The Sprint Cup series heads to the city of Lost Wages (OK, most people call it Las Vegas, but let’s be real here) and the city likes to brag that what happens there stays there.
What has happened a lot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is Roush Fenway Racing cars have had a ton of success. In 65 starts at Las Vegas, Roush cars have seven wins, 17 top-five and 34 top-10 finishes and have led more than 1,200 laps. Also, the Roushkateers have finished in the top 10 in each of the 14 Sprint Cup races at the track and have finished in the top five 12 times. So, needless to say, any of the Roush drivers would be a decent pick for Sunday’s 3 p.m. race on FOX (March 11).
Matt Kenseth: Roush selection number one has a chance to get off to a great start after winning at Daytona. Winning two of the first three is a real possibility here. He’s already got two wins and six top-10 finishes in 12 starts at the mile-and-a-half oval.
Carl Edwards: Roush selection number two. He’s also got two wins here and has a series-high 486 green-flag passes at Las Vegas.
Kyle Busch: Busch is an easy pick as a hometown driver despite only one victory at the track in eight starts. However, with just two finishes outside the top 15 – both of which came in the form of DNFs – the younger Busch brother is one of those drivers that’s hard not to pick.
Jimmie Johnson: Mr. Five-Time has four wins here and you know this team is on a mission to get back into the top 10 in points and not allow their Daytona penalty to derail a run at the Chase. The No. 48 is currently 35 points outside a top-10 spot going into Sunday. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take a big chunk out of that gap this weekend.
Mark Martin: So, the former Roush driver has aged a bit since his time with the team, but the 52-year-old has proven he can still drive. He’s also got a quality car in the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55. Add in a win and six top-five finishes at Las Vegas and he’s a safe bet for this weekend. And really, wouldn’t it be nice to see him hit victory lane at least one more time?
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda, but Didn’t Pick
It probably makes all the sense in the world to pick Greg Biffle. He’s scored back-to-back third-place finishes to open the season and he’s got the bonus of having Roush equipment. And while he has yet to visit victory lane at Vegas, five top 10s in eight starts combined with the momentum they’ve started the season with could be just the recipe for success the No. 16 team needs.
Here’s a review of last week’s picks at Phoenix and how they finished.
Kasey Kahne: 34th. Early mechanical issues doomed his day. He did finish, but was 28 laps down at the end.
Edwards: 17th. He challenged to be in the top 10 a couple of times, but was not a serious contender all day.
Tony Stewart: 22nd. Seemed to be primed for a solid top-10 finish, maybe even a top five, but when he shut off engine to save gas it wouldn’t start back up right away. He was two laps down by the time they got the car started again.
Johnson: Fourth. Looked like he might run away with the win early, leading 55 laps, but a tire issue cost him key positions midway through.
Kyle Busch: Sixth. He did lead 52 laps, but wasn’t in contention to win at the end.
Last week’s grade: C
2 top fives
2 top 10s
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