Race: Kobalt 400 Preview and Picks to Win the Race
Date: Sunday March 6, 2016
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Time: 3:30 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
It was very evident from Dale Jr.s interview that he was a fan of the downforce package that we saw this past weekend at Atlanta. Despite not being able to pull off the win, Jr. was a very strong contender and edged out Kyle Busch for 2nd after the leader Jimmie Johnson took the win. As predicted, Johnson took advantage of this package and his experience on 1.5 mile tracks to tie Dale Sr. in wins. What an accomplishment for Johnson! Overall, the racing was very good, despite a majority of the field being a lap or more down. There was a good amount of passing and drivers really pushing each other throughout much of the race. Tires played a significant role here as well.
This weekend, the drivers move on to none other than Las Vegas. This is another intermediate track. Its a 1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval. The turns are variable with anywhere between 12 and 20 degree banking, giving drivers great speed coming off the corners. The frontstretch is nothing to sneeze at with 2275 feet. The backstretch is 1572 feet. The track was reconfigured in 2006, increasing the banking in the turns. That was pretty evident when I had the privilege of driving on the track for a Richard Petty Driving Experience. Its pretty incredible what 20 degrees of banking actually means. I dont think you actually understand until you are going into a corner at 150+ mph in a NASCAR stock car (and thats just because I was too sissy to go faster!). Regardless, the banking and the lengths of the straights give drivers the opportunity to stay on the throttle through much of this race.
Coming into this race, it was very evident how much of a storyline tires were at Atlanta. Thats not so much the storyline at this track. The surface at Atlanta is like the 2nd oldest surface on the current NASCAR tracks. That makes it pretty easy to see what it eats tires. At Las Vegas, we typically see fuel mileage play a huge role in the winner here. This is a strategy track when it comes to maintaining track position. Drivers are easily lapped as the leader tends to pull away from the remainder of the field. The package that they run will play a large role. The downforce package that we saw at Atlanta seemed to keep the field more together than it has in years past. Well see if anything like that happens this weekend, although I believe that we are running about the same packages as last year, thus giving us the same results.
When it comes to picking winners here, we have to consider our intermediate superstars. Those guys are of course Jimmie Johnson (who just so happens to have the most wins at this track), Kevin Harvick, the Penske teams, and Kyle Busch. There are several other drivers who are also very good options, but those few drivers seem to be the meat and potatoes of short track winners. Overall, I really believe that although Johnson is coming off a win at Atlanta that Kyle Busch is going to win this weekend at his home track. I have a feeling that hes due for this one and hes on fire when it comes to everything he went through last year just to get to this point. Hes our reigning champion and had an awesome weekend at Atlanta. Hes going to be the one to beat. Lets take a look at your potential winner for Sundays race:
My Pick to Win: Kyle Busch
Middle of the Road Pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse Prediction: Chase Elliot. Bet your picks using your credit card at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted betting site: Bovada Sportsbook!
Chase Elliot impressed me at Atlanta. To come from Daytona, which is essentially a crap-shoot race, and have a top-ten finish at his first true race as a Sprint Cup competitor says a lot. I mean, Danica hasnt managed that one quite yet and shes been in the series now for years. Theres talent there. I think that hes got something to prove and has the capability to do it. Martin Truex Jr. seemed awfully disappointed in his run last weekend when he, in fact, had nothing to be disappointed about whatsoever. Hes putting a lot of weight and expectation on his own shoulders. I think that he wants to prove how good he is to the rest of us. Hes making strides, and this weekend will give him an opportunity to really push for the win. Overall, Kyle Busch is going to be a hard one to beat, though. He wants to win at his home track and actually has the best average finish here. All he needs is to get out front and stay there. As far as the points are concerned, hes doing a great job of that already!
Here are your current top 16 after last week’s race:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Martin Truex Jr.
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Carl Edwards
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Kurt Busch
8. Joey Logano
9. Austin Dillon
10. Aric Almirola
11. Brad Keselowski
12. Matt Kenseth
13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
14. Kyle Larson
15. Ryan Newman
16. Kasey Kahne
The standings as of right now arent very telling. It generally takes a few more weeks for things to really average out and reflect the true quality of the teams. This weekend will start to provide a little bit of information as to the teams that have really mastered these intermediate tracks and set their cars up appropriately this year. It will also give us some insight into the teams working well together with some of these crew chief and team change-ups. Las Vegas is very much a strategy track that requires a lot of communication. Stay tuned for an awesome race this Sunday as we head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway! Boost your bankroll and make some FREE Nascar bets with a fat 100% bonus offered at Realbet!