Driver Handicaps: Las Vegas

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This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City for Sunday's Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 267-lap event.

Who's HOT at Las Vegas
• Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch are the three winners on the new track configuration.
• Jeff Burton leads all drivers with a 9.8 average finish in 12 starts.
• Jeff Gordon has finished sixth or better in four of his last five starts.
• Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have respective average finishes of 5.0 and 6.0 with the COT (2 starts).
• Denny Hamlin has an 11.0 average finish in four starts.
• Matt Kenseth, who has two wins on the old configuration, is fifth in laps led (71) with the COT.
• Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne are the only other drivers that have competed in both COT races with average finishes of 10.0 or better.

Keep an Eye on at Las Vegas
• Vegas is the site of David Reutimann's first career top five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
• Clint Bowyer finished second in this event last year.
• Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart posted respective average finishes of 10.7 and 11.4 on 1.5-mile tracks in 2009.
• Kurt Busch will return in the same car that won at Texas last fall.
• Inaugural Vegas winner Mark Martin has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts (engine problems knocked him out in 2009).
• Joey Logano, who finished fifth last weekend at Auto Club, finished 13th in his first Vegas start in 2009.
• Jamie McMurray has two top-10 finishes on Vegas' new configuration.

2009 Track Performers
Jeff Gordon was the only driver to post an average finish of 10.0 or better in the 10 races on 1.5-mile speedways in 2009. Gordon wound up with a stellar 5.8 average finish, 274 laps led and one win, which came at Texas last spring. Kasey Kahne (10.7), Tony Stewart (11.4), David Reutimann (11.8) and Denny Hamlin (11.9) rounded out the top five in average finish. Defending Las Vegas winner Kyle Busch led the most laps in the 10 races with 483. Four-time and reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson was second with 358 laps led. Based off 1.5-mile tracks in 2009: Las Vegas, Atlanta (1.54-mile), Texas, Lowe's, Chicago, Kansas and Homestead.

Active Pole Leaders
Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Kyle Busch - 2 poles
1. Marcos Ambrose - 5.0
Pole - Once
1. Kasey Kahne - 2 poles
2. Kurt Busch - 5.7
Top Five - Three Times
1. Bobby Labonte - 2 poles
3. Kyle Busch - 7.7
Top 10 - Five Times
4. Greg Biffle - 1 pole
4. David Reutimann - 9.0
Top 15 - Six Times
4. Ryan Newman - 1 pole
5. Kasey Kahne - 9.7
Worst - 25th, One Time


*Best Average Finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Jeff Burton
4.0
Four Races
Kyle Busch
6.0
Six Races
Jeff Burton
10.0
Eight Races
Jeff Burton
9.4
10 Races
Jeff Burton
11.5
* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Las Vegas Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2009)
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon - 7.4
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Carl Edwards
2. Kyle Busch - 7.8
3. Greg Biffle
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Jeff Burton - 9.9
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Greg Biffle
4. Greg Biffle - 10.0
5. Kyle Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jimmie Johnson - 10.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 1260
1. Jeff Gordon - 225
1. Jimmie Johnson - 113.6
2. Kyle Busch - 1193
2. Kyle Busch - 212
2. Jeff Gordon - 111.5
3. Jeff Burton - 1109
3. Jeff Burton - 203
3. Kyle Busch - 109.4
4. Greg Biffle - 1038
4. Tony Stewart - 188
4. Greg Biffle - 103.9
5. Jimmie Johnson- 989
5. Jimmie Johnson - 186
5. Jeff Burton - 98.5

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a complete look at all the loop data statistics for Las Vegas Motor Speedway Click Here to view Motor Racing Network's pre-race eBook.

Season Loop Data Leaders
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Kevin Harvick - 6.3
2. Kyle Busch
2. Juan Pablo Montoya
2. Clint Bowyer - 6.9
3. Kevin Harvick
3. Mark Martin
3. Jimmie Johnson - 9.6
4. Jeff Burton
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Kyle Busch - 10.1
5. Carl Edwards
5. Greg Biffle
5. Greg Biffle - 10.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Clint Bowyer - 427
1. Kevin Harvick - 364
1. Kevin Harvick - 121.0
2. Kevin Harvick - 402
2. Kyle Busch - 352
2. Clint Bowyer - 117.0
3. Kyle Busch - 392
3. Jamie McMurray - 347
3. Jimmie Johnson - 104.4
4. Jimmie Johnson - 355
4. Clint Bowyer - 333
4. Greg Biffle - 100.8
5. Kurt Busch - 348
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 322
5. Kyle Busch - 96.9

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Jeff Burton
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Rachael West: Carl Edwards

Top 30 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Las Vegas Motor Speedway unless noted)

1. Kevin Harvick: Best finish in nine starts came in 2008 in fourth; 14.3 average finish in the three races on the track's new configuration; Has yet to lead a lap since 2004; Will drive a new car (chassis No. 299) in the Shelby American.

2. Clint Bowyer: Coming off first top 10 in four starts with a second-place finish; Led nine laps in 2009; 22.0 average finish (15.0 with COT) in the three starts on the track's new configuration; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 277) that finished 21st at Kansas last fall.

3. Greg Biffle: Finished eighth or better in four of his last five starts; 8.7 average finish (5.0 with COT) in the three starts on the track's new configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 608) that raced in the All-Star race last season.

4. Jamie McMurray: Only top five (fourth) came with Chip Ganassi racing in 2004; Posted a 14.7 average finish in three starts with Roush Fenway Racing on the track's new configuration; Finished ninth last year in last track start with RFR; Will race chassis No. 070 this weekend in his Vegas return with Ganassi; This car saw its best finish in 2009 with driver Martin Truex Jr. at Homestead in ninth.

5. Jeff Burton: Best track on the circuit based on 9.8 average finish in 12 starts; Won two races (1999, 2000) with Roush Racing; Last five starts have come with Richard Childress Racing; 7.7 average finish in the three races on the track's new configuration; Will pilot a new car (chassis No. 293) in the Shelby American.

6. Mark Martin: Winner of the inaugural race; Has finished in the top 10 in nine of his 12 starts; All three of his starts (18.3 average finish) in a Chevrolet came on the track's new configuration; Finished 40th last year in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports after the engine expired; Will race the same car (chassis No. 555) that finished fourth at Texas last fall.

7. Matt Kenseth: Two-time winner on old track configuration; Leads all drivers in laps led with 438; 23.3 average finish and led 71 laps on the new Vegas track configuration.

8. David Reutimann: Finished fourth last year for first career top five in the Cup Series; Qualified fourth in 2009; Finished 37th in first start in 2008 to give him an average finish of 20.5; Has yet to lead a lap.

9. Joey Logano: Finished 13th in first start in 2009; Will drive the same car (chassis No. 252) that finished 14th and 12th at Richmond and Martinsville, respectively.

10. Carl Edwards: Winner of the 2008 race; Led 86 of his 91 career laps at LVMS en route to the win; Fourth-best average finish (8.0) on Las Vegas' new configuration; Will race the same car (chassis No. 565) that ran both Atlanta races, Chicago and Darlington last year; This car saw it's best finish (third) at Atlanta in the spring.

11. Kurt Busch: Has yet to post a top-15 finish in four starts with Penske Racing; Last of two top 10s came with Roush Racing in 2005; 5.5 average start and 30.5 average finish in two starts with the COT; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 702) that won at Texas last fall.

12. Jimmie Johnson: Leads all drivers with three wins; 17th-best finishing average (18.0) in the three races on Las Vegas' new configuration; Has respective finishes of 29th and 24th in last two starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 580) in the Shelby American.

13. Kyle Busch: Defending race winner; Credited with winning from the pole in 2009, but had to start at the rear of the field due to an engine change; Combined to lead 77 laps in the last two events; His three other top 10s came with Hendrick Motorsports (2005-2007); Has the best average finish on the new Las Vegas configuration (7.0); Will debut a new car (chassis No. 268) in the Shelby American.

14. Brian Vickers: Scored first top-20 finish in five starts in 2009 in eighth; 32.0 average start and 16.0 average finish in two starts with the COT.

15. Scott Speed: Finished 21st in first start in 2009.

16. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Tied for the second-best average finish (7.7) in three starts on the new Las Vegas configuration; Finished second in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in 2008; Started 31st and finished 10th in 2009; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 556) that finished 25th at Texas last fall after a gamble on fuel.

17. Tony Stewart: Finished 26th in first track start with Stewart-Haas; Scored six top 10s in previous 10 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Posted a 25.3 average finish in the three races on the track's new configuration; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 583) in the Shelby American.

18. Paul Menard: 29.7 average finish in three starts; Best finish came in 2008 in 22nd; Will pilot a car (chassis No. 653) that ran in one race last season.

19. David Ragan: Only top 10 came in 2008 in seventh; Has a 28.7 average finish on the new track configuration; Finished 42nd last year after an engine failure; Has yet to lead a lap in three starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 620) that finished 34th at Homestead in 2009.

20. Martin Truex Jr: Will make first track start in a Toyota; Has the 16th best average finish (19.7) on the track's new configuration; Did not finish in the top 10 in his previous four starts with Dale Earnhardt Inc./Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.

21. Denny Hamlin: Ended a streak of three consecutive top 10s with a 22nd-place finish in 2009; Last year's finish, which was caused by damage after a lap three incident raised his average finish to 11.0 in four starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 248) that won at Pocono and Martinsville last year.

22. Jeff Gordon: Winner of the 2001 event; Has finished sixth or better in four of his last five starts; Has combined to lead 147 laps in the last three races; Posted the best average finish on 1.5-mile tracks in 2009.

23. Juan Pablo Montoya: Has yet to lead a lap or finish in the top 15 in three starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 910) that finished 38th at Homestead after a mid-race incident with Tony Stewart.

24. Elliott Sadler: Has one top 10 in 11 starts; Will make first track start in a Ford since 2006; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 282) in the Shelby American.

25. Bobby Labonte: Finished fifth with Hall of Fame racing in 2009; 11.7 in three starts on the track's new configuration; Scored four top 10s with Joe Gibbs Racing on old configuration; Will make first track start in a Chevrolet since 2005.

26. Sam Hornish Jr: 28.5 average finish in two starts; Finished 16th in 2009.

27. AJ Allmendinger: Finished 33rd in first start in 2009; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 289) that finished 10th last fall at Texas as the No. 44.

28. Brad Keselowski: Finished 38th in 2009 with Hendrick Motorsports in only start; Will make first track start with Penske Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 708) in the Shelby American.

29. Travis Kvapil: Finished eighth with Yates Racing in 2008; Two other finishes of 26th and 39th came on the track's old configuration in 2005 and 2006.

30. Regan Smith: Finished 19th in first track start with Furniture Row Racing in 2009; Only other start was in 2008 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. where he finished 34th; Has yet to lead a lap.

33. Kasey Kahne: Two-time pole winner; Best finish came on the old Las Vegas configuration in second; Has led 14 laps and posted an average finish of 17.3 on new configuration; Will make track debut in a Ford.

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