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NASCAR Cup Series: Las Vegas Preview, Predictions, and How To Watch

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: Christopher Bell, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Las Vegas native Kyle Busch seeks back-to-back wins as the NASCAR Cup Series rolls into his hometown for the season’s third race.

NASCAR heads to Las Vegas this weekend with the city’s hometown hero Kyle Busch seeking wins in back-to-back weeks. That’s certainly not something many expected to hear just a few months ago.

Busch departed his longtime team Joe Gibbs Racing for a new ride with Richard Childress Racing at the end of last season. Many wondered if it was the right call, and if he would be able to find the same success he did at JGR all those years. Just two races into the season, we may have an answer.

The veteran already seems comfortable in his new No.8 Chevrolet, already accustomed to not only his new team but his new manufacturer. Busch raced with Toyota during his entire JGR tenure and returned to Chevrolet this season for the first time since 2007 when he was with Hendrick Motorsports.

On Sunday, despite an early pit stop penalty, Busch was able to fight back and use a commanding final stage to cruise to victory for the first time with his new team. There is still a long season ahead, but the early returns suggest that Busch has the right equipment and is in the right headspace to be a serious contender this season. The win also gave his confidence a big boost, as he suggested post-race that he was a bit down on himself at times recently, but reaffirmed his self-confidence with the win.

The win broke a NASCAR record, as he has now won a race in 19 consecutive seasons, and shows no signs of stopping. He now heads back to his hometown looking to add to an already magical start to 2023.

The Track

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval that was built in 1996 and has hosted a NASCAR Cup Series race every year since 1998. A second race at the track was added to the schedule in 2018 as well. Jimmie Johnson holds the record for the most wins on the track with four, with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski tied at three for the most wins among active drivers. Kyle Busch may be the most consistent driver however, with the most ever top 5s (10) and top 10s (13) on the track.

The banking on the front stretch is 12 degrees and just 9 degrees on the backstretch. The turns have 20-degree banking. Alex Bowman is the defending Pennzoil 400 winner. Joey Logano though is the most recent winner on the track, having won the South Point 400 last fall in the track’s second yearly race.

Sunday’s race will be 267 laps long and cover 400 miles. Stage 1 will be the first 80 laps, while Stage 2 will cover the next 85 laps. Stage 3 will consist of the final 102 laps of the race.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Wikipedia

Points Standings

Let’s see who has the early advantage after two races. Here are the top 10 in the driver standings so far.

  1. Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing – 92 points
  2. Joey Logano, Team Penske – 91 points
  3. Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports – 80 points
  4. Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing – 79 points
  5. Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse Racing – 77 points
  6. Chris Buescher, RFK Racing – 74 points
  7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing – 73 points
  8. Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing – 67 points
  9. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing – 64 points
  10. Brad Keselowski, RFK Racing – 64 points

Predictions

Though I expect Busch to be near the front, I’m taking another veteran this weekend. Joey Logano has three wins at Las Vegas already, and the Penske cars always run well there. I’ll take Logano to grab a win and announce his presence for his championship defense in 2023.

  1. Joey Logano, Team Penske
  2. Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports
  3. Ryan Blaney, Team Penske
  4. Kyle Busch, Richard Childress Racing
  5. Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports

How To Watch – NASCAR at Las Vegas (All Times EST)

  • Practice: Saturday, March 4th – 1:35 p.m. – FS2 (FS1 broadcast begins at 2:00 p.m.)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, March 4th – 2:20 p.m. – FS1
  • Pennzoil 400: Sunday, March 5th – 3:30 p.m. – FOX (Green flag at 3:45 p.m.)
Featured Image Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

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