Pete Pistone looks at some of the ups and downs from the weekend of racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
He doesn’t need anyone giving him checkered flags because he’s getting them on his own at a record pace. A second straight dominating performance for Harvick in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 win leading 214 laps. He’s been out front for 49 percent of the laps run in 2018.
He didn’t get a sweep of the three races at his home track but it wasn’t a bad weekend at all for Busch. He won Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race and finished second Sunday behind Harvick admitting that was a good finish considering how strong the No. 4 Ford was in Vegas.
Harvick led the way for a resurgent Ford stable that saw six of the top-10 spots occupied by the manufacturer. This year’s common splitter as well as the new Optical Scanning Station system of inspection seems to have played in favor of Ford finding a bit of an edge in the early going.
Typically a 12th-place finish for Johnson wouldn’t be much to trumpet. But the way things have been going Sunday’s performance was welcome for the seven-time champion. He started last and lost his car chief after failing pre-race inspection three times. But Johnson persevered falling laps down to the field at one point before rallying back to finish in the first dozen.
Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race was by far the best of the Las Vegas weekend. Intense racing, three and four-wide competition and intrigue until the finish added up to create an entertaining and memorable night at LVMS.
Kurt Busch/Chase Elliott
Bad luck has been a challenge for this duo in 2018 and it caught up to both of them on Sunday. Busch lost control of his car racing off the fourth turn and collected Elliott before both cars went hard into the wall. It left the pair with a couple of DNFs.
The only other caution of the day for a racing incident outside the Elliott/Busch tangle was for McMurray. He had an issue that caused him to slam the backstretch wall and the Chip Ganassi Racing driver left Las Vegas with a disappointing 36th-place finish.
This is a black flag with a silver lining. McDowell and the Front Row Motorsports team have been pretty impressive in the early part of 2018. He qualified 15th and at one point as pit strategies cycled through was upfront with teammate David Ragan. Unfortunately a mechanical issue sidelined McDowell at lap 100.
Friday night’s Truck Series race found Brett Moffitt wadded up after getting caught behind slower trucks costing him the lead and possible win. Part of racing is navigating around slower traffic but there are parameters and several competitors need to do a better job of getting the heck out of the way when faster traffic is coming in a hurry.
There were issues for teams again this week notably Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez. NASCAR continues to preach patience and teams understand mechanical malfunctions can happen but here’s hoping this subject gets eradicated sooner rather than later.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.