Shelby American Preview and Pick to Win

Race: Shelby American
Date:Sunday February 28th, 2010
Track:Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Time:3 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom of

This week, we are headed to one of my favorite tracks. That may be because I’ve been lucky enough to drive this one, but Las Vegas also boasts a great race for the fans. With the excitement of Sin City in the air, drivers and fans alike share in the excitement of the Shelby American this weekend.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the smallest track we’ve raced on so far this year. It’s still nothing to sneeze at though. Considered an intermediate track, this 1.5 mile D-shaped oval still gives the drivers plenty of speed as they head around 20 degree banking in the turns and 9 degree banking on the stretches. The frontstretch is 2275 feet with the backstretch boasting 1572 feet. With those stats, there is plenty of room to get into those turns at some pretty high speeds. Personally, I know it’s pretty easy to get to 160 or 165 around the place, although I’m a little chicken, so those guys are going to blow past that speed.


There are a few drivers here who seem to know how to get around the track pretty well. Among those, my pick and the winner of last week’s race at Fontana, is Jimmie Johnson. He is a 3-time winner here with teammate Jeff Gordon also holding a win from way back in 2001. Carl Edwards consistently does well at this track as well. Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch are two others who favor this place.

So far this year, we have Kevin Harvick as our points leader. That’s a heck of a turnaround from where Kevin was last year. He struggled for a good majority of the season, but this year it seems like something is clicking for him. In fact, Childress and Roush teams seem to be performing considerably better than they have been for a long time.

If those guys can keep it up, there’s going to be quite a battle this weekend. Among the top 10, I think that we are going to see strong runs from Harvick, Kyle Busch, Johnson, Gordon, and even Biffle, who I think is underrated.

To pick a winner is a daunting task to me this week. There are no dominating drivers or standout teams at this point. It’s like everyone is running at the top of their game. Even drivers like McMurray and Truex seem to be showing some strength that they haven’t had in quite some time. Being that it’s only the 3rd points race of the season, it’s still a bit of a crapshoot, but based on logic so far this season, I’m going with Harvick. He’s extremely hungry for a win and has had some awesome cars in Fontana and Daytona. This is still a pretty big track too, which Harvick usually does pretty well on. He’s been edged out by Johnson twice now, once last weekend and once during the duels, and I think we’re in for a similar showdown. He’s proven that he’s got what it takes and is willing to take the risks, obviously by bumping the wall last weekend with only a couple of laps to go.

This race is going to prove to be a more indicative time for who’s the strongest and who’s just getting lucky so far. By all intense purposes, however, I think that there are a lot of good teams and drivers this year. The Chase should be a pretty good mix of the entire field instead of just the typical huge teams I think. Stay tuned this weekend as we head to Sin City for a spectacular show!

Virginia’s Pick to Win: Kevin Harvick