The playoff field has been set and Jimmie Johnson did not qualify for the first time since NASCAR went to a playoff system. Ryan Newman claimed the final spot by beating Daniel Suarez in this race and Kevin Harvick picked up the win and six more playoff points which is huge. All in all this race saw a lot of the big name drivers have problems and they are thanking their lucky stars it happened this week and not next weekend.
SOUTH POINT 400
So, the drivers will head out west for the first race in the playoffs next Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the running of the South Point 400. This race is scheduled to start a bit later than most races that are run on a Sunday. The starting time is 7:00 Eastern time which I am guessing moves it away from most NFL game times. Let’s all wish all of the playoff drivers the best of luck and then sit back and watch the action.
Brad Keselowski: I am going to pick Brad to win the first race of this year’s playoffs and get the free pass into the second round. He has won three of his last eight starts at this track, finished in the top ten in all of those starts, and finished in the top five in six of them. One of those top five finishes came this spring when he finished second to his teammate, Joey Logano.
Joey Logano: So, if Joey won in the spring why shouldn’t he win again now? He has been just about as good as Brad here lately with his win in the spring and seven straight top ten finishes with five of those being top fives. I think the Penske teams have a small advantage over the other competitors here because of how good they have all been lately. They have something to their setup that seems to work all the time.
Kevin Harvick: Last week’s winner at Indy also won the spring race here last season. At the beginning of this season they were fast at the beginning of races, but couldn’t keep up with the track and were always disappointed with their finishes. It looks like they have found something lately and this team will be good off the truck once again this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has four top five and five top ten finishes in his last six starts here including a win in March of 2017. This is the type of track where Martin dominated when he won the championship a couple of years ago and this team will have a lot of confidence entering this weekend. I look for him to be a contender all through this race once again.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has been one of the hottest drivers on the circuit for the past two months and was having another great run at Indy until a late race accident. He finished in the top three in three of his past four starts and should have a fast car once again this week. Patience will be the name of the game for him throughout the playoffs if he wants to advance.
Kyle Busch: Kyle is the points leader heading into the playoffs and this is his home town track. He has finished in the top five in four of his last seven starts here and is in a bit of a slump for him. He is going to break out soon and this might be the week he does it. He very well could win multiple races during these playoffs.
Ryan Blaney: Another of the Penske drivers, Ryan has four top seven finishes in his last five Vegas starts. This team might not have won a race yet this year and that makes it even more important to not make mistakes in the playoffs. They are at a bit of a disadvantage as they only won two stages during the regular season.
Denny Hamlin: Denny is second to teammate, Kyle Busch, as the drivers enter the playoffs and he has been running very well for the last half of the regular season. He runs pretty consistent here, but never really contends for the win. In fact he has only lead fifteen laps in fifteen starts at this track. I think there are going to be better tracks to use him at as the playoffs progress.
Aric Almirola: Aric has run three races for Stewart-Haas Racing at Las Vegas and has finished in the top ten in each of those races. This is the type of track where Aric will have to make hay during the playoffs if he wants to keep advancing. This team was really good at the beginning of the year, but kind of stepped back during the middle portion of the season. They seem to be making a bit of a comeback at the right time.
Erik Jones: Erik has been running real well lately and this should be a good track for him to show he can be a contender throughout the playoffs. He sat on the pole here in this race last season and I think he has learned a lot in the past couple of season and the win at Darlington should give him even more confidence heading into the playoffs.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Brad Keselowski
- Joey Logano
Driver Group Game Group B
- Ryan Blaney
- Aric Almirola
- Erik Jones
- Alex Bowman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Chris Buescher
- Daniel Hemric
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Brad Keselowski
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Larson
Dark Horse: Alex Bowman
Stay Away From: Kurt Busch
Big 18: Alex Bowman