Driver Group Game Picks Las Vegas

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The NASCAR Cup Series will start their “West Coast Swing” this week when they take the green flag in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is going to be tough for the Cup Series to put on a show as exciting as the race last week at Atlanta. There were 20 leads changes and the margin of victory in the last race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was only .089 seconds. This should be another race that will leave fans on the edge of their seats. The Pennzoil 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

 

STRATEGY FOR LAS VEGAS

Do you feel like gambling this week? That is what we are going to be doing with our picks in Las Vegas. The Fords and Toyota’s have a new car and we do not know what type of speed the Ford Mustang Dark Horse or the Toyota Camry XSE will have for the race Sunday. Will the Chevy’s dominate the race since they have two year’s worth of notes to work with, or will one of these new cars have a clear advantage? We will not know the answers to these questions until final practice is complete Saturday. Unfortunately, our picks have to be in by 1:50 p.m. ET Saturday (Before any practice or qualifying). I plan to use drivers from all three manufactures so I have the best chance of hitting blackjack with my picks Sunday.

Here are the picks for the Pennzoil 400…

 

GROUP A DRIVERS

KYLE LARSON (9): The safest pick in the field Sunday is Larson. He could probably take a dump truck to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and lead 50 laps. He qualified second, won both Stages, led 133 laps and went to Victory Lane in the last race in Sin City. He also led 63 laps, scored 18 Stage Points and finished second in the first race in Las Vegas last year. Larson has finished first or second in three of the four races using the Gen-7 car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I will play it safe and have the No. 5 car in my lineup Sunday.

CHRISTOPHER BELL (9): This pick was tough. Should I use two drivers from Hendrick Motorsports (Kyle Larson and William Byron), should I use a Ford (Ryan Blaney) or maybe a Toyota? I decided to pair a Toyota with Larson, but deciding between Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell was not easy. Bell has won the pole for two of the last three races on the 1.5-mile tracks and two of the last four races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He is the best pick to score bonus points for qualifying. The No. 20 car also led 61 laps (second-most), scored 17 Stage Points (second-most) and finished second behind Kyle Larson in the last race at Las Vegas. Having Larson as our driver and Bell for qualifying points gives this lineup the best chance to score maximum points this weekend.

(OTHER PICK) WILLIAM BYRON (9): The stats suggest we should play two drivers from Hendrick Motorsports. Byron has led the most laps, has the best Driver Rating and the best average running position in the Gen-7 car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I do not want all of my chips bet on Hendrick Motorsports, so I had to decide between Kyle Larson and Byron. Both should be good, but Larson has been more consistent at this track so he gets the spot in my lineup.

GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Kyle Larson 2) Christopher Bell 3) William Byron 4) Denny Hamlin 5) Ryan Blaney 6) Kyle Busch 7) Martin Truex Jr. 8) Chase Elliott

 

GROUP B DRIVERS

ROSS CHASTAIN (9): Chastain is off to a hot start in 2024. He was up front in the final laps of the Daytona 500 and he had one of the best cars at Atlanta. Now Chastain gets to race at one of his best tracks. Chastain has the best average finishing position in the Gen-7 car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (5.5). He finished second and third in his two races in 2022 and Chastain finished fifth in the playoffs at Las Vegas last year. Chastain should be the best driver in Group B Sunday.

TYLER REDDICK (9): I have a Chevy (Ross Chastain), so now I need a Toyota in my lineup. I will use Tyler Reddick. He finished sixth, seventh, 15th and eighth in his four races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Gen-7 car. He also won the pole for the fall race at Las Vegas in 2022, so he does have a decent chance to score bonus points for qualifying. Reddick should be a good driver to pair with Chastain in the Pennzoil 400.

ALEX BOWMAN (9): Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the best intermediate track for Bowman. He won the race in Las Vegas using the Gen-7 car in 2022 and he finished third in this race last year. I am not sure what the other manufacturers will have this week, but I know Hendrick Motorsports has a lot of notes to work with. They won three of the four races in Las Vegas using the Gen-7 car. I like pairing Bowman with Kyle Larson or William Byron in your lineups this week.

JOEY LOGANO (9): The Fords were crap on the 1.5-mile tracks last year. They spent a lot of money to ensure the Ford Mustang Dark Horse will have more speed this year. We will not know if their money was well spent until after qualifying Saturday, but if they do have speed, Logano will be one of the best picks in the field. I also want him on my team for qualifying points. Logano qualified on the front row in both races this year and he won the pole at Las Vegas for this race last year. Logano also won at Las Vegas in the Gen-7 in 2022. I faded Ryan Blaney in Group A, so I will play Logano in Group B so I have a piece of Team Penske in my lineup.

(OTHER PICK) BUBBA WALLACE (9): Wallace is at his best on the 1.5-mile tracks. He finished five of the six races on the 1.5-mile tracks in the top-six last year. He qualified 13th, scored eight Stage Points and finished fourth in this race last year. Wallace is a good driver to take a chance with if you want to save one of the drivers listed above.

GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Ross Chastain 2) Tyler Reddick 3) Joey Logano 4) Alex Bowman 5) Bubba Wallace 6) Brad Keselowski 7) Chris Buescher 8) Ty Gibbs 9) Daniel Suarez 10) Michael McDowell

 

GROUP C DRIVERS

COREY LAJOIE (7): LaJoie is the safest pick in Group C Sunday. He finished 20th in the first race at Las Vegas last year and 19th in the second race. Spire Motorsports spent a lot of money over the offseason to ensure their cars have more speed in 2024. So far, LaJoie has looked fast. I will play it safe and use LaJoie until we get more data with these young drivers.

JOHN H. NEMECHEK (9): Nemechek has been at his best on the 1.5-mile tracks in the Xfinity and Truck Series races. Nemecheck finished second and sixth in the Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas last year. He also has a win in the Truck Series at Las Vegas. The choices in Group C stink this year. Nemechek smells just a bit better than the rest of the rotten drivers in this group.

(OTHER CHOICE) ZANE SMITH (9): Smith was really good in the Truck Series on the 1.5-mile tracks. He is racing in the Truck Series Friday night, so maybe that extra seat time will help him in the Cup Series race Sunday. I did not want two drivers from Spire Motorsports in my lineup, so I used John H. Nemechek over Smith, but I would not be surprised if Smith finished in the top-20 at Las Vegas.

GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Corey LaJoie 2) John H. Nemechek 3) Zane Smith 4) Noah Gragson 5) Chase Briscoe

* Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my starting lineup.

 

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Good Luck This Weekend!

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