2018 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Pennzoil 400

Congratulations to Kevin Harvick on picking up his first win of the season in dominating fashion at Atlanta this past weekend. Nobody really had anything for Kevin most of the day where he even had issues with a gun on pit road and went to the back of the pack and drove right to the front in less than half of a fuel run. Brad Keselowski was the only driver who looked like he might have a chance to overtake Kevin, but that only last for a little while and once Kevin got a new set of tires he took off and no one could stick with him.


This week the series heads out west to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the Pennzoil 400. This is another of the mile-and-a-half tracks like Atlanta and we will probably see most of the same names at the top of the leader board once again. It looks like the Ford’s are still quite a bit faster than the other makes at this point of the season, so we will probably look to load our rosters this way once again. It seems that the Chevrolet teams are still working on getting the speed and handling figured out on the new Camaro model they are running this season.

Brad Keselowski: I am going to say that Brad wins at Vegas this weekend. He was the closest to Kevin last week and he runs better here on a consistent basis winning twice in the last five races run here. With two wins, four top five and five top ten finishes in his last five starts at this track, Brad is the most consistent driver in the field at this track and he is going to have something for Kevin this week.

Martin Truex Jr.: Truex started at the rear last week and quickly moved up to the top ten in the first thirty laps before fading later in the race. I think this team comes to Las Vegas with an even better car than they had at Atlanta and competes all day long for the win here. We have to remember how good this team was all last season on this type of track and I think they are going to be just as good this year at those same tracks.

Kevin Harvick: They showed they are still going to be fast every week and are going to have great handling cars that are going to run towards the front every weekend. This team saw how important all those playoff bonus points were for Martin last year and they are going to shoot for those the rest of the season with the pressure of making the playoffs gone. They can take some chances with their strategy to try and win some stages and more races now.

Clint Bowyer: Clint had a great run at Atlanta last weekend and that is going to give the team a lot of confidence and a little momentum for the near future. It looks like the Stewart/Haas and Penske drivers are a cut above the rest of the field right now and they need to take advantage as the other teams are going to figure things out and get better as the year progresses. I think this team is going to make the playoffs this year.

Joey Logano: He looks so much better than he did the last two-thirds of last season. Joey always seems to run well at this track and has three top five and four top ten finishes here in his last five starts. The question for this team always seems to be if they can make the right adjustments to their car as the race progresses and the track changes. I want to watch them a little more before I decide how good they are going to be this year.

Kurt Busch: Kurt had another good run at Atlanta coming away with a top ten finish in that race and leading some laps early on. He really wants to win this race as Las Vegas is his hometown and he wants to win in front of his hometown crowd. Once again, all of the Stewart-Haas drivers are looking stout right now and they want to take advantage of it right now.

Ryan Blaney: The third of the Penske drivers, Ryan also had a great run at Atlanta last weekend. He has only run three races at this track and he came away with two top ten finishes. Now he is on an even better team and you should see him compete all day long this weekend and have himself in a position to possibly win this race. The question is has he learned to have a little more patience yet, so he doesn’t have to make risky moves on the track.

Kyle Busch: Kyle was the top Toyota finishing driver at Atlanta last weekend. I think he is going to be fast all year long, but I don’t know if they can be fast enough to beat the Ford’s at this stage of the season. Kyle really has to drive his butt off to have a chance to win a race right now, but he can do that. Last year he came so close so many times only to see Martin pass him and he just couldn’t catch back up. The Gibbs teams need to find a little more speed to make things easier on their drivers.

Chase Elliott: Chase fought hard last weekend, but just couldn’t keep up at the end of the race. This looks like the best of the Chevrolet teams right now running even more consistent than Jimmie Johnson. I really think the teams are going to figure out what they need to do to set up the new Camaro so it runs faster each and every week. It might take another month or so for them to make significant headway, but it is a long season. Chase has only run at this track twice and has one top five finish to show for his efforts.

Denny Hamlin: Denny looked pretty good last week and his team ran a special strategy to try and beat Kevin. When teams do something like this they are basically saying, their car isn’t good enough to beat the top cars at the track that week so they need to do something unorthodox and hope that lady luck is smiling down on them that day. Denny is a good enough driver to keep himself in a position to win races every week.


Driver Group Game Group A

  • Brad Keselowski
  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Aric Almirola

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Alex Bowman
  • Darrell Wallace Jr.


  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Joey Logano

Dark Horse: Paul Menard

Stay Away From: Austin Dillon

Big 18: Brad Keselowski

27 thoughts on “2018 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Pennzoil 400

    1. At this point of the season I think it is a toss up. Almirola on a new team with a different crew chief than he is used to versus the new Camaro. I would put them both on my roster and decide after practices and qualifying.

    1. Another toss up at this point of the season. Bubba ran well at a restrictor plate track which doesn’t really tell me anything about what he can do where you really have to have a good set up to be fast. Neither of them were very good last week and Atlanta. Maybe we should look at someone else in that group. You could take a chance with McDowell or DiBenedetto and save the other two for a little later when we see if they are improving or not.

  1. Currently I have Kez, Logano, Truex, Ky. Busch, Kahne and sub. Johnson in my lineup with Harvick and Newman looking in. (No Harvick because I have used him twice already) Would you swap either of them in for somebody in my current lineup?

  2. I’m a little new to this – Just a couple questions / comments:
    As Everette pointed out, didn’t Hamlin and Truex beat Kyle Busch? Wouldn’t they be the Top Toyota’s? Also, isn’t this the Pennzoil 400 instead of the Kobalt 400?
    Should there be a name here? MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT INSERT TRACK NAME
    Just trying to learn and thank you for all you do!

    1. I’m not sure how Darren is deciding the top Toyota driver. He might have some special algorithm that he runs. As for the other 2 mistakes, thanks for pointing them out. I took the race name from what was on our own fantasy driver group game where I guess it is wrong also. I have updated my article.

    1. Darren is working on this bug as we speak. He is hopeful to get this remedied as soon as possible. Please have patience as it is a new game that was thrown together in a hurry to get something out that people wanted to play. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

      1. no worries here. i love that he is doing this period. bugs are understood and i fully believe he will fix it right. Thanks for the effort Darren and love what you do Jeff. much appreciated

    1. Larson is looking good in practice so far. I am just waiting to see if he is going to run as well as he did early last year or if he is going to run like he did late in the season.

  3. Many thanks to Darren for allowing us to stay in the game. Appreciate your input Jeff. I have followed you for years and try to use multiple inputs along with my gut feelings to set up my final picks. Taking Mc Dowell over Bowman this wek even though he fell off a bit between 2nd and final practice.

    1. After the final practice they were both really close in speeds on 10 lap runs. This is a toss up right now, but I would lean towards Truex because of what he did last year on this type of track.

    1. Just another bug that Darren is working on with the game. Please have some patience while he works these out. The scoring will be fixed as soon as possible.

    1. Not sure about Blaney. He should get you 10 bonus points for leading a lap seeing he is on the pole, but his 10 lap speeds in the final practice weren’t as fast as the other 3 drivers. I might take a shot at either Bowyer or Almirola if you think they can make up the 10 bonus lead lap points Blaney should get. Almirola is also starting towards the back of the pack.

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