NASCAR DFS: Kobalt 400
It has played host to monetary dreams realized and crushed, quick weddings, crazy shows, one too many Hangover sequels, and (coming soon) an NHL teams. But on Sunday, Las Vegas will play host to its next high rolling event, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400.
Who needs the casino when you get all the answers you need right here? I was able to pick last week’s winner at Atlanta, Jimmie Johnson, so let’s see what we got in store at Viva Las Vegas this week...
Race: Kobalt 400
Laps: 267 laps (400.5 miles)
Venue: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV (1.5 miles)
TV: 3:30 PM EST, Fox
Active Winners: Jimmie Johnson (4), Matt Kenseth (3), Carl Edwards (2), Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick (defending winner)
Las Vegas is approaching it’s 10 year anniversary of its reconfiguring that was introduced back in 2007. The track continues to tally up high speeds as the years pass on. Just last season, in his final LV start, Jeff Gordon would set a track red for fastest lap time. Who can follow in Jeff’s footsteps? Find out below...
Three to Start
Matt Kenseth (Starting 3rd)-Kenseth’s runs at Vegas are like Bradley Cooper’s post-Hangover filmography...mostly fantastic runs, with the occasional, but very rare, misstep. Kenseth’s 3 wins in Sin City are 2nd behind Johnson, he’s tied for the lead in Top 5s (6), Top 10s (9) and Top 20s (14) and is the all time leader in laps led (516). Since moving over to his Joe Gibbs car, Kenseth has finished the Top 10 each time, nabbing finishes of 1st, 10th, and 9th.
Jimmie Johnson (Starting 11th)-Old Five-Time may already be virtually locked into the Chase with last week’s win at Atlanta, but it’s never too early to start padding your lead for September. Johnson is a close second or tied with Kenseth in several of the categories mentioned about, and his 4 wins at the track are most all time. Last season, a blown tire cost Johnson a shot to continue a streak of three consecutive Top 6 finishes.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Starting 20th)-Junior has yet to capture a win at Las Vegas, but his numbers are extremely solid. Ever since moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, Little E has failed to finish in the Top 10 only once, and is currently working on continuing a streak of five years in the Top 10 at Vegas, including Top 4 results in back to back years. Posting an average finish of 7th in the Hendrick car, Junior only had 2 Top 10s in his first 8 races at Vegas.
Three to Park
Kurt Busch (Starting 1st)-Yes, Kurt captured the pole for the 2nd straight week. But don’t let that, plus the fact he is a Las Vegas native, fool you. Over his past 9 homecomings, Busch has posted a mere single Top 10 finish. Since 2007, if you take away that 9th place result in 2011, Busch’s best finish since that mark is 20th. He had the pole back in the 2010 race and finished 35th.
Aric Almirola (Starting 7th)-The good news for Almirola is that he has been running at the finish in his last 4 Vegas runs after posting DNFs in the first three. The bad news is...well where to begin? Almirola has finished on the lead lap at Vegas only once, back in 2011 when he also posted his best Nevada finish...16th. His average finish, factoring in that performance, is just above 31st.
Clint Bowyer (Starting 35th)-Bowyer has gotten off to a rough start in his debut year at HScott Motorsports, and his fortunes probably won’t change at Vegas. He is currently mired in a 3 race streak of sub-20th place finishes at the track, failing to finish on the lead lap in each of those races. Furthermore, Bowyer has rarely spent time leading the drivers around Vegas, leading a mere 17 over 10 career races.
Enjoy the race, everybody
Next Week: Phoenix