2023 Oct9 Las Vegas General Main Image.jpg

Cup Series ready for Las Vegas encore

Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

(Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET | FOX | PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Weekend schedule | TV schedule | Weather tracker | NASCAR 101

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Track length: 1.5 miles
Cup Series race purse: $9,386,054
Race distance: 267 laps | 400 miles
Stages: 80 | 165 | 267

Starting lineup: Logano lands 30th Cup Series pole
Pit stall assignments:
Where drivers will pit Sunday
Defending winner:
William Byron, March 2023

Key things to watch

Saturday sessions

Joey Logano continued his front-row streak in Saturday’s Busch Light Pole qualifying, going 3-for-3 to start the season by putting his No. 22 Team Penske Ford atop the time chart with a 184.357 mph lap. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Larson, the Las Vegas track’s most recent winner last October. Larson was also fastest in the consecutive 10-lap average category in Cup Series practice, which was topped by Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in single-lap speed. | Read practice, qualifying recap 

Big story line

What does the Cup Series do for an encore after last week’s dazzler at Atlanta?

The brilliance of last Sunday’s three-wide photo finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway remains the talk of the tour, but it’s a far different intermediate-sized track that greets the Cup Series this weekend. Both the Atlanta tilt and the season-opening Daytona 500 were held with the superspeedway rules configuration, but the Cup Series’ baseline package will make its 2024 debut this weekend at Vegas, where the turns are banked 20 degrees vs. the 28-degree Atlanta curves. Sunday’s 400-miler should provide a truer test for the Cup Series’ early balance of power, in contrast to the sometimes-fickle brand of racing seen in the first two superspeedway-style events.

Las Vegas hasn’t had a race as close as Daniel Suárez’s 0.003-second win last weekend, but then again, few tracks have. Jimmie Johnson edged out Matt Kenseth in this race in 2006 by a 0.045-second margin in the closest Cup Series event in Vegas track history (32 races), but just last fall, Larson held off Christopher Bell here by a scant 0.082 seconds at the finish. Three of the four closest Las Vegas finishes have occurred in the last four years.

The event will also mark the first intermediate oval for the new Ford and Toyota bodies that made their Cup Series debut this year. Both manufacturers are looking for their first win of the season after a Chevrolet sweep of the first two Cup Series events. Fords have ruled qualifying so far, with three poles in three races.

And the weather deserves its own mention, with windy conditions prevailing all weekend long at Las Vegas. The buffeting breeze is forecast to subside slightly after the National Weather Service’s high-wind warning expires Sunday morning, but the gusty feel will be a factor for teams, drivers and fans in attendance to bundle up for.

RELATED: Watch NASCAR video highlights

joey logano celebrates winning the pole Chris Graythen | Getty Images

History tells us…

A pair of Ford pilots top the all-time win list among active drivers, with Team Penske’s Logano and RFK Racing’s Brad Keselowski each prevailing three times at Las Vegas. Both of those drivers are currently experiencing dry spells, with Logano riding a 33-race winless skid and Keselowski’s drought at an even 100 races.

More recently, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have ruled the Las Vegas roost, winning three of the last four races with three different drivers and finishing 1-2-3 in this race last year with William Byron outlasting teammates Larson and Alex Bowman at the checkered flag. The only non-Hendrick driver to win at Las Vegas during that two-year span is Logano, who reached the 30-win mark in his Cup Series career here in 2022 on the way to his second Cup championship.

He may not be the betting favorite to win, but watch out for…

Alex Bowman. Going off as a 22-1 shot, Bowman heads to the site of the most recent of his seven Cup Series victories (March 2022) with reason for optimism. The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports driver has been a top-three finisher in two of his last three Vegas starts. The small sample size of the 2024 campaign has been a mixed lot for Bowman, who was runner-up to teammate William Byron in the Daytona 500, then placed a crash-hampered 27th at Atlanta last week. Worth an honorable mention among potential underdogs is Todd Gilliland, who has yet to crack the top 20 at Vegas in four starts but is the Cup Series’ current chart-topper in laps led. He’s a 250-1 long shot. | Las Vegas odds

Speed reads

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles. 

• Turning Point: Trends from Atlanta, heading to Vegas | Read article
• Trackhouse’s triumph:
Giving NASCAR’s disruptors their due | Read article
• Worldwide win:
Suárez keeps celebration rolling with Pitbull | Read article
• Glove fits: Logano, Stewart-Haas penalties in focus at Vegas | Read article
• Front Row’s upswing:
McDowell, Gilliland impress early on| Read article
• NASCAR Classics: Picks to click from our video library for Vegas viewing | Read article
36 for 36: NASCAR survivor pool selections for Las Vegas | Read article
Memory lane: Through the years with Las Vegas’ biggest moments | See the photos
• Inside the numbers: Racing Insights projects the final race results | Read article
At-track photos: Scenes, sights from the city that never sleeps | Photo gallery
• Fantasy Fastlane: Lineup advice for Las Vegas | See fantasy tips
• Paint Scheme Preview: Fresh designs with Las Vegas style | Pick a favorite
• Power Rankings: Suárez makes statement in Top 20 | Latest driver rankings

Fast facts

Race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

Martin Truex Jr. has registered seven consecutive top-10 finishes at Vegas, the longest active streak among Cup Series drivers. He is a two-time Las Vegas winner (2017, 2019).
Hendrick Motorsports swept all four stages in last year’s Las Vegas races. The organization’s next Cup Series stage win will be its 100th.
Chevrolet has won five of the last seven Cup Series events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.