Thursday, March 5, 2015

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Rolling the Dice at Las Vegas

Track Classification: Intermediate
Similar Tracks: Atlanta Motor Speedway • Charlotte Motor Speedway • Chicagoland Speedway 
Darlington Raceway • Homestead-Miami Speedway • Kansas Speedway • Kentucky Speedway 
New Hampshire Motor Speedway • Texas Motor Speedway
Distance: 1.5 Miles

Drivers with Most Top 10s:
By Race
All with 4 - Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.  
All with 3 - Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman

By Track
Both with 4 - Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
All with 3 - Jimmie Johnson, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman 

Recent Pole Winners:
2014 Joey Logano
2013 Rained Out
2012 Kasey Kahne

The 2013 Flash Back
If you have been following my column you know I'm weighing my fantasy picks more towards 2013 statistics than 2014. Last week's race at Atlanta supported my belief that this year's rules package favors drivers who did not perform up to par last year simply because las year's car wasn't squirrelly enough. And look who won last week's race - good 'ole Six-Time, Jimmie Johnson.

2013 Top-15 Finishers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sunday, March 10, 2013:
  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Kasey Kahne           
  3. Brad Keselowski           
  4. Kyle Busch           
  5. Carl Edwards           
  6. Jimmie Johnson           
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.           
  8. Martin Truex Jr.           
  9. Kevin Harvick           
  10. Paul Menard                         
  11. Tony Stewart           
  12. Joey Logano           
  13. Jamie McMurray           
  14. Denny Hamlin           
  15. Aric Almirola           

The Likely Suspects: Here we are in week three of the season and the level of competition is so high you'd think we're going into the Chase. We've seen a couple very familiar faces in Victory Lane, and some others running with renewed energy. I have been particularly impressed with drivers such as Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Casey Mears and Aric Almirola.

I expect Kahne, Newman and Menard to continue their good runs this week along with the following drivers: Johnson, Edwards, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth and Harvick.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Jimmie Johnson followed by Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne. My next choices are Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr. I will round out my team with David Ragan and Regan Smith.

I will factor in qualifying and practices, however, I'm pondering this group as my final four:
Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan.

And here are a couple of interesting statistics to make you think:

Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson has done it twice (2007, 2010) and Tony Stewart (2012).

Three drivers have won at Las Vegas and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010).

Hmm. Enjoy the race. Post your comments here, or email me at