The last race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the kickoff to the Round of Eight in the playoffs last year. Most of the race was uneventful. The first 250 only had one caution for debris. Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman had the best cars and led 200 of the 263 laps. Jimmie Johnson had a tire go down with 26 laps in the race. Most of the leaders pitted for tires and Kurt Busch stayed out to gain track position. The No. 1 car was able to hold off the cars with the fresh Goodyear’s and the strategy sent Busch to Victory Lane at his home track.
Race Rewind Las Vegas: South Point 400 (2020)
– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race included: Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jonesand and Kevin Harvick
Stage / Race Results
|Stage 1||Stage 2||
|1. Denny Hamlin||1. Chase Elliott||1. Kurt Busch|
|2. Joey Logano||2. Denny Hamlin||2. Matt DiBenedetto|
|3. Kyle Busch||3. Alex Bowman||3. Denny Hamlin|
|4. Chase Elliott||4. Martin Truex Jr.||4. Martin Truex Jr.|
|5. Kevin Harvick||5. Ryan Blaney||5. Alex Bowman|
|6. Austin Dillon||6. Austin Dillon||6. Kyle Busch|
|7. Ryan Blaney||7. Kevin Harvick||7. Ryan Blaney|
|8. Alex Bowman||8. Matt DiBenedetto||8. Erik Jones|
|9. Martin Truex Jr.||9. Clint Bowyer||9. Chris Buescher|
|10. Clint Bowyer||10. William Byron||10. Kevin Harvick|
– Martin Truex Jr. has been great on the 1.5-mile tracks but last year he was just “good”. Truex did not win any of the intermediate track races and he finished in the top-five in only 5 of the 16 races. He had a decent race at Las Vegas last September though. Truex started 11th. He finished 9th in Stage 1, 4th in Stage 2, did not lead any laps and finished 4th in the race. His average finishing position in his last 9 races at Las Vegas is 6th. That is pretty reliable.
– Kyle Busch had a fast car at his home track last year. The No. 18 car started 2nd and ran the first Stage in the top 5. Busch finished 3rd in Stage 1 but the team had problems in the pits at the end of the Stage. The pit-gun broke on pit stop and caused Busch to restart at the back of the field. It took him a while to make it back to the front. Busch finished 6th in the race. It would have been a lot better without the pit road problems. Busch is always better when he has some practice. He will get it this week since he is competing in the Truck Series race Friday night.
– Denny Hamlin had the best car in the race. Hamlin started 10th and immediately went to the front. Hamlin won Stage 1, finished 2nd in Stage 2, led a race-high 121 laps and had an average running position of 3.79 (best in the race). The No. 11 car was fast because it was able to run the top of the track and allow Hamlin to maintain his momentum. He would have won the race without some untimely cautions at the end of the race.
– Christopher Bell did not have a very good race at Las Vegas last year. He started 26th, did not score any Stage points, had a 17.62 average running position (19th best) and finished 24th. Bell had a 16.2 average finishing position on the 1.5-mile tracks last year. Bell looked horrible in the last race a Homestead so it is hard to get excited about him Sunday.
– Brad Keselowski has a history of running well at Las Vegas. His 5.29 average finishing position in the last 7 races at Las Vegas is the best in the series. His race last September was his worst race at the track since 2012. Keselowski started 12th, did not score any Stage points, but did lead 2 laps. Keselowski finished 13th in the race. He had a streak of 10 consecutive finishes in the top 7 at Las Vegas, including three trips to Victory Lane.
– Joey Logano had an almost identical race as his teammate (Brad Keselowski) at Las Vegas last year. Logano entered the race with 9 consecutive top-10 finishes at Las Vegas, including 2 trips to Victory Lane. Logano started 5th and finished 2nd in Stage 1. Logano was battling Kyle Busch for the lead to start Stage 2 and Busch got loose and slammed into the side of the No. 22. It caused Logano to get a flat tire. He came into the pits and went a lap down. Logano rebounded to finish 14th. He would have easily finished in the top 10 without the tire issues.
– Ryan Blaney was really good on the intermediate tracks last year. He led the series in average running position and was second only to Kevin Hrvick in average finishing position and laps led. He had another good race at Las Vegas last September. Blaney started 15th, finished 7th in Stage 1, 5th in Stage 2, led 1 lap, had a 8.12 average running position (5th best) and finished 7th. Blaney is in a big-time slump so maybe a trip to the west coast will help him out.
– Matt DiBenedetto had one of his best races of the 2020 season at Las Vegas. The No. 21 car started 19th and DiBenedetto spent most of the race running around the 10th position. He had an 8.43 average running position (6th best), finished 8th in Stage 2, led 8 laps and finished 2nd. His team used the same pit strategy as the race winner (Kurt Busch) to pick up track position at the end of the race. DiBenedetto finished both races at Las Vegas last year as the runner up.
– Kevin Harvick had one of the most dominant cars on the 1.5-mile tracks for most of the season last year, but he had some issues at the tracks in the playoffs. Harvick finished 10th at Las Vegas, 16th at Texas, but was able to finish 2nd at Kansas. Despite his 10th place finish in Sin City last year, he is still very consistent at this track. Harvick has led the most laps and scored the most Stage points in the last 6 races at Las Vegas. He should be fast again Sunday.
– Chase Briscoe did not compete in the Cup Series race at Las Vegas last year but he did win both of the Xfinity Series at the track in 2020. Briscoe will be driving the No. 14 car this week. Clint Bowyer finished 10th in Stage 1, 9th in Stage 2 and finished 12th in the race in this car last September. Briscoe should have a good chance for a top 20 finish this week.
– Aric Almirola was not very good at Las Vegas last year. He finished 21st in March and 17th in September. His average finishing position at the intermediate tracks in the playoff last year was 18th. Almirola has a 12.3 average finishing position at Las Vegas since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He should finish just outside the top 15 again this week.
– Cole Custer entered the races at Las Vegas last year with more experience than he had at other tracks. Custer competed in the Cup Series race at Las Vegas in 2018, but only finished 25th. Last year he finished 19th in the spring and 16th in the fall. Custer had a 16.52 average running position in the race (16th best). Custer should be much better Sunday then he was last year.
– Chase Elliott had one of the fastest cars but nothing to show for it at Las Vegas last year. Elliott started 3rd, finished 4th in Stage 1, won Stage 2 and led 73 laps (second-most in the race). Elliott was caught up in an accident with 5 laps to go. He had a 4.36 average running position despite his 22nd-place finish. Elliott also had the best car in the spring. He led 70 laps, won both Stages but finished 26th. He just needs better luck in Sin City.
– Kyle Larson is always good at Las Vegas. The track ranks as his best 1.5-mile track. Larson has a 6th-place average finishing position in the last 6 races at Las Vegas. He did not compete in the fall race but Larson started 6th, finished 7th in Stage 1, 8th in Stage 2 and 9th in the race in the spring.
– William Byron has not had any luck in Las Vegas. This track ranks as his second-worst. Byron finished 22nd in the spring race and he did not improve in the fall. Byron started 28th and finished 25th. He has only finished in the top 10 in one of his 6 races at the track. He will have some momentum though after his win at Homestead.
– Alex Bowman had a fast car at Las Vegas last year. Bowman started 8th, finished 8th in Stage 1, 3rd in Stage 2, led 5 laps and finished 5th in the race. His 5.5 average running position was 3rd-best in the race. Bowman has an 8th-place average finishing position at Las Vegas over the last two seasons. He will have some momentum after his top-10 finish at Homestead.
– Kurt Busch was dealt Black Jack in Las Vegas last year. He started 9th, did not score any Stage points but the No. 1 team decided to stay out on old tires to gain track position and it paid off. Busch was able to go to Victory Lane for the first time at his home track. Despite the win, Las Vegas still ranks as his worst 1.5-mile track. Busch finished 25th, 39th, 5th, 21st, 35th and 30th in his previous 6 races in Sin City.
– Ross Chastain did not compete in the fall race at Las Vegas but he did drive the No. 6 car for Ryan Newman at the track in the spring. It was not a very good race for Chastain. He started 15th, finished 10th in Stage 1 and then fell back in the field. Chastain fought a loose racecar and finished 27th in the race. He will be driving the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing this week. Matt Kenseth finished 18th in this car at Las Vegas last September. I would expect similar results from Chastain Sunday.
– Ryan Newman had a better race for Fantasy NASCAR teams then he did for his Cup Series team. Newman started 27th and finished 15th. His 12 place differential points made Newman a good pick. Las Vegas ranks as his best 1.5-mile track so he should have some fantasy value if he starts outside the top 20. He will have some momentum too after his 7th-place finish at Homestead.
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a really good race in the spring at Las Vegas. Stenhouse started 26th and finished 3rd. He did not have the same luck in September. Stenhouse started 33rd, had a 22.98 average running position (25th best) hit the wall on lap 251 and finished 23rd. That is just how Stenhouse races. He either finishes up front or crashes out.
– Chris Buescher had a pair of good races at Las Vegas last year. He started 23rd and finished 14th in the spring. Buescher was even better in the fall. The No. 17 car started 16th, had a 17.98 average running position (19th best) and finished 9th. He should be a good fantasy pick if he does not start too high in the field.
– Austin Dillon ran really well at Las Vegas in the spring and he was fast in September but had nothing to show for it. Dillon started 21st and finished 4th in the spring. He started 7th in the fall, finished 6th in both Stages but was caught up in the accident on lap 251 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dillon finished 32nd. He should bounce back this week.
– Tyler Reddick had a decent race in the spring and no luck in the fall. Reddick started 25th and finished 18th in the spring. The No. 8 car started 14th and Reddick was running just outside the top 15 when he had a tire go down forcing Reddick to hit the wall. He finished the race in 38th place.
– Erik Jones had a decent race at Las Vegas last September. He started 13th and did not score any Stage points or lead any laps. Jones had a 14.8 average running position (14th best) and finished 8th. His top-10 finish was a result of pit strategy and not a fast car. Las Vegas ranks as his 21st best track out of the 25 tracks on the schedule.
– Bubba Wallace ran really well in the spring at Las Vegas but he struggle in the fall. Wallace started 27th and finished 6th in the spring (his top-10 finish was the result of pit strategy). He started 23rd in the fall. Wallace did not score any Stage points or lead any laps. He finished 28th in the race.
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