NASCAR’s season continues to gain momentum as all of NASCAR’s national series head to one of its seminal intermediate tracks in Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Which Xfinity Series stars are getting lucky in Vegas this weekend?
The story of the NASCAR Xfinity Series so far in 2023 is one of expected results. A very good superspeedway driver in Austin Hill won at Daytona in a Richard Childress car. A fast Joe Gibbs racing car and fast John Hunter Nemechek won Sunday’s Xfinity race in Fontana, the last laps any NASCAR series will run on the 2-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway.
A Vegas roulette, or more chalk?
Two big teams. Two fast cars. Two fast drivers. Two victories come as no surprise to those who actively follow the series. Does Las Vegas continue in that vein, or do we have a shakeup on the cards this weekend?
When you look at the cars that teams like RCR, JGR, JR Motorsports, and Kaulig Racing have had so far this season, it looks unlikely to see someone outside of that pack really impacting the race on Saturday.
The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supras looked strong at Auto Club Speedway last Sunday. John Hunter Nemechek’s #20 took the checkered flag, but Sammy Smith could just as well have been the man in that position, had he not been spun after a bump from Austin Hill late in the race.
SAMMY SMITH SPINS!
A bad aero situation for the No. 18 ends up with him spinning off Turn 2, but ends up with minimal damage.@J_Allgaier is the leader.#NASCAR #PAG300 pic.twitter.com/EY18tn5eUa
— NASCAR on TSN (@NASCARonTSN) February 27, 2023
The return of Las Vegas’s own, Rowdy
One glance at the NASCAR Xfinity Series entry list for Vegas this weekend and the name that jumps out at you is the most familiar on the list. Kyle Busch returns to the Xfinity Series this weekend for his first race in the series since 2021.
Where else for the Xfinity Series all-time wins leader to make his triumphant return than his home stomping grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway? Oh, by the way, the last time Rowdy raced an Xfinity Series car in Vegas, (back in 2019) he took home the victory.
Of course, this will be the first time in a long time that Kyle Busch isn’t racing a JGR car in the secondary circuit. Busch will be in the Kaulig Racing #10 Chevy, his first venture outside of JGR in the series since his full-time season under his own Kyle Busch Motorsports banner in 2012.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is about as intermediate as NASCAR’s intermediate ovals get. A 1 1/2-mile oval with a slight tri-oval shape to accommodate the major grandstand. The turns are banked at 20 degrees, the tri-oval frontstretch is 12 degrees, and the backstretch is nine degrees.
What started as just a drag strip and road racing course 15 miles northeast of the Vegas strip has now become a home for multiple series and multiple disciplines of racing. Two NASCAR weekends, two NHRA events, and World of Outlaws sprint racing highlight the action across the grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which includes a four-wide drag strip, a half-mile dirt track, and multiple road courses.
Not only a destination for race fans, one of the biggest music festivals in the world, Electric Daisy Carnival (or EDC for short), has been held at the speedway since 2011. Over 400,000 attended the 2022 edition.
As someone who is willing to get swept up in big storylines and sentimental favorites, how can I not like Kyle Busch to win this race on Saturday? The stars are aligning for Kyle Busch once again, the Rowdy we all know and love (or hate) is back.
It’s early in the NASCAR season, but Kyle Busch already looks like a new man in the Cup Series after a fresh change of scenery. I expect him to keep building on his momentum, not just in Cup, but every chance he gets in the Xfinity Series. It doesn’t hurt that he has a pretty fast Kaulig car either.
How To Watch: Alsco Uniforms 300 (All times EST)
- Practice/Qualifying: Friday, March 3, 6:35 p.m. on FS1
- Alsco Uniforms 300: Saturday, March 4, 4:30 p.m. on FS1