Busch set a new qualifying speed last year here also and that record could fall once again if the weather doesn’t get to hot.
Kevin Harvick: After the dominant performance Kevin put on last week I have to pick him to win this weekend’s race. He won here two years ago and the change to Ford this year doesn’t seem to have affected this team at all. He also led 142 laps in that race which is kind of what he did this past weekend at Atlanta. I’m sure they will have a fast car once again this weekend and they will be looking for redemption after their disappointing finish at Atlanta.
Brad Keselowski: Brad was one of the only drivers who had anything to compete with Kevin last week. Look for the Ford teams to all be strong once again this weekend. It seems like they have more speed than the Chevy and Toyota teams at this stage of the season. This team fought back after having tire issues early in the race and never got too excited when things weren’t going their way.
Chase Elliott: Chase had a very fast car last weekend also and should be in the running to win his first race this week. He has really shown a lot of poise for a young driver and he will get that first win soon. He was involved in an accident here last season and finished 38th in his only start here 43 laps of the pace.
Matt Kenseth: Matt also fought back from being a couple of laps down due to being caught speeding on pit road. He has won three races at this track during his career and has led laps in all but four of his seventeen starts here. I look for Matt to stay calm and consistent this weekend and have a shot to win the race at the end. This team knows how to make the right adjustments to their car as the track changes so they are at their best late in the race.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie struggled last week, but he leads all active drivers with four career wins at Las Vegas. He has also finished in the top ten in nine of his fifteen starts here. This team always seems to rebound after having a tough week and you can’t keep them down for long. Jimmie was so good on this type of track last year and that is why he won his seventh championship.
Joey Logano: Joey finished second in this race last year and has finished in the top ten in his last three starts here while leading laps in each of those races. Even after getting a lot of damage done to his car last week early in the race, he still ran fast and fought his way back from being a lap down to finish sixth. I think Joey just needs to learn to be a bit more patient early in races so he doesn’t get himself into early trouble.
Kyle Busch: Kyle struggled at Atlanta last weekend, but I think he will rebound this weekend. He has one win here and has finished in the top ten in six of his twelve starts here. He has also led laps in each of his last three starts here. I think he is too good of a driver to keep struggling on the track. This is his hometown and he really wants to run well when he comes to this track.
Kasey Kahne: Kasey struggled at the beginning of the race last week and found himself fighting back from being a lap down to come away with a top five finish. As I said last week, this is going to be a big year for Kasey to prove that he belongs with Hendrick Motorsports and his finish last week is a good start early in the season. I think this team learned a lot last weekend and they can carry that over to this track.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale is looking for his first career win at this track but he has finished in the top ten in his last six starts here and eight of his last nine starts. After crashing at Daytona and then struggling last weekend with tire issues this team is chomping at the bit to get back on the track. I think they will figure out what went wrong with their setup last weekend and come out strong this week.
Ryan Newman: Ryan had a great car last week until he had a battery problem that knocked him out of contention. He runs well at Vegas having finished in the top ten in four of his last six starts and eight of his sixteen starts here overall. The Childress teams all looked good last week and that will give them a lot of confidence heading into this weekend.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Ryan Newman
- Chase Elliott
- Kyle Larson
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Erik Jones
- David Ragan
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
- Brad Keselowski
- Chase Elliott
- Matt Kenseth
Dark Horse: Kyle Larson
Stay Away From: Kurt Busch
Big 18: Dale Earnhardt Jr.