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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

NASCAR visits Las Vegas for start of The Playoffs

Las Vegas Motor Speedway from above 2011 photo By Maverick Helicopters, CC BY-SA 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: South Point 400

The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, September 15

The Time: 7 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400.5 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 160), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)

2018 Race Winner: Brad Keselowski

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300

The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, September 14

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Race Winner: Ross Chastain

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: World of Westgate 200

The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

The Date: Friday, September 13

The Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

2018 Winner: Grant Enfinger

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Bios

2014-2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Grids

 

Regular season champ kicks off Playoffs at home

Kyle Busch returns to his hometown track to start the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs fresh off a regular season of high achievement and higher expectation.

 

He holds the No. 1 ranking among drivers as the series begins the 10-race Playoff portion of the schedule in Sunday’s South Point 400 (7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The 2015 Cup champion set the competitive standard for much of the year. He was the first driver to win four races (ISM Raceway, Fontana, Bristol -1 and Pocono-1) and his 1,166 laps out front is most in the field as the 16-driver Playoff field begins the postseason. He also tops the competition in top-10 finishes (21) and he and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin are tied for most top-five finishes (13).

 

Busch couldn’t be more ready for the reset, however. By his high standards, the last month has been substandard. His last victory was all the way back on June 2 at the first Pocono race and he’s coming off his worst finish of the year – 37th – in the regular season finale last week at Indianapolis – his No. 18 JGR Toyota suffering an engine problem for the first time this season.

 

In fact, it was the first time this season that Busch didn’t finish the race. Prior to that, he had only had two races in which he didn’t run the total distance – running 268 of 271 laps at Kansas and 266 of 267 laps at Chicagoland.

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been a solid venue for Busch, who won there in 2009 and has a series best seven top-fives at the track. He was runner-up in 2005 and March, 2018, and has only one finish worse than seventh in the last five races at the track.

 

Earlier this year, he was third behind the Team Penske teammates, winner Joey Logano and second-place Brad Keselowski.

 

And despite the rough outings leading into the Playoffs, Busch said he remains very confident in his team. The 15 Playoff points he received for winning the regular season championship happen to be the number as the difference between Busch and his JGR teammate, Denny Hamlin in second place in the standings. He starts the Playoff run 16 points up on another teammate – Martin Truex Jr. – and all three of the drivers are four-race winners in 2019.

 

“You look at it and we won the title in our first year together,’’ Busch says of his current team members. “We have been able to back it up [with] Playoff positions each year since. Hopefully we can keep that trend going. We have certainly worked hard throughout the regular season to get this Playoff point advantage that we have right now. It would be nice not to have to rely on those points, but to be able to win some races here and close out the season strong and get to Homestead (Fla.) and race for a championship.’’

 

Team Penske back in full force

The three Penske Racing drivers – Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney – all qualified for the Monster Energy Series Playoffs for the second consecutive year. And judging by their Las Vegas resumes, this is exactly the venue to start their championship runs off in a positive way.

 

Defending Monster Energy Series champion Joey Logano boasts the best average finish (8.5) among drivers with at least 10 starts and the second best all-time (to Dale Earnhardt, who averaged 7.7 in three races). The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford has five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 12 races at the 1.5-mile desert circuit and earned his first Vegas trophy just this March.

 

He put up a valiant fight with Kyle Busch for the regular season championship, but, although he missed out on that, will start the 10-race Playoff push ranked fifth with a pair of wins (at Las Vegas and Michigan-1), 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes through the opening 26 races.

 

Keselowski, the 2012 Monster Energy Series champion, is the defending winner of this Las Vegas Playoff opener – last year’s win was the third consecutive on the 2018 season for him. He has three Vegas wins in the last seven years – only four-time Vegas winner Jimmie Johnson has more. In all, he has six top-five and eight top-10s at the track.

 

On the season, the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford has three victories (at Atlanta, Martinsville and Kansas), nine top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes and is ranked sixth in the standings entering the Playoff stretch. His 966 laps led is second only to Cup championship leader Kyle Busch (1,166 laps led).

 

The youngest member of the powerful Penske trio, fourth-year Cup driver Ryan Blaney is holding his own statistically, even if he is still vying for his first win of the 2019 season. And Las Vegas has proven to be a good showplace for him. He has a pair of top fives, four top 10s, and won a pole position (March, 2018) in just six previous starts at the track. His average finish of 10.7 is second best in the field only to his teammate Logano’s 8.5 average finish.

 

Blaney has earned seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes on the season and his 384 laps led is more than nine of the 16 Playoff drivers, including second-seeded Denny Hamlin, who is a four-race winner.

 

Harvick keeps the happy momentum going

If momentum translates to a championship push, then Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick must be feeling plenty of good vibes as he arrives in Las Vegas to begin the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

 

Last weekend he won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis from the Busch Pole position, leading a race best 118 of the race’s 160 laps. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford has earned all three of his victories (at New Hampshire, Michigan-2 and Indy) in the last seven races of the season. He also has nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes on the year.

 

His five pole positions is most in the series and his 712 laps led on the year is third-best – behind only regular season champion Kyle Busch (1,166 laps led) and fellow three-race winner Brad Keselowski (966 laps led).

 

The first of Harvick’s five pole positions this year came at the first trip to Las Vegas, a track where he has two wins in the last six races. His 540 laps out front at the 1.5-miler is second only to four-time Vegas winner Jimmie Johnson’s 595 laps led. He’s led laps in six of the last seven races there. And in his March, 2018 victory led a dominating 214 of the race’s 267 laps – the most laps ever led at the track in a Cup race.

 

Harvick has qualified for the Championship 4 every year – hoisting the first Cup trophy in the current elimination style of the Playoffs in 2014. Last year that title opportunity came despite a rough Vegas playoff opener, where Harvick was involved in a mid-race crash and finished 39th out of 40 cars.

 

“I think we’ve definitely made some strides in getting where – closer to where we want to be,’’ Harvick said of his recent success on the season. “I think we still have some things that we have to work on at certain styles of race tracks. But this is survive and advance and you don’t necessarily have to have the fastest car.

 

“We had the fastest car (at Indy), maybe not the best handling car, but we survived and really a day like today is a lot like how you’re going to have to approach every race in the playoffs.’’

 

High rollers

As has their regular season champion teammate Kyle Busch – two other Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have celebrated four times each in victory lane this season. And both – Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. – have stellar resumes at upcoming Playoff tracks.

 

Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota, is still looking for his first Monster Energy Series championship despite years of putting together title-worthy efforts. This season may be one of his best. His second Daytona 500 victory set the season off immediately on the right course. He also has won at Texas, Pocono-2 and Bristol-2, as well.

 

He has maintained a strong showing all season long, winning at the beginning and also twice in just the last six races heading into the Playoffs to earn the No. 2 seed.

 

Las Vegas has proven to be a challenge for the 38-year old, however. He’s still looking for his first victory there and has only a pair of top-five finishes in 15 starts. He has seven top-10 showings, however, including a 10th place just this March.

 

Looking ahead must make this team optimistic. Hamlin has earned 16 of his 35 career wins at upcoming Playoff tracks – 45.7 percent of his victory total.

 

Truex, 39, is a former Vegas winner, earning his only trip to Victory Lane there in 2017 on the way to the even bigger Monster Energy Series championship trophy. As with Kyle Busch and Hamlin, he has bested the field with four wins in 2019 – earning them at Richmond, Dover, Charlotte and Sonoma all within an eight-week time frame during May-June.

 

The good news is that two of those are Playoff tracks – Richmond and Dover. He has earned 11 of his 23 career wins at Playoff venues, although all of his Charlotte race wins were on the oval configuration, not the Roval road course used in the Playoffs.

 

Truex could use a little of that magic now. His last top-10 was four races ago – a fourth place at Michigan. Vegas has been good to him with four previous top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 15 starts. He has four top-five finishes – including that win – in the last six races and hasn’t finished worse than 11th in that time frame. He was eighth at Las Vegas in March and finished third in the 2018 Playoff race there.

 

“Generation Next” at Las Vegas

Nearly half of this year’s 16-driver Playoff field – six drivers – is made up of drivers aged 27 or younger. Five of the six – Chase Elliott, 23, Alex Bowman, 26, Erik Jones, 23, Ryan Blaney, 25, and William Byron, 21 – have four years of fulltime Cup experience or less. Kyle Larson, 27, is in his sixth fulltime year in the Monster Energy Series. This is the first Playoff berth for Hendrick Motorsports driver Byron – the youngest competitor on the starting grid.

 

Seventh-ranked Elliott, a two-race winner (at Talladega and Watkins Glen), ninth-ranked Bowman (Chicago) and 10th ranked Jones (Darlington) secured their position with race wins. 11th-ranked Kyle Larson, 12th-ranked Ryan Blaney and 13th-ranked William Byron “pointed” their way in.

 

Among these fast six, 27-year old Kyle Larson and Blaney have already proven themselves at Las Vegas. Larson has three top-five and four top-10 finishes in seven starts at the track, including a pair of runner-up finishes. He finished second in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in 2017 and again in last year’s Playoff opener. He’s looking for his first win since the 2017 Playoff opener at Richmond.

 

Blaney has two top-five and four top-10 finishes and won the pole position for the 2018 March Las Vegas race – his first season driving the No. 12 Team Penske Ford.  He was fifth in both 2018 races and finished 22nd in March of this year.

 

Erik Jones, 23, who announced last week that he has secured a one-year contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing, has one top-10 in four starts at Vegas. He won the pole position for this Playoff opener last year, only to finish 40th – last place – after being a crash midway through the race. He was 13th in March at Vegas.

 

On the other side of the Vegas luck, Elliott has two top-10 finishes and three DNFs in five starts. Neither Bowman nor Byron have earned a top-10 at the track.

 

Crafty vets

Not to be left out on the Playoff hype are a pair of veterans – one a former Monster Energy Series champion, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch, and the other the fifth-place driver in the final 2018 points standings, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola.

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway hasn’t been a particular star on Busch’s resume despite his fondness for his home track. The 2004 series champion has yet to win at the venue and has only a pair of top-five and five top-10 finishes in 19 starts there. He was 21st in the 2018 Playoff opener but scored one of his best career finishes – fifth place – at the track this March in his Vegas race driving the No. 1 CGR Chevrolet.

 

On the season, Busch has five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes – including three top-10s in the last five races leading into the Playoffs. He punched his Playoff ticket with a victory at Kentucky this summer and also has runner-up finishes at Bristol-1 and Michigan-1.

 

Almirola, 35, of Tampa, Fla., was absolutely one of the brightest stories of last year’s Playoff run and he’d love to duplicate the effort or better yet, one-up it.

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been a challenge for the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver. He has three top-10 finishes and no top-five results in 12 starts at the track. However, his top-10s have all come in his most recent three races – perhaps not coincidentally coinciding with his move to the Stewart-Haas team last year. He was sixth in the 2018 Playoff race at Vegas and finished seventh this March.

 

A strong showing would be well-timed for Almirola, who started the 2019 season with an impressive opening of races – scoring top-10 finishes in six of the first seven races. However, he hasn’t earned a top-10 since the summer Daytona race (seventh place) in the first week of July.

 

Last year, Almirola certainly rose to the Playoff challenge, scoring top-10 finishes in seven of the 10 races, including his second career Cup victory, coming at Talladega Superspeedway in October and earning a career best fifth place in the final championship points.

 

Moving on

Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman had to race their way into a 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff berth – with their championship fate ultimately decided with their work in the regular season finale at Indianapolis.

 

Going forward, however, the two veterans have shown some of their best career work at Playoff venues.

 

Bowyer, the driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, goes into the Playoffs ranked 15th. And this week’s Las Vegas 1.5-miler hasn’t been a particular star on his resume with only one top five and four top 10s in 15 career starts at the track. His career best finish was runner-up in 2009, but he’s had only one top-10 (10th in 2017) in the last eight races at the track. He was 23rd in last year’s Playoff opener there and 14th this spring.

 

However, things look good for Bowyer historically-speaking, should he continue to advance in the Playoffs. Five of his 10 career wins have come at Playoff tracks including a pair of wins at Richmond and Martinsville. If you count his Charlotte win on the oval configuration – which is a ROVAL road course style event in the 10-race Playoffs – he has six wins in upcoming locales. He won the 2012 fall race on the traditional 1.5-miler at Charlotte.

 

On the season, Bowyer has six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s, including three straight top-10s in the races leading into the Playoffs. He was fifth at Indy last week and his best work of the season came in a runner-up finish at Texas, which is also a Playoff track

 

Newman, 41, probably feels more confident about his Vegas chances. He has four top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 20 races at the track. He’s started from the front row twice, including the pole position in 2005. His career-best finish is third in 2015. He was ninth in last year’s Playoff opener there and 24th in this March’s visit. He’s led a very respectable 112 laps at the track.

 

As with Bowyer, Newman has turned in a good record at the Playoff lineup of facilities. He has earned wins at nine of the 10 upcoming venues, including Texas (one win), Dover (three wins), Richmond (one win), Kansas (one win), Martinsville (one win) and Phoenix (two wins). That accounts for half of his 18 career wins.

 

As with Bowyer, Newman had to step up his game to earn that final Playoff position. In his first season driving the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford he has one top-five (fifth at Daytona-2) and nine top-10s including an eighth place at Indianapolis last weekend to secure his championship opportunity. He has finished 12th or better in six of the last nine races.

 

Possible upset special

Jimmie Johnson missed making the Monster Energy Series Playoff field for the first time in his seven-championship, 16-year career after being collected in an accident midway through last week’s regular season finale.

 

However, as Johnson immediately assured his faithful fans, he is far from being out of the trophy mix. He’s won at nine of the upcoming 10 Playoff tracks (although he’s won at the Charlotte oval, he hasn’t won on the Roval road course configuration) and happens to be the all-time winningest driver at Las Vegas with four victories.

 

He won an unprecedented three straight races from 2005-07 and four races in a span of six years from 2005-2010. He was runner-up to Tony Stewart in 2012 and finished third in 2016. His 595 laps led is most among all active drivers.

 

He was 22nd in last year’s Vegas Playoff race and 19th at the track earlier this spring.

 

The NASCAR Hall of Fame-bound driver said after the race, “I’m sleeping easier. I can’t wait to have the results start showing up. Months ago, it was tough because we couldn’t really get anything going our way. Now we have the optimism of strong qualifying sessions, strong race cars and races. We just need to get to the finish line.’’

 

And he proclaimed on social media Monday morning after the Indy disappointment, “Well how about that. … the sun still came up. 10 races to go and we are as determined as ever. #DoItRight”

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Rolling The Dice: Las Vegas is last chance to make the Playoffs

It has all come down to this weekend and when the dust settles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway following the Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 (Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) the 12-driver NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff field will have been decided.

 

Heading into this weekend, the 12 drivers currently holding postseason spots are clinched on points and can only be knocked out by a driver outside of that group by the “win and you’re in” scenario. And with one race left, the 12th position – the final Playoff transfer position in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings – is currently held by RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg. If a driver outside the current Playoff 12 points were to win at Las Vegas, Sieg would be replaced with the Las Vegas winner.

 

Drivers currently clinched to make the Playoffs heading into Las Vegas are Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, Stewart-Haas Racing with Fred Biagi’s Chase Briscoe and JR Motorsports teammates Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson.

 

Drivers still looking to lock themselves into the Playoffs and their clinch scenarios based on points (all are currently locked into the top 20 in the standings regardless of finish this weekend):

 

ü  Brandon Jones (0 Wins, 716 Points, +433 Points Ahead of 21st) – Would clinch on points with 16 Points and a new winner.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, John Hunter Nemechek or Ryan Sieg), they would clinch on points, regardless of finish.

ü  John Hunter Nemechek (0 Wins, 688 Points, +405 Points Ahead of 21st) – Would clinch on points with 43 Points and a new winner.  If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones or Ryan Sieg), they would clinch on points, regardless of finish.

ü  Ryan Sieg (0 Wins, 676 Points, +393 Points Ahead of 21st) – If there is a repeat winner (or a win by Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones or John Hunter Nemechek), they would clinch on points, regardless of finish. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.

 

The rest of the drivers listed below Sieg in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings would have to win to make the postseason.

 

RCR’s Tyler Reddick looking to capture the regular season championship

Tyler Reddick has recorded four race wins this season, but there’s another major trophy he’s looking to leave Las Vegas with – the regular season championship hardware.

 

The Richard Childress Racing driver needs just 11 points to clinch the regular season championship, which he could conceivably collect by putting together solid performances in the first two stages of the race (a driver can collect a maximum of 10 points per each of the first two stages for a total of 20).

 

If Reddick were to have issues early in the race, Christopher Bell is the only other driver who could catch him. Bell is currently 50 points behind Reddick in the standings. If the two were to tie in points, Bell would hold the tiebreaker in wins (six wins to Reddick’s four).

 

Reddick has made three starts at the 1.5-mile circuit located near Nellis Air Force Base, recording one top 10 (an eighth-place finish in his track debut in the spring of 2018).

 

Stage Is Set: Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the next show

Las Vegas Motor Speedway will close out the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, not only deciding who makes Playoffs but also who wins this year’s Xfinity Series regular season championship.

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile track with 20 degrees of banking in the turns, located just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas has hosted 24 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, yielding 17 different pole winners and 17 different race winners. Ross Chastain won last season’s regular season finale while racing for Chip Ganassi Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch won the Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas earlier this season.

 

This season’s Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 is scheduled for Saturday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The event will be 200 laps (300 miles) with the first stage ending on Lap 45 and the second stage ending on Lap 90.

 

Breaking down the outsiders

The beauty of the “win and you’re in” format is that you’re always saying, “There’s a chance!”

 

Drivers such as Gray Gaulding, Jeremy Clements and Brandon Brown who sit outside of the current Playoff 12 know they won’t get a shot at the postseason based on points. But they do know that a win will get them in.

 

Is it a longshot for them? Yes. But it’s still a shot.

 

Here’s a look at those trio of outsiders:

 

Gray Gaulding (No. 08 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet) is 13th in points. He’s posted one top-five and three top-10 finishes this season. His best result was second at Talladega, but he’s been running better as of late, finishing in the top 15 in six of the last seven races. He finished 12th at Las Vegas earlier this season, his lone start at the track.

 

Jeremy Clements (No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet) sits 14th in the standings. Clements also has one top five and three top 10s this season, with his best finish of fourth coming at Bristol just four races ago. He has also put together some solid finishes recently, running 12th or better in the last six races, including two of his top-10 results. He has raced at Las Vegas nine times, and his best two finishes were his most recent two races – 13th last fall and 15th this spring.

 

Brandon Brown (No. 86 Brandonbilt Motorsports Chevrolet) is 15th in the points. He has one top 10 this season – a sixth-place result from the July Daytona race. He finished 17th earlier this season at Las Vegas in his only start at the 1.5-mile venue.

 

Truex, Herbst and Sadler aiming to play spoiler

While many of the NASCAR Xfinity Series fulltime championship contenders will be vying for their spot in the Playoffs this Saturday, September 14, in the Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), many needing a win to do so, three part-time drivers – Ryan Truex, Elliott Sadler and Riley Herbst – will be looking to play spoiler and steal the win at Las Vegas and possibly someone’s postseason hopes.

 

Truex will be in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend with crew chief Taylor Moyer calling the shots from the pit box. Truex has been solid in his first three starts with the No. 8 JRM team, posting one top five and three top 10s; including a runner-up finish at ISM Raceway. Truex has made three previous Xfinity career starts at Las Vegas, putting up one top-10 finish – an eighth-place result in this race last season while driving for Kaulig Racing.

 

Sadler returns to saddle up in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Las Vegas; his second start of the season for the team. Sadler’s season debut was back at Richmond in April, where he started 27th and raced his way up to a 12th-place finish. Las Vegas is one of Sadler’s better tracks, in his last eight series starts at the 1.5-mile facility he has posted four top fives and six top 10s.

 

Herbst jumps into the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Las Vegas with crew chief Ben Beshore on the pit box. Herbst has made seven series starts this season, posting two top 10s. This Saturday will be Herbst’s series track debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Bell, Custer could reach double digit wins this season

The NASCAR Xfinity Series has only seen two drivers in its history reach double digit wins in a single season – Sam Ard and Kyle Busch. This season, NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contenders Christopher Bell (six wins) and Cole Custer (six wins) could become next drivers to accomplish the historically difficult feat of winning 10 or more races in a season.

 

Sam Ard was the first to do it back in 1983 when he muscled 10 wins from the competition en route to his first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series titles (1983-1984).

 

While Ard might have been the first, Kyle Busch became the master of double digit win seasons, putting together four such years in his career. The Las Vegas native first produced a 10-win season in 2008, but then backed that up with a NASCAR Xfinity Series record 13 wins for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2010. He has since then posted a 12-win season in 2013 and another 10-win season in 2016.

 

Bell broke the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year single season wins record last season when he hoisted seven trophies, surpassing the previous record of five victories held by Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Now this season the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has already visited Victory Lane six times…and this weekend at Las Vegas could be his seventh.

 

In three starts at Las Vegas, Bell has posted a pole, two top fives and an average finish of 6.3. He finished 13th earlier this season at Vegas after being caught in a multi-car incident late in the race. He finished runner-up in his series debut at the track and three of 14 career Xfinity wins have come on 1.5-mile tracks (Kansas, Kentucky and Atlanta), so don’t be surprised if Bell is in Victory Lane this weekend.

 

Custer is having a career breakout season this year and has every bit of a chance to reach double digit wins by season’s end. The California kid who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing is in his third full-time season in the series and only produced one win in each of his first two years.

 

But this season he has had six Victory Lane celebrations, bringing his Xfinity Series career wins total to eight. Heading to Las Vegas, Custer has made four series starts at the 1.5-mile track, posting two poles, one top five and three top 10s. Plus, four of Custer’s eight Xfinity career wins have come on 1.5-mile tracks.

Parade Laps: Insights to the drivers participating in media breakouts (NEED UPDATED)

Four drivers from the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, JR Motorsport’s Noah Gragson, Kaulig Racing’s Elliott Sadler and RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg – will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Las Vegas Motor Speedway leading into the Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Christopher Bell (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra)

Birthdate: December 16, 1994

Driver’s Age: 24

Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma

Hobbies: Dirt track racing, iRacing, golf

Team: Joe Gibbs Racing

Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he set the rookie single season Xfinity Series wins record with seven victories; the previous record of five wins was held by three drivers – Greg Biffle (2001), Kyle Busch (2004) and Carl Edwards (2005).
  • Made the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in rookie season (2018), and advanced to the Championship 4; ultimately finishing fourth in the championship standings.
  • Recorded 14 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins in just 64 starts tying Sam Ard for the series record of most wins in first 64 starts; including six this season (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover, Iowa, New Hampshire and Road America).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently second in the NASCAR Xfinity driver points standings, 50 points back from series standings leader Tyler Reddick.
  • In 25 starts this season, he has posted four poles (ISM Raceway, Texas, Charlotte, Iowa-2), six wins (Atlanta, Bristol, Dover, Iowa, New Hampshire, Road America), 16 top fives, 17 top 10s and an average finish of 9.0.
  • Has won 13 stages and accumulated 43 Playoff points.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made three starts at Las Vegas, including two top fives (second place in the spring of 2018, fourth of the fall of 2018). Finished 13th earlier this season.

Noah Gragson (No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro)

Birthdate: July 15, 1998

Driver’s Age: 21

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

Hobbies: Downhill mountain biking

Team: JR Motorsports

Crew Chief: David Elenz

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • Made NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018 at Richmond Raceway; starting 11th and finishing runner-up.
  • In total he made three Xfinity Series starts last season posting two top fives and three top 10s; all while competing fulltime in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series where he finished runner-up in the championship standings.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Currently seventh in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings and has clinched a spot in the Playoffs.
  • In 25 starts this season, he has posted seven top fives and 16 top 10s.
  • Currently second in the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, 21 points behind Chase Briscoe.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has one start at Las Vegas, starting fourth and finishing third earlier this year.

 

Elliott Sadler (No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet)

Birthdate: April 30, 1975

Driver’s Age: 44

Hometown: Emporia, Virginia

Hobbies: Deer hunting, basketball, softball

Team: Kaulig Racing

Crew Chief: Lennie Chandler

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • In 2016 and 2017, made the Championship 4 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
  • Finished runner-up in the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers’ championship four times (2011, ’12, ’16, ’17).
  • Has made 396 starts in the Xfinity Series, recording 13 wins.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Las Vegas will be Sadler’s second start of the season.
  • Raced at his home track of Richmond Raceway earlier this season, finishing 12th.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Sadler has made 13 starts at Las Vegas, posting four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

 

Ryan Sieg (No. 39 RSS Racing Chevolet)

Birthdate: June 20, 1987

Driver’s Age: 32

Hometown: Tucker, Georgia

Team: RSS Racing

Crew Chief: Shane Wilson

Xfinity Career Highlights:

  • In 2017 Sieg finished 15th in the Xfinity Series standings, and then posted two top 10s and finished 16th in the series championship standings in 2018.
  • In 2016, he finished a career-best ninth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings and earned a spot in the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.
  • Sieg competed in his first full season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2014.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Sieg has recorded two top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season.
  • His best finish was fourth at the season-opener in Daytona.
  • Sieg is currently in Playoff contention, 124 points ahead of 13th place.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Sieg has made eight starts at Las Vegas, posting one top 10, which came earlier this season (sixth place).

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

 

Where they stand

By the end of the night on Friday, six drivers will continue on in the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs and two will see their title dreams end.

 

Only Brett Moffitt has locked his way into the next round by virtue of winning the opening two races of the Playoffs at Bristol and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

It gets very interesting after that.

 

The next closest driver to ensuring his Playoff dreams stay alive is Ross Chastain. He sits in second in the standings and has the largest points cushion of the drivers currently in the top six – but even he isn’t really close to safe. He still needs 27 points to clinch if there is a new winner. If Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, Austin Hill or Grant Enfinger win (the other five drivers currently above the cut line), he only needs 24 points.

 

After Chastain, the next closest is Freisen, who needs 49 points if there is a new winner or 47 is one of the above mentioned drivers wins.

 

Johnny Sauter (-2 points from sixth place) and Tyler Ankrum (-14 from sixth place) are the two drivers on the outside looking in.

 

What does this mean?

 

It means there isn’t a way for a driver to clinch a Round of 6 berth by virtue of the points available in the first two stages (maximum available is 10 per stage) alone. We won’t know the additional five drivers moving on until the checkered flag flies.

 

Breaking down the 1.5-mile tracks for the Playoff contenders

Back after two weekends off, the opening round of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs will conclude with the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday night at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

And the field will face one more track of this length in the Playoffs – the championship-deciding venue of Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

Here’s a look at the performances of the eight Playoff contenders at 1.5-mile tracks – organized by points standings:

 

Brett Moffitt – Moffitt has already won his way into the second round after winning the opening two races of the Playoffs at Bristol and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. And if his history at 1.5-mile tracks counts for anything, he has a solid shot of the sweep of the Round of 8 races. Moffitt has four wins on intermediate tracks, all within the past two seasons. His first came at Atlanta in 2018. Overall in 23 races at venues of this length, he has nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.

 

Ross Chastain – On the surface, it doesn’t look like Chastain’s 1.5-mile statistics are that impressive. He has one win, two top fives and 13 top 10s in 34 races at venues of that size. But it’s when those stats occurred in his career that matter now. His one win came earlier this year at Kansas, before he had declared for points in the Gander Trucks. Both of his top fives were this year (Kansas and Kentucky) and eight of the top 10s have been in 2019. (Also, of note for Chastain, 15 of his 30 total career top-10 finishes have happened during the opening 18 races of this season. He has 77 total series starts.)

 

Stewart Friesen – Friesen is looking for his first win on a 1.5-mile track (his lone series win came earlier this season at Eldora). In 28 starts at this distance he has 10 top-five and 14 top-10 results. Five of those top fives and top 10s have come this season. Of those, he has a pair of runner-up results (Texas-1 and Kentucky) and two third-place finishes (Charlotte and Chicago) at this distance.

 

Matt Crafton – Once the king of the 1.5-mile tracks in the Gander Trucks, Crafton has faded as of late. In 162 starts on those tracks (53 more than the next closest in the Playoff field – Johnny Sauter), Crafton has nine wins (second to Sauter’s 10), 54 top fives, and 103 top 10s. All impressive numbers. But he hasn’t won at a 1.5-mile circuit since Charlotte in May of 2016…and in fact, hasn’t won a race since Eldora in July of 2017. His performance has been steady and solid this year – both at this distance and overall, just lacking a Victory Lane visit. He hasn’t had a finish worse than 14th (Atlanta in the second race of the year) and crossed the line second at Texas in June. His average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this season is 7.0.

 

Austin Hill – Hill is another driver whose numbers at 1.5-mile venues may not be impressive on the surface, but if you look at his recent performances, you’ll be more impressed. Overall in 28 starts at that distance, he has three top fives and nine top 10s. Two of those top fives (Kansas, Chicago) came this year, as did five of the top 10s. He also started on the pole at Chicago this season – his first time leading the field to green in the Gander Trucks.

 

Grant Enfinger – Enfinger has one win in 33 starts at 1.5-mile circuits – but it’s particularly relevant because that victory came at Las Vegas last fall. It’s one of two series wins that he has (Talladega, 2016). Overall he has 10 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes at this distance in the series. He has three top fives this season, including at both Texas races and at Atlanta. His best finish at a 1.5-miler this year was third at Atlanta.

 

Tyler Ankrum – Ankrum’s experience is limited at 1.5-mile tracks because he just turned 18 in March, so he hasn’t even had a chance to race on the upcoming Las Vegas Motor Speedway track. But he’s made his mark at that distance. In six starts this season on 1.5-mile circuits he has one win (Kentucky), two top fives (also finished third at Texas in June) and three top 10s.

 

Johnny Sauter – Sauter is in a tough spot in the Playoff standings, as he sits in eighth out of eight drivers with only six moving on to the next round after Las Vegas. In 109 starts at 1.5-mile tracks, Sauter has 10 wins (one more than fellow Playoff contender Crafton), 41 top fives and 66 top 10s. Only two of those top fives have come this season – in the second race in Atlanta and then in the fifth race of the year at Texas. In regards to recent history, five of his wins at this distance have come since the introduction of the elimination-style Playoff format in 2016, with the most recent being at the June Texas race last year.

 

Brett Moffitt looking to sweep opening round of Playoffs

Since the introduction of the elimination Playoff format in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2016, no driver has swept a round’s worth of races.

 

Prior to this season, twice has one driver won two races in a round – Johnny Sauter in the Round of 6 in 2016 (Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway) and 2017 (Texas, ISM Raceway).

 

Brett Moffitt is now hoping to achieve that feat after winning the opening two races of the 2019 Gander Trucks Playoffs at Bristol Motor Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

The Gander Trucks have two weeks off before returning to the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 13 for the final race in the opening round of the Playoffs. And Moffitt’s track record in the Nevada sun shows that he may be the truck to bet on for the hat trick.

 

Moffitt has a trio of starts at the 1.5-mile track, including a runner-up finish to Kyle Busch this spring. He was third in his first start at the beginning of 2018 and then was 11th last fall.

 

And the driver of the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado would just be building on what is quickly becoming his second straight career season. In 2018, Moffitt tallied six wins, 13 top fives and 13 top 10s en route to the Gander Trucks title.

 

So far, through 18 races in 2019, Moffitt has four wins, 11 top fives and 13 top 10s. And he’s bettered his 2018 season in another statistical column – he has three pole awards this year compared to none last year.

The “Melon Man” may be one to bet on at Vegas

Ross Chastain’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series statistics at Las Vegas Motor Speedway may not lead you to think he should be your pick to win this Friday’s World of Westgate 200 (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

He made his first two starts at the track back in 2012 and 2013, finishing 25th and 14th, respectively. In the past 12 months he does have a pair of top-10s, placing seventh last fall and 10th during the first trip to the desert this year.

 

But he has visited Victory Lane at Vegas in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Chastain outlasted the field through a trip of restarts in the final 20 laps to capture his first NASCAR national series win last fall.

 

And that has to give him confidence as the Gander Trucks enter the final race of the opening round of the Playoffs – from which only six of eight drivers will continue on in the postseason.

Playoff contenders’ history at Vegas

Only two of the eight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff drivers have made their way to Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Johnny Sauter took the win in his first trip to the track in 2009. Second place in that race? His current ThorSport Racing teammate and Playoffs competitor Matt Crafton.

 

And Grant Enfinger comes to Las Vegas without a win this season, despite taking the regular season championship trophy home. However, he is the defending winner of this fall race at Las Vegas. Second place in that race? Sauter.

 

Current Playoff drivers finished first (Enfinger), second (Sauter), fifth (Crafton), seventh (Chastain), 11th (Brett Moffitt), 17th (Stewart Friesen) and 23rd (Austin Hill) in last year’s fall race.

 

The upcoming race will mark Tyler Ankrum’s first race at the 1.5-mile oval – he just turned 18-years old on March 6, a week after the first trip to the desert this spring.

 

Overall, Sauter has a win, six top fives and nine top 10s in 12 starts at Las Vegas. His ThorSport teammates Crafton (eight top fives, 12 top 10s in 20 starts) and Enfinger (one win, two top fives and four top 10s in six starts) have also been consistently near the top of the finishing order.

 

Friesen has the next most starts in the Playoff grid, posting a pair of top-five and top-10 finishes in five starts. Chastain has two top 10s in four starts, while Moffitt as a pair of top-five and top-10 results in three appearances.

What a difference a year makes

One year ago, heading into the cutoff race for the first round of the Playoffs, Johnny Sauter held the lead in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series points standings and had no doubt he would be advancing the Round of 6.

 

But this year, Sauter is in danger of “going home” following the upcoming Round of 8 cutoff race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Friday, September 13 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Currently, Sauter sits in seventh on the Playoff grid – two points and one spot behind his ThorSport Racing teammate Grant Enfinger, who currently holds the final position that would transfer to the Round of 6.

 

Sauter has never been eliminated from Gander Trucks title contention before the final race of the season during the era of the elimination Playoffs format (since 2016).

 

He doesn’t find himself on the outside looking in because of a particularly bad performance in either of the opening races of the Playoffs – he was 11th at Bristol and sixth at Canadian Tire. Instead, all of the 2019 Gander Trucks postseason contenders are proving they belong in the title talk and are also posting strong finishes – which gives Sauter little to no room to rise up in the standings.

 

Here is where each of the eight Playoff drivers finished in the first two races:

 

Drivers Bristol           Canadian Tire            Avg. Finish

Brett Moffitt                 1                      1                                  1

Ross Chastain            3                      8                                  5.5

Stewart Friesen          4                      7                                  5.5

Grant Enfinger            5                      13                                9

Matt Crafton                7                      11                                9

Austin Hill                   10                    5                                  7.5

Johnny Sauter            11                    6                                  8.5

Tyler Ankrum              20                    9                                  14.5

 

Sauter hasn’t won a race since Dover at the beginning of May – a streak of 12 races without visiting Victory Lane. That’s a bit of an unusual drought for the driver of the No. 13 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet – but it might not be a bad sign for his Playoff hopes. This season, in a way, looks a bit similar to his 2016 campaign – a campaign that ended with the championship trophy hoisted above his head in Miami.

 

In 2016, he started off the season with a win at the opener in Daytona. He then went winless for 18 races – but excelled when it counted by winning at Martinsville and Texas in the second round of Playoffs. Those were his only three wins that season.

 

Sauter will need to turn it up at Las Vegas, a track he has one win at – in his first race there in 2009 – in order to have a shot at repeating the magic of 2016. He’s recorded six top fives and nine top 10s in 12 starts at the track. And of those, four are runner-up finishes, including both races in 2018.

 

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Etc.

Hometown driver to make LVMS debut: Justin Johnson will probably have a lot of support in the stands on Friday night as he makes his debut at his hometown track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And although this is the first time he’s raced on the 1.5-mile circuit, he made a name for himself on the Speedway grounds long ago as he’s a four-time track champion at the Bullring located just across the street from the main grandstands. Johnson has four Gander Trucks starts to his credit, all in 2011, with a best finish of eighth at ISM Raceway.

 

Owner’s title battle: The numbers on the sides of the trucks competing for the driver’s title are nearly identical to those racing for the owner’s championship – just swap out the 88 from ThorSport Racing that Matt Crafton is piloting in the postseason for the 51 from Kyle Busch Motorsports, which has had a bevy of different drivers behind the wheel this season. The 51 currently sits in third place, following the No. 24 – which clinched a Round of 6 spot with two wins and the No. 45 from Niece Motorsports. The No. 13 (ThorSport Racing) and No. 17 (DGR-Crosley) are the two trucks currently on the outside.

 

Parade Laps: Insights into the drivers in this week’s media breakouts

Three drivers from the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – Niece Motorsports’ Ross Chastain, ThorSport Racing’s Grant Enfinger, and GMS Racing’s Brett Moffitt – will be participating in this week’s media rotations at Las Vegas Motor Speedway leading into the World of Westgate 200 on Friday night at 9:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Gander Trucks media rotations are scheduled for Friday, September 13, from 11:15- 11:30 p.m. ET in Media Center Deadline Room.

Ross Chastain (No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado)

Birthdate: December 4, 1992

Driver’s Age: 26

Hometown: Alva, Florida

Hobbies: Farming watermelons

Crew Chief: Phil Gould

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Chastain has raced part-time over nine seasons competing in 75 series races, recording three wins (Kansas, Gateway, Pocono – all in 2019), eight top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
  • In 2012, he ran his only full-time season in the Gander Trucks prior to 2019. He tallied a top five and four top 10s.

2019 Season Highlights:

  • This is Chastain’s first career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance.
  • Through 18 races this season, Chastain has posted three wins (Kansas, Gateway, Pocono), seven top fives, 15 top 10s and a pole (Michigan).
  • Has led 392 of 2,598 laps completed
  • 2019 average starting position, 11.0 and average finishing position, 8.8.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Has made four series starts at LVMS, posting two top-10 finishes.
  • Has an average start of 18.5 and average finish of 14.0.

 

Grant Enfinger (No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford F-150)

Birthdate: January 22, 1985

Driver’s Age: 34

Hometown: Kannapolis, NC

Hobbies: Fishing, Outdoor activities, Working on cars

Crew Chief: Jeff Hensley

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • In 2018, he captured his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff berth and finished fifth in the final points standings, the best of his career thus far in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
  • In 2017, he finished 11th in the final standings in his rookie season in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
  • In 2016, he claimed his first career NASCAR national series win at Talladega Superspeedway.
  • In 2016, posted his first NASCAR national series career pole for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series season opener at Daytona.
  • In 2010, he made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Won the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series regular season championship.
  • This is his second career Gander Trucks Playoff appearance.
  • Through 18 races this season, Enfinger has posted eight top fives, 14 top 10s and two poles (Texas, Kentucky).
  • Has led 293 of 2,590 laps completed
  • 2019 average starting position, 7.6 and average finishing position, 7.7.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Captured his second career Gander Trucks victory at Las Vegas in 2018
  • He has made six series starts at LVMS posting an average start of 7.7 and average finish of 7.8.

Brett Moffitt (No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado)

Birthdate: August 7, 1992

Driver’s Age: 27

Hometown: Grimes, Iowa

Team: GMS Racing

Crew Chief: Jerry Baxter

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Career Highlights:

  • Last season, Moffitt drove Hattori Racing Enterprise’s No. 16 Toyota to six wins, leading the way for the first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship for both Moffitt and HRE.
  • Won his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in 2016, taking home the checkers at Michigan for Red Horse Racing.
  • Made the most of his six NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2016, with three top-three finishes and four top 10s.
  • In 2013, entered the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series scene with a pair of starts (Kentucky and Michigan).

2019 Season Highlights:

  • Won the NASCAR Ganders Outdoors Truck Series races at Iowa, Chicagoland, Bristol and CTMP
  • Currently leads the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series standings over Ross Chastain
  • In 18 starts this season he has posted four victories, 11 top fives and 13 top 10s with an average starting position of 4.1 and finish of 8.2.
  • Has led 350 laps this season.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Performance:

  • Moffitt has made three previous starts at Las Vegas, posting an average finish of 5.3.
  • Finished second at Las Vegas earlier this season

 

RACE PREVIEWS WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

NASCAR News: Statistical analysis of the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

 

Statistical Advance: Analyzing the South Point 400

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 9, 2019) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada, going into the South Point 400 on Sunday, September 15 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

 

Rank Driver Points Ldr Nxt Starts Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts
1 Kyle Busch 2,045 0 0 26 4 10 45
2 Denny Hamlin 2,030 -15 15 26 4 3 30
3 Martin Truex Jr 2,029 -16 1 26 4 3 29
4 Kevin Harvick 2,028 -17 1 26 3 5 28
5 Joey Logano 2,028 -17 0 26 2 8 28
6 Brad Keselowski 2,024 -21 4 26 3 4 24
7 Chase Elliott 2,018 -27 6 26 2 4 18
8 Kurt Busch 2,011 -34 7 26 1 3 11
9 Alex Bowman 2,005 -40 6 26 1 0 5
10 Erik Jones 2,005 -40 0 26 1 0 5
11 Kyle Larson 2,005 -40 0 26 0 4 5
12 Ryan Blaney 2,004 -41 1 26 0 2 4
13 William Byron 2,001 -44 3 26 0 1 1
14 Aric Almirola 2,001 -44 0 26 0 1 1
15 Clint Bowyer 2,000 -45 1 26 0 0 0
16 Ryan Newman 2,000 -45 0 26 0 0 0

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Data

Season Race #: 27 of 36 (09-15-19)

Track Size: 1.5-miles

Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 20 degrees

Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 20 degrees

Banking/Frontstretch: 9 degrees

Banking/Backstretch: 9 degrees

Frontstretch Length:  2,275 feet

Backstretch Length:  1,572 feet

Race Length: 267 laps (400.5 miles)

Stage 1 & 2 Length: 80 laps (each)

Final Stage Length: 107 laps

 

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas

Jimmie Johnson…………………… 104.6

Kyle Busch…………………………. 103.7

Kevin Harvick……………………… 102.5

Joey Logano……………………….. 101.6

Brad Keselowski……………………. 96.1

Martin Truex Jr……………………… 95.7

Kyle Larson………………………….. 93.3

Chase Elliott…………………………. 91.3

Ryan Blaney…………………………. 90.2

Erik Jones……………………………. 87.5

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2019 races (16 total) among active drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

 

 

 

 

LAS VEGAS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

(Driver loop stats below are from 2005 – Present)

 

1 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.3, series-best

2019 Rundown

  • Four wins, 13 top fives, 21 top 10s
  • Led 1,166 laps
  • Average Finish of 8.2

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One win, seven top fives, nine top 10s, two poles
  • Average finish of 12.2, second-best
  • Average Running Position of 9.252, series-best
  • Driver Rating of 103.7, second-best
  • 197 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best
  • 3,272 Laps in the Top 15 (81.2%), series-most
  • 618 Quality Passes, second-most

 

2 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.2, sixth-best

2019 Rundown

  • Four wins, 13 top fives, 17 top 10s, one pole
  • Led 373 laps
  • Average Finish of 9.7

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Two top fives, seven top 10s
  • Average finish of 13.7, eighth-best
  • Average Running Position of 14.668, 11th-best
  • Driver Rating of 82.9, 11th-best
  • 41 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best
  • 2,216 Laps in the Top 15 (55%), eighth-most
  • 521 Quality Passes, fifth-most

 

3 – Martin Truex, Jr (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.9, fourth-best

2019 Rundown

  • Four wins, ten top fives, 15 top 10s
  • Led 614 laps
  • Average Finish of 11.3

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
  • Average finish of 11.5, fifth-best
  • Average Running Position of 11.661, sixth-best
  • Driver Rating of 95.7, sixth-best
  • 212 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best
  • 2,810 Laps in the Top 15 (69.7%), fourth-most
  • 545 Quality Passes, third-most

 

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Monster Energy Series Winners

Race Winner Date
Joey Logano 3/3/2019
Brad Keselowski 9/16/2018
Kevin Harvick 3/4/2018
Martin Truex Jr 3/12/2017
Brad Keselowski 3/6/2016
Kevin Harvick 3/8/2015
Brad Keselowski 3/9/2014
Matt Kenseth 3/10/2013
Tony Stewart 3/11/2012
Carl Edwards 3/6/2011
Jimmie Johnson 2/28/2010
Kyle Busch 3/1/2009
Carl Edwards 3/2/2008
Jimmie Johnson 3/11/2007
Jimmie Johnson 3/12/2006
Jimmie Johnson 3/13/2005
Matt Kenseth 3/7/2004
Matt Kenseth 3/2/2003
Sterling Marlin 3/3/2002
Jeff Gordon 3/4/2001
Jeff Burton 3/5/2000
Jeff Burton 3/7/1999
Mark Martin 3/1/1998

Las Vegas Race Data:

Track race record:

Brad Keselowski, Ford

154.633 mph, (2:35:24), 03-09-14

 

2018 race winner:

Brad Keselowski, Ford

111.849 mph, (03:28:15), 09-16-18

 

 

4 – Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.8, second-best

2019 Rundown

  • Three wins, nine top fives, 17 top 10s, five poles
  • Led 712 laps
  • Average Finish of 11.6

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Two wins, six top fives, nine top 10s, one pole
  • Average finish of 14.3, ninth-best
  • Average Running Position of 11.14, fourth-best
  • Driver Rating of 102.5, third-best
  • 317 Fastest Laps Run, second-best
  • 3,140 Laps in the Top 15 (73.1%), second-most
  • 515 Quality Passes, sixth-most
  • 863 Laps in the Top 15 (80.4), third-most
  • 169 Quality Passes, 11th-most

 

5 – Joey Logano (No. 22 Team Penske Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.3, third-best

2019 Rundown

  • Two wins, ten top fives, 15 top 10s, two poles
  • Led 672 laps
  • Average Finish of 10.3

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One win, five top fives, eight top 10s, one pole
  • Average finish of 8.5, series-best
  • Average Running Position of 9.392, second-best
  • Driver Rating of 101.6, fourth-best
  • 164 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best
  • 2,558 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%), sixth-most
  • 452 Quality Passes, seventh-most

 

6 – Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.9, fifth-best

2019 Rundown

  • Three wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s, two poles
  • Led 966 laps
  • Average Finish of 12.5

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s, two poles
  • Average finish of 12.3, seventh-best
  • Average Running Position of 12.535, eighth-best
  • Driver Rating of 96.1, fifth-best
  • 234 Fastest Laps Run, third-best
  • 2,233 Laps in the Top 15 (69.2%), seventh-most
  • 379 Quality Passes, 11th-most

 

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Monster Energy Series

Pole Winners

Pole Winner Date
Kevin Harvick 3/1/2019
Erik Jones 9/16/2018
Ryan Blaney 3/2/2018
Brad Keselowski 3/12/2017
Kurt Busch 3/6/2016
Jeff Gordon 3/8/2015
Joey Logano 3/9/2014
Kasey Kahne 3/11/2012
Matt Kenseth 3/6/2011
Kurt Busch 2/28/2010
Kyle Busch 3/1/2009
Kyle Busch 3/2/2008
Kasey Kahne 3/11/2007
Greg Biffle 3/12/2006
Ryan Newman 3/13/2005
Kasey Kahne 3/7/2004
Bobby Labonte 3/2/2003
Todd Bodine 3/3/2002
Dale Jarrett 3/4/2001
Ricky Rudd 3/5/2000
Bobby Labonte 3/7/1999
Dale Jarrett 3/1/1998

 

Las Vegas Qualifying Data:

Track qualifying record:

Kurt Busch, Chevrolet

196.328 mph. 27.505 secs. 03-04-16

 

2018 pole winner:

Erik Jones, Toyota

188.121 mph, 28.705 secs. 09-15-18

 

 

 

 

7 – Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.5, seventh-best

2019 Rundown

  • Two wins, eight top fives, 11 top 10s, three poles
  • Led 531 laps
  • Average Finish of 13.7

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One top five, two top 10s
  • Average finish of 24.0, 23rd-best
  • Average Running Position of 11.489, fifth-best
  • Driver Rating of 91.3, eighth-best
  • 35 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best
  • 1,111 Laps in the Top 15 (82.9%), 14th-most
  • 242 Quality Passes, 14th-most

 

8 – Kurt Busch (No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.9, ninth-best

2019 Rundown

  • One win, five top fives, 14 top 10s
  • Led 188 laps
  • Average Finish of 11.8

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Two top fives, five top 10s, two poles
  • Average finish of 22.1, 19th-best
  • Average Running Position of 15.649, 13th-best
  • Driver Rating of 82.9, 12th-best
  • 62 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best
  • 2,015 Laps in the Top 15 (50%), ninth-most
  • 376 Quality Passes, 12th-most

 

9 – Alex Bowman (No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.2, 13th-best

2019 Rundown

  • One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
  • Led 182 laps
  • Average Finish of 14.2

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One top 15, three top 20s
  • Average finish of 25.2, 26th-best
  • Average Running Position of 23.822, 24th-best
  • Driver Rating of 60.1, 22nd-best
  • 20 Fastest Laps Run, 18th-best
  • 532 Laps in the Top 15 (39.7%), 20th-most
  • 164 Quality Passes, 20th-most

10 – Erik Jones (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 84.9. 12th-best

2019 Rundown

  • One win, nine top fives, 13 top 10s
  • Led 162 laps
  • Average Finish of 14.4

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One top 10, one pole
  • Average finish of 19.0, 15th-best
  • Average Running Position of 14.028, 10th-best
  • Driver Rating of 87.5, 10th-best
  • 20 Fastest Laps Run, 16th-best
  • 866 Laps in the Top 15 (80.7%), 17th-most
  • 180 Quality Passes, 18th-most

 

11 – Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.0, 10th-best

2019 Rundown

  • Six top fives, 12 top 10s, one pole
  • Led 302 laps
  • Average Finish of 15.2

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Three top fives, four top 10s
  • Average finish of 11.4, fourth-best
  • Average Running Position of 12.781, ninth-best
  • Driver Rating of 93.3, seventh-best
  • 62 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best
  • 1,236 Laps in the Top 15 (66%), 13th-most
  • 271 Quality Passes, 13th-most

 

12 – Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Team Penske Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.7, eighth-best

2019 Rundown

  • Seven top fives, 12 top 10s, one pole
  • Led 384 laps
  • Average Finish of 14.6

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Two top fives, four top 10s, one pole
  • Average finish of 10.7, third-best
  • Average Running Position of 12.432, seventh-best
  • Driver Rating of 90.2, ninth-best
  • 40 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best
  • 1,065 Laps in the Top 15 (66.3%), 15th-most
  • 190 Quality Passes, 17th-most

13 – William Byron (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.7, 15th-best

2019 Rundown

  • Three top fives, nine top 10s, four poles
  • Led 181 laps
  • Average Finish of 14.3

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One top 20
  • Average finish of 26.7, 28th-best
  • Average Running Position of 21.567, 20th-best
  • Driver Rating of 62.9, 21st-best
  • 10 Fastest Laps Run, 23rd-best
  • 246 Laps in the Top 15 (30.5%), 24th-most
  • 75 Quality Passes, 24th-most

 

14 – Aric Almirola (No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.0, 14th-best

2019 Rundown

  • One top five, ten top 10s, one pole
  • Led 112 laps
  • Average Finish of 14.8

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Three top 10s
  • Average finish of 22.9, 20th-best
  • Average Running Position of 23.329, 22nd-best
  • Driver Rating of 64, 20th-best
  • 16 Fastest Laps Run, 21st-best
  • 982 Laps in the Top 15 (30.4%), 16th-most
  • 236 Quality Passes, 15th-most

 

15 – Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.6, 11th-best

2019 Rundown

  • Six top fives, 12 top 10s
  • Led 86 laps
  • Average Finish of 15.7

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • One top five, four top 10s,
  • Average finish of 17.9, 14th-best
  • Average Running Position of 18.296, 18th-best
  • Driver Rating of 72.3, 18th-best
  • 29 Fastest Laps Run, 14th-best
  • 1,817 Laps in the Top 15 (45.1%), 11th-most
  • 410 Quality Passes, 10th-most

16 – Ryan Newman (No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)

  • Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 71.7, 18th-best

2019 Rundown

  • One top five, nine top 10s
  • Led 16 laps
  • Average Finish of 14.0

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Outlook:

  • Four top fives, nine top 10s, one pole
  • Average finish of 15.9, 10th-best
  • Average Running Position of 15.283, 12th-best
  • Driver Rating of 80.5, 13th-best
  • 54 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best
  • 2,644 Laps in the Top 15 (61.5%), fifth-most
  • 532 Quality Passes, fourth-most

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Fast Facts: Race #1 (Las Vegas)

  • This is the second year the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs has opened at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. New Hampshire was the first race of the Playoffs from 2004 – 2010, and Chicago was the first race from 2011 – 2017.
  • Of the 10 tracks on the Playoff schedule in 2018, the three tracks in the Round of 16 (Las Vegas, Richmond and the Charlotte Road Course) have all hosted the fewest Playoff races with just their second Playoff event happening this season.
  • Four times the winner of the opening race of the postseason has went on to win the title – 2004, 2011, 2012, and 2017:

o   In 2004 (inaugural MENCS Playoffs), Kurt Busch won the opening race of the Playoff at New Hampshire and went on to win the title.

o   In 2011 (race was delayed until Monday due to rain), Tony Stewart won his first race of the season at Chicago to open the Playoffs. Stewart went on to set the record for the most wins in a Playoff run with five victories and the title.

o   In 2012, Brad Keselowski won the Playoff race at Chicago and went on to win the title.

o   In 2017, Martin Truex Jr. won the Playoff race at Chicago and went on to win the title.

  • The worst finish in the opening race of the Playoffs by a driver that went on to win the title was Jimmie Johnson’s 39th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the 2006 postseason.
  • The worst finish in the opening Playoff race at Chicago for a driver that went on to win the title was Jimmie Johnson’s 12th-place finish in 2016. Eventual champions and their finish at Chicago: 2015 Kyle Busch – ninth; 2014 Kevin Harvick – fifth; 2013 Jimmie Johnson – fifth; 2012 Brad Keselowski – first; 2011 Tony Stewart – first.
  • The worst finish in the opening race of the Playoffs at Las Vegas by a driver that went on to win the title was Joey Logano’s third-place finish last season.
  • No non-Playoff driver has ever won the opening race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
  • Since the inception of the elimination-style format of the Playoffs in 2014, the deepest seeded drivers entering the Playoffs to go on and win the title were Kevin Harvick, 2014 (seventh seed) and Joey Logano, 2018 (seventh seed); the remaining champions all started within the top five: Kyle Busch, 2015 (No. 1 seed); Jimmie Johnson, 2016 (fifth seed); Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 seed).

 

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2019 Top 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Kyle Busch 16 2 1 7 9 2 12.3 103.7
2 Denny Hamlin 15 0 0 2 7 1 13.7 82.9
3 Martin Truex Jr 15 0 1 4 7 0 11.5 95.7
4 Kevin Harvick 20 1 2 6 9 2 14.8 102.5
5 Joey Logano 12 1 1 5 8 0 8.5 101.6
6 Brad Keselowski 12 1 3 6 8 0 12.3 96.1
7 Chase Elliott 5 0 0 1 2 3 24.0 91.3
8 Kurt Busch 19 2 0 2 5 4 21.5 82.9
9 Alex Bowman 5 0 0 0 0 1 25.2 60.1
10 Erik Jones 4 1 0 0 1 1 19.0 87.5
11 Kyle Larson 7 0 0 3 4 0 11.4 93.3
12 Ryan Blaney 6 1 0 2 4 0 10.7 90.2
13 William Byron 3 0 0 0 0 1 26.7 62.9
14 Aric Almirola 12 0 0 0 3 3 22.9 64.0
15 Clint Bowyer 15 0 0 1 4 0 17.9 72.3
16 Ryan Newman 20 1 0 4 9 2 16.0 80.5

* – Based on last 16 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2005 – 2019).

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

History

  • The construction to build the superspeedway known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998.
    • The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on Nov. 2, 1996.
    • The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998. Dale Jarrett won the pole for the event and Mark Martin won the race.
    • In 2006, the track was reconfigured to include progressive banking.
    • In total there have been 23 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile track has hosted one race per season from 1998 to 2017; last season marked the first time Las Vegas hosted two Monster Energy Series events in a single season.

Starts

  • In total 159 different drivers have competed in at least one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; 123 have competed in more than one.
  • Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 20 each.
  • A total of six drivers have made their Monster Energy Series career debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Stanton Barrett (1999), Kyle Busch (2004), Timmy Hill (2012), Jon Wood, Aric Almirola (2007) and Cole Custer (2018).
  • Joey Logano (12 starts) leads the Monster Energy Series in average starting position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a 7.8.

Top 10 in Average Starting Position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (All-Time & Active)

Rank All-Time Drivers Average Start Starts Rank Active Drivers Average Start Starts
1 Joey Logano 7.8 12 1 Joey Logano 7.8 12
2 Kyle Busch 8.9 16 2 Kyle Busch 8.9 16
3 Erik Jones 9.0 4 3 Erik Jones 9.0 4
4 Jerry Nadeau 9.4 6 4 Kyle Larson 9.6 7
5 Kyle Larson 9.6 7 5 Chase Elliott 10.0 5
6 Chase Elliott 10.0 5 6 Kurt Busch 10.0 19
7 Kurt Busch 10.0 19 7 Brad Keselowski 10.7 12
8 Brad Keselowski 10.7 12 8 Ryan Blaney 11.2 6
9 Scott Riggs 10.8 7 9 Jimmie Johnson 12.7 19
10 Kasey Kahne 10.9 15 10 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 14.8 8

 

Poles

Pole Winners at Las Vegas
Pole Winners (16) Poles
Kasey Kahne 3
Bobby Labonte 2
Dale Jarrett 2
Kurt Busch 2
Kyle Busch 2
Brad Keselowski 1
Erik Jones 1
Greg Biffle 1
Jeff Gordon 1
Joey Logano 1
Matt Kenseth 1
Ricky Rudd 1
Ryan Blaney 1
Ryan Newman 1
Todd Bodine 1
Kevin Harvick 1
  • A total of 16 different drivers have won a Busch Pole Award in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, eight are active this weekend.
  • Kasey Kahne leads the series in poles at Las Vegas with three poles (2004, 2007 and 2012).
  • Five drivers have multiple poles – Kasey Kahne (three), Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch (two each).
  • NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett won the series’ inaugural pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 168.224 mph (32.773 secs.).
  • Kyle Busch is the only driver to win consecutive poles at LVMS from 2008-2009.
  • Youngest LVMS pole winner: Erik Jones (Sept. 16, 2018 – 22 years, 3 months, 17 days).
  • Oldest LVMS pole winner: Dale Jarrett (Mar. 4, 2001 – 44 years, 3 months, 6 days).
  • Only one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver has posted his first career pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Kasey Kahne (03/07/2004).
  • In total five different manufacturers have won a pole at Las Vergas Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy Series; led by Ford (10), and followed by Chevrolet (four), Dodge (four), Toyota (three) and Pontiac (one).

Wins

Race Winners – Las Vegas
Winners (13) Wins
Jimmie Johnson 4
Brad Keselowski 3
Matt Kenseth 3
Carl Edwards 2
Jeff Burton 2
Kevin Harvick 2
Jeff Gordon 1
Kyle Busch 1
Mark Martin 1
Martin Truex Jr 1
Sterling Marlin 1
Tony Stewart 1
Joey Logano 1
  • A total of 13 different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; six are active this weekend.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four victories (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010).
  • Six drivers (all-time) have multiple Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins at Las Vegas: Jimmie Johnson (four), Matt Kenseth (three), Brad Keselowski (three), Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards (each have two).
  • Youngest LVMS winner: Kyle Busch (Mar. 01, 2009 – 23 years, 9 months, 27 days).
  • Oldest LVMS winner: Sterling Marlin (Mar. 03, 2002 – 44 years, 7 months, 32 days).

 

  • Three drivers have won consecutive races at Las Vegas: Jeff Burton (1999, 2000); Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson, who is the only driver to win three consecutive races (2005, 2006 and 2007).
  • Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Las Vegas with seven victories, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five, Stewart-Haas Racing (four), Team Penske (three), Joe Gibbs Racing (two),  Chip Ganassi Racing and Furniture Row Racing (each have one).
  • Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch became the first and only driver to win from the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy Series, he accomplished the feat on March 1, 2009.
  • Five of the 23 Las Vegas races (21.7%) have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); Carl Edwards, 2008 (second starting position); Brad Keselowski, 2014 (second starting position); Martin Truex Jr., 2017 (second starting position); Kevin Harvick, 2018 (second starting position).
  • The second starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field producing more winners (four) than any other starting position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

MENCS Wins by Starting Positions at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Starting Position Wins Winning % Starting Position Wins Winning %
1 1 4.35% 13 1 4.35%
2 4 17.39% 17 1 4.35%
3 2 8.70% 18 2 8.70%
4 1 4.35% 19 1 4.35%
7 2 8.70% 20 1 4.35%
9 1 4.35% 23 1 4.35%
10 1 4.35% 24 2 8.70%
11 1 4.35% 25 1 4.35%
Stats Winning % Wins
Winning from the Pole: 4.35% 1
Winning from the Front Row: 21.74% 5
Winning from a Top-5 Starting Position: 34.78% 8
Winning from a Top-10 Starting Position: 52.17% 12
Winning After Starting Outside the Top 20: 17.39% 4

 

  • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started is 25th, by Matt Kenseth in 2004.
  • Eight of the 13 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers who have won at Las Vegas participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Mark Martin (1998; inaugural event) is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in his first appearance.
  • Ryan Newman leads the series among active drivers with the most starts at Las Vegas without visiting Victory Lane at 20 races; followed by Kurt Busch with 19.

 

  • Four manufacturers have visited Victory Lane in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, led by Ford (12), Chevrolet (seven), Toyota (three) and Dodge (one).
  • No Monster Energy Series drivers have won their first career race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Additional Finishing Positions

  • A total of 17 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished runner-up at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in runner-up finishes at Las Vegas with three.
  • Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson lead all active drivers in second-place finishes in the Monster Energy Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with two each.

 

Top Five in Runner-Up Finishes at LVMS (All-Time & Active)
Drivers Runner-Up Finishes Active Drivers Runner-Up Finishes
Dale Earnhardt Jr 3 Kyle Busch 2
Kasey Kahne 2 Kyle Larson 2
Kyle Busch 2 Clint Bowyer 1
Kyle Larson 2 Jimmie Johnson 1
Tony Stewart 2 Joey Logano 1
Kevin Harvick 1
Martin Truex Jr 1
Brad Keselowski 1

 

  • A total of 39 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished inside the top-five at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Kyle Busch leads the series in top-five finishes at Las Vegas with seven top fives.

 

Top Five in Top-Five Finishes at LVMS (All-Time & Active)
Drivers Top Fives Active Drivers Top Fives
Kyle Busch 7 Kyle Busch 7
Brad Keselowski 6 Brad Keselowski 6
Jeff Gordon 6 Jimmie Johnson 6
Jimmie Johnson 6 Kevin Harvick 6
Kevin Harvick 6 Joey Logano 5
Mark Martin 6
Matt Kenseth 6
Tony Stewart 6

 

 

  • A total of 59 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished inside the top-10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin lead the series in top-10 finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 10 each.
  • Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman lead all active drivers in top-10 finishes at Las Vegas with nine each.

 

Top Five in Top-10 Finishes at LVMS (All-Time & Active)
Drivers Top 10s Active Drivers Top 10s
Dale Earnhardt Jr 10 Jimmie Johnson 9
Mark Martin 10 Ryan Newman 9
Matt Kenseth 10 Kevin Harvick 9
Jimmie Johnson 9 Kyle Busch 9
Ryan Newman 9 Brad Keselowski 8
Tony Stewart 9 Joey Logano 8

 

  • NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in average finishing position at Las Vegas with a 7.667.
  • Joey Logano leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy Series in average finish at LVMS with a 8.5.

 

Top 10 in Average Finishing Position at Las Vegas (All-Time & Active)
Rank All-Time Driver Average Finish Starts Rank Active Drivers Average Finish Starts
1 Dale Earnhardt 7.7 3 1 Joey Logano 8.5 12
2 Joey Logano 8.5 12 2 Ryan Blaney 10.7 6
3 Ryan Blaney 10.7 6 3 Kyle Larson 11.4 7
4 Kyle Larson 11.4 7 4 Martin Truex Jr 11.5 15
5 Martin Truex Jr 11.5 15 5 Jimmie Johnson 12.0 19
6 Jimmie Johnson 12.0 19 6 Kyle Busch 12.3 16
7 Jeff Burton 12.2 17 7 Brad Keselowski 12.3 12
8 Kyle Busch 12.3 16 8 Denny Hamlin 13.7 15
9 Brad Keselowski 12.3 12 9 Kevin Harvick 14.8 20
10 Carl Edwards 12.7 12 10 Paul Menard 15.6 14

 

Female Competitors

  • Danica Patrick and Shawna Robinson are the only two female drivers to compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Driver Season Starting Position Finishing Position Driver Rating
Danica Patrick 2017 28 36 40.8
Danica Patrick 2016 18 21 54.9
Danica Patrick 2015 21 27 60.4
Danica Patrick 2014 22 21 58.0
Danica Patrick 2013 37 33 40.5
Averages 25.2 27.6 50.9
Driver Season Starting Position Finishing Position Driver Rating
Shawna Robinson 2002 36 42 N/A

Track Specific Stats

  • Twice the Monster Energy Series race has resulted with a NASCAR Overtime finish at Las Vegas:
Date Scheduled No. of Laps Actual No. of Laps NASCAR Overtime Winner Runner-Up
3/12/2006 267 270 3 Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth
9/16/2018 267 272 5 Brad Keselowski Kyle Larson

 

  • Only one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas has ended early due to weather:
Date Scheduled No. of Laps Actual No. of Laps No. of Fewer Laps Winner Runner-Up
3/5/2000 267 148 119 Jeff Burton Tony Stewart

 

  • Qualifying has only been cancelled once at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy Series in 2013. As a result, Brad Keselowski started from the first starting position.
  • The closest margin of victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the March 12, 2006 race won by Jimmie Johnson over Matt Kenseth by a margin of 0.045 second.

Top Five Closest Margins of Victory in the Monster Energy Series at Las Vegas

Margin of Victory Race Winner Runner-Up Date
0.045 Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth 3/12/2006
0.236 Joey Logano Brad Keselowski 3/3/2019
0.411 Kyle Busch Clint Bowyer 3/1/2009
0.461 Tony Stewart Jimmie Johnson 3/11/2012
0.504 Carl Edwards Dale Earnhardt Jr 3/2/2008

 

NASCAR in Nevada

  • There has been a total of 72 NASCAR national series races among two tracks in the state of Nevada.
Tracks in Nevada
Track Name City Monster Energy Xfinity Gander Outdoors Total First Year
Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas 23 24 24 71 1996
Las Vegas Park Speedway Las Vegas 1 0 0 1 1955
Totals 24 24 24 72

 

  • The first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Nevada was at Las Vegas Park Speedway on October 16, 1955. Las Vegas Park Speedway was a 1-mile dirt track, and the event was 200 laps. Norm Nelson won the race driving a Chrysler.

Nevada in NASCAR

  • A total of 28 different drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Nevada.
  • Five drivers with their home state recorded as Nevada have won at least one NASCAR national series race.

 

Drivers From  Nevada
Driver Monster Energy Xfinity Gander Outdoors Combined
Kyle Busch 55 96 56 207
Kurt Busch 31 5 4 40
Brendan Gaughan 0 2 8 10
Spencer Gallagher 0 1 0 1
Noah Gragson 0 0 2 2
Totals 86 104 70 260

 

Monster Energy Series – Achievable Milestones
Starts            
Kurt Busch   Has: 674   Needs: 1
To become the 19th driver all-time to make 675 or more series starts.
Kyle Busch   Has: 524   Needs: 1
To become the 39th driver all-time to make 525 or more series starts.
Wins            
Jimmie Johnson   Has: 83   Needs: 1
To tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time series wins list.
Kyle Busch   Has: 55   Needs: 21
To tie Dale Earnhardt for eighth on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list.
Kevin Harvick   Has: 48   Needs: 1
To tie Tony Stewart for 14th on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list.
Denny Hamlin   Has: 35   Needs: 2
To tie Bobby Isaac (37) for 22nd on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
Kurt Busch   Has: 31   Needs: 1
To tie Dale Jarrett for 25th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
Brad Keselowski   Has: 30   Needs: 2
To tie Dale Jarrett for 25th on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
Joey Logano   Has: 23   Needs: 2
To tie Jim Paschal and Joe Weatherly for 32nd on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list.
Martin Truex Jr.   Has: 23   Needs: 2
To tie Jim Paschal and Joe Weatherly for 32nd on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list.

 

Monster Energy Series – Achievable Milestones
Busch Poles            
Ryan Newman   Has: 51   Needs: 3
Tie Bill Elliott for eighth on the all-time Monster Energy Series poles list.
Jimmie Johnson   Has: 36   Needs: 1
To tie Geoff Bodine for 16th on the all-time Monster Energy Series poles list.
Kyle Busch   Has: 31   Needs: 1
To tie Fred Lorenzen and Fireball Roberts for 21st on the all-time series poles list.
Denny Hamlin   Has: 31   Needs: 1
To tie Fred Lorenzen and Fireball Roberts for 21st on the all-time series poles list.
Kevin Harvick   Has: 30   Needs: 1
To tie Denny Hamlin, Fonty Flock, Kyle Busch for 23rd on the all-time series poles list.
Kurt Busch   Has: 27   Needs: 1
To tie Kevin Harvick for 27th on the all-time Monster Energy Series poles list.
Joey Logano   Has: 22   Needs: 1
To tie Dale Earnhardt, Jack Smith, Ken Schrader for 33rd on the all-time series poles list.
Laps Led            
Jimmie Johnson   Has: 18,791   Needs: 209
To become the ninth driver in the series to lead 19,000 laps.
Kyle Busch   Has: 17,015   Needs: 985
To become the 10th driver in the series to lead 18,000 laps.
Kevin Harvick   Has: 13,793   Needs: 207
To become the 11th driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 14,000 laps.
Kurt Busch   Has: 9,709   Needs: 291
To become the 18th driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 10,000 laps.
Denny Hamlin   Has: 9,596   Needs: 404
To become the 18th driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 10,000 laps.
Martin Truex Jr.   Has: 8,149   Needs: 851
To become the 21st driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 9,000 laps.
Brad Keselowski   Has: 7,281   Needs: 719
To become the 26th driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 8,000 laps.
Joey Logano   Has: 5,769   Needs: 231
To become the 36th driver in the MENCS all-time to lead 6,000 laps.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

NHRA releases 2020 Top Fuel Harley Schedule

GLENDORA, Calif. – Today, NHRA officials announced the schedule for the 2020 Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series, which will compete at 10 of the 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

The Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series features NHRA’s only nitromethane-powered two-wheeled bikes at some of the most breathtaking facilities across the country. Fans will experience the fastest motorcycle racing action on the circuit with bikes capable of exceeding 220 mph with each pass and races that are regularly decided by just thousandths of a second.

NHRA’s two nitro categories – Funny Car and Top Fuel – will participate at all 24 national events in the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The national event schedule for the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will be released later this fall.

2020 MICKEY THOMPSON TIRES NHRA TOP FUEL HARLEY DRAG RACING SCHEDULE
Feb. 6-9 – Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, Calif.
Feb. 21-23 – NHRA Arizona Nationals, Phoenix
April 24-26 – NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte, N.C.
June 12-14 – Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kan.
July 9-12 – Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Chicago
Aug. 13-16 – Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.
Aug. 21-23 – NHRA New England Nationals, Epping, N.H.
Sept. 2-7 – NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis
Sept. 17-20 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa.
Oct. 15-18 – AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NHRA COMMUNICATIONS

Harvick ends 16-year drought with win at Brickyard 400

 

Crew Chief RODNEY CHILDERS & Race Winner KEVIN HARVICK PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO

65,444 Rodney Childers Crew Chief Its special winning at the Brickyard 9 8 2019

65,446 Rodney Childers Crew Chief How good is this new aero package car for Vegas as you start the playoffs next week 9 8 2019

65,447 Rodney Childers Crew Chief Will the team take the same crar back to Vegas next weekend from the Spring race 9 8 2019

65,459 Kevin Harvick Race winner On Rick Mears and IndyCar being his idols as a kid not Stock car racing 9 8 2018

65,460 Kevin Harvick race winner On giving Team owner Tony Stewart a Brickyard win 9 8 2019

65,461 Kevin Harvick race winner Has the car the way he likes it But iis it difficult or easier to get it that way every race 9 8 2019

Indianapolis, IN. – 43-year-old Kevin Harvick says that Indianapolis 500 legend Rick Mears is his idol. Having watched him as a kid on television and in person at several races at the famous brickyard track in Indiana’s capital city.

At times, the Bakersfield, California native drives like Mears when he can win races and come from back in the pack at key stages to take control at the end to close it out.

Race winner Kevin Harvick listens to question in back of room (megasportsnews.com photo)

On Sunday, driving in the 26th Annual Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard, he led 77 laps and steadily moved up the pack and took control in the final laps for his third win of the season and second at IMS. His victory ended a drought of 16 years between his last win here back in 2003.

Harvick's crew chief Rodney Childers says they are used to the 2019 aerodynamic package for the car this part of the season. Have to adjust race to race (megasportsnews.com photo)

Harvick's crew chief Rodney Childers says they are used to the 2019 aerodynamic package for the car this part of the season. Have to adjust race to race (megasportsnews.com photo)

“Happy” as they call Harvick, has always been one of the best active drivers at the “Brickyard”. He has the best average finish of any driver in the 400 field with a 9.4 average finish. Joining the Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2014, his average has improved with an average finish of 5.4, plus he has never finished worse than eighth in Indianapolis. Futhermore, he has never started worse than seventh and has led for 186 laps.

MORE NOTES ON KEVIN HARVICK #4 MOBIL 1 FORD

* Brickyard wins: 2003, 2019

* Starts: 18

* First Cup Season: 2001

* Won the Pole Award with a lap of 48.448 seconds, 185.766 mph

* Was his 30th pole in 672 Monster Energy Series races

* This was his fifth pole and 17th top-10 start in 2019

* This was his third pole in 19 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

* Owner Stewart-Haas Racing

* Crew chief Rodney Childers

* His 48th victory in 672 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Races

* His third win and 17th top-10 finish in 2019

* His second win and 13th top-10 finish in 19 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

 

Kevin Harvick photo (By Jonathan Ferrey of Getty Images, courtesy NASCARmedia.com)

Thrilling Indiana 250 at IMS sees Kyle Busch holding off Justin Allgaier at the end

 

 

2011 Brickyard Winner Menard Leads Cup Series Practice

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 – Kyle Busch continued his dominating ways in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by winning the Indiana 250 from the pole on an action-filled day of NASCAR racing on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Busch’s fourth Xfinity Series win at Indy and his fifth pole in seven starts at the historic 2.5-mile oval came on a day filled with Xfinity Series racing and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practices.

“It was really tough to pass, even when you had a run on guys,” said Busch, who led a race-high 46 of the 100 laps. “You could pass some of the guys that were built more for long-run longevity, the No. 7 (Justin Allgaier) was. You could pass them on the straightaways.”

Busch held onto the lead during a four-lap dash to the finish in his No. 18 Combos Toyota. He restarted as the leader while defending Indiana 250 winner Justin Allgaier was second. Allgaier’s No. 7 Suave Men Chevrolet was on Busch’s rear bumper for the final four laps, but he couldn’t overcome Busch’s short-run speed and his horsepower on the long straightaways. Busch beat Allgaier by .132 of a second.

“Kyle’s great, especially on late race restarts,” said Allgaier, who won Stage 2 and led 24 laps overall. “That’s what sets him apart in the Cup side and here in the Xfinity Series. Hats off to our guys. Our Suave Men Camaro was unreal, especially on the long run. We were able to really push those guys. I knew Kyle’s weakness was the long run, and I kind of exploited those. We had a couple late-race restarts that just didn’t go our way and put us a little bit behind.”

Allgaier beat his two JR Motorsports teammates as Noah Gragson finished third in the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet and Jeb Burton finished fourth in the No. 8 State Water Heaters Chevrolet. Indiana native Justin Haley rounded out the top five in the No. 11 LeafFilter Chevrolet.

The end of the Indiana 250 was filled with dramatic action. Contact between Austin Cindric’s No. 22 Menards/Richmond Ford and Busch’s teammate Brandon Jones in the No. 19 First Foundation Toyota in Turn 3 prompted a caution on Lap 89.

On the restart with eight laps to go, Xfinity Series championship contenders Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick crashed while battling for the lead in Turn 2 on Lap 93. Bell held the inside line, while Reddick was on the outside. The two drove through Turn 1 side-by-side, and then Bell’s No. 20 Rheem/Parker Hannifin Toyota got loose entering Turn 2 and slid into Reddick’s No. 2 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet.

The cars went nose-first into the outside SAFER Barrier. Both drivers climbed from their cars without assistance and were unhurt.

The race featured eight cautions for 31 laps, and there were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers.

Paul Menard was the fastest driver over two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Practice sessions Saturday for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line.

Menard, the 2011 Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner, topped the charts in the final practice session at 185.079 mph in the No. 21 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford fielded by the legendary Wood Brothers Racing. He was 23rd fastest in the first session at 180.473.

Kyle Larson was second fastest overall at 185.025 in the No. 42 McDonald’s Chevrolet, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kurt Busch at 184.763 in the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, defending Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner Brad Keselowski at 184.600 in the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford and Chase Elliott at 184.305 in the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet.

As time expired in final practice, Denny Hamlin crashed in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota. Hamlin slid above the groove in Turn 4 and made contact with the SAFER Barrier. Hamlin stopped at the entrance to pit road and exited the car without assistance. His Joe Gibbs Racing team will go to a backup car, and he will start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s race.

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS COMMUNICATIONS

 

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