Detailed driver notes and statistics to help set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Who’s HOT at Las Vegas
• Brad Keselowski is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in each of the last five races, including two wins.
• Martin Truex Jr. led 150 laps en route to the win last year.
• Joey Logano has finished in the top 10 in the last four races.
• Jimmie Johnson (has struggled at 1.5-mile tracks as of late) has two wins and has led the most laps (474) in the 11 races since the track was reconfigured.
• Kevin Harvick has finished in the top 10 in two of his four track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing, including a win in 2015 after leading 142 laps.
• Kyle Busch, the 2009 race winner, has posted two top fives in his last four starts and came close to another last season up until contact on the last lap.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Las Vegas
• Kyle Larson finished second last year in this event for one of four runner-up finishes at 1.5-mile tracks in 2017. He also was the fastest in preseason testing at LVMS.
• Denny Hamlin, who has two top 10s in his last three starts at Las Vegas is one of only three drivers that have recorded top 10s in each of the last eight races that have been contested at 1.5-mile tracks.
• Kasey Kahne, who will make his first Vegas start with Leavine Family Racing, has finished in the top 10 in three of his last five starts at LVMS. He also tested with LFR at Vegas.
• Along with Larson, Ryan Newman and Erik Jones were the only drivers to post a speed over 190 mph in testing at LVMS.
• William Byron, Chris Buescher, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ty Dillon, Cole Custer (will race the No. 51 this weekend), Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Paul Menard also tested at Las Vegas.
• Chase Elliott (9.8), Ryan Blaney (12.0) and Jamie McMurray (12.6) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks since the start of the 2017 season.
• Clint Bowyer finished third last weekend at Atlanta for his seventh top five since joining Stewart-Haas Racing in the 2016-2017 offseason.
*Best Average Finish at Las Vegas
|Last # of Races||Driver||Average Finish|
|Two Races||Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano||3.0|
|Four Races||Brad Keselowski||3.5|
|Six Races||Joey Logano||8.0|
|Eight Races||Joey Logano||9.6|
|Ten Races||Kasey Kahne||10.8|
* – The best average finish is based off a driver entered in the race who has competed in every race during that time span.
Laps Led Leaders at Las Vegas
|Last # of Races||Driver||Laps Led|
|Two Races||Martin Truex Jr.||150|
|Four Races||Brad Keselowski||175|
|Six Races||Jimmie Johnson||275|
|Eight Races||Jimmie Johnson||293|
|Ten Races||Jimmie Johnson||385|
Click Here to view all laps led leaders at Las Vegas over the past 10 races.
Las Vegas Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2017, 12 Races)*
|Average Running Pos.||Laps in Top 15|
|1. Chase Elliott – 8.9||1. Jimmie Johnson – 2,666|
|2. Kyle Busch – 9.4||2. Kyle Busch – 2,596|
|3. Jimmie Johnson – 9.6||3. Kevin Harvick – 2,461|
|4. Erik Jones – 10.4||4. Kasey Kahne – 2,336|
|5. Joey Logano – 11.1||5. Ryan Newman – 2,302|
|Fastest Laps Run||Driver Rating|
|1. Jimmie Johnson – 445||1. Jimmie Johnson – 112.0|
|2. Kevin Harvick – 191||2. Kyle Busch – 102.9|
|3. Brad Keselowski – 163||3. Chase Elliott – 99.3|
|4. Kyle Busch – 143||4. Kevin Harvick – 96.8|
|5. Kasey Kahne – 116||5. Joey Logano – 96.3|
2017 Las Vegas Stage Finishes
|Stage 1 Top 10||Stage 2 Top 10|
|1. Martin Truex Jr.||1. Martin Truex Jr.|
|2. Kyle Larson||2. Brad Keselowski|
|3. Ryan Blaney||3. Kyle Larson|
|4. Brad Keselowski||4. Chase Elliott|
|5. Chase Elliott||5. Joey Logano|
|6. Jamie McMurray||6. Ryan Blaney|
|7. Jimmie Johnson||7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|8. Kyle Busch||8. Jamie McMurray|
|9. Matt Kenseth||9. Ryan Newman|
|10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.||10. Jimmie Johnson|
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Darrell Wallace Jr. and William Byron will each be making their first Cup Series start at Las Vegas. Wallace, who leads the rookie standings by 19 points, has posted two top 10s in three Xfinity starts and two top fives in two Camping World Truck Series starts at Las Vegas. Byron has one start each in Xfinity and trucks with his best finish, fifth, coming in the Truck Series in 2016. Both Wallace and Byron tested at Las Vegas and Byron was the fastest driver in the morning session on the final day. Cole Custer will also be competing in his first Cup race behind the wheel of the No. 51 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing.
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Larson
Pete Pistone: Martin Truex Jr.
Robbie Mays: Joey Logano
Tyler Burnett: Brad Keselowski
Driver Notes – Ordered by Average Finish (Top 15) in the Last Five Races at Las Vegas
Brad Keselowski is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in the last five races at Las Vegas, including a win in 2014 and 2016. Keselowski led 89 laps in last year’s race and was passed for the lead with two laps to go when he had a mechanical issue that relegated him to a fifth-place finish. Last weekend, Keselowski finished second at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his eighth top 10 in the last 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks since the start of the 2017 season. Last month, Keselowski participated in the Las Vegas test and was third fastest in the morning session on the final day.
Joey Logano has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts at Las Vegas, including a second-place finish in 2016. Logano has combined to lead 170 laps in his last four starts and won the pole in 2014. Logano finished sixth last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his third consecutive top 10 at a 1.5-mile track and eighth overall in the 12 races contested at intermediate tracks since the start of 2017.
Martin Truex Jr. started second and led 150 laps en route to the win in last year’s race, along with the opening two stages, at Las Vegas. The win was one of seven in the last 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks (2.8 average finish). Last weekend, Truex came from the back of the field to finish fifth at Atlanta Motor Speedway – his 10th top five at a 1.5-mile track since the start of the 2017 season.
Kasey Kahne has finished in the top 10 in three of the last five races at Las Vegas, including a runner-up finish in 2013. This weekend, Kahne will make his first track start with Leavine Family Racing. Last weekend, he finished 21st at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kahne did take part in the preseason test with LFR at Las Vegas and was fifth fastest in the final session.
Kyle Busch was running in the top five and racing hard for position when Joey Logano got loose and got into him on the final lap. The contact resulted in a 22nd-place finish and a post-race altercation on pit road. Busch, who won in 2009, had finished fourth in two of the prior three races. Busch holds the seventh-best average finish (12.2) in the last 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks. This weekend, Busch will compete in all three NASCAR races at LVMS.
Ryan Blaney has finished seventh or better in his last two starts at Las Vegas to give him an average finish of 10.7 in his three overall starts. Last weekend, Blaney finished 12th at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Team Penske and has a 12.0 average finish in the 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks dating back to the start of the 2017 season.
Denny Hamlin has finished sixth or better in two of the last three races at Las Vegas. Hamlin has only led 14 laps in his 12 Vegas starts. He finished fourth last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and is one of only three drivers that have recorded top 10s in each of the last eight races that have been contested at 1.5-mile tracks.
Paul Menard scored three consecutive top 10s from 2012-2014 for his only top 10s in 11 starts at Las Vegas. This weekend, Menard will make his first track start with Wood Brothers Racing. He did take part in the preseason test with the team at the track. Last weekend, Menard finished 17th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Jamie McMurray finished eighth last season for his fourth top 10 since Las Vegas was reconfigured. McMurray holds the ninth-best average finish (12.6) in the last 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks. He began the 2017 season four consecutive top 10s at the mile-and-a-half tracks.
Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with four wins at Las Vegas with two of them coming since the track was reconfigured. He leads all drivers with 474 laps led since 2007 and has led laps in the last six races. Johnson, who did win at Texas Motor Speedway last spring, has finished 27th in the last three races at 1.5-mile tracks.
Erik Jones finished 15th last year in his first Las Vegas Cup start. He finished 11th last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and has an 18.9 average finish in his 14 career Cup starts at 1.5-mile tracks. Jones did participate in the preseason test with Joe Gibbs Racing at Las Vegas and was third fastest in the final session.
AJ Allmendinger scored his only top 10 (sixth) in eight starts at Las Vegas in 2015. Allmendinger’s last top 10 at a 1.5-mile track came 13 races ago in the 2016 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His teammate Chris Buescher participated in the preseason test at Las Vegas,
Ryan Newman has posted a 10.0 average finish in his four Las Vegas starts with Richard Childress Racing. He’s only finished in the top 10 twice in the last 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks. Newman did test at Las Vegas and was second fastest on the final day.
Kyle Larson finished second last year to lower his average finish to 15.8 in four starts at Las Vegas. The finish was one of four runner-ups in the last 12 races at 1.5-mile tracks. He also posted 17 stage points in last year’s race. Larson did test at Las Vegas where he posted the fastest lap.
Austin Dillon finished fifth in 2016 for his only top 10 in five starts at Las Vegas. His only top 10 on a 1.5-mile track since the start of 2017 came when he won the Coca-Cola 600 on fuel mileage.