Martin Truex Jr. – Martin Truex Jr. is the defending champion at Las Vegas and he’ll be the favorite to win on Sunday. Las Vegas has been a great track for him, when you pair that with his 1.5 mile track dominance from last season there’s no doubt he’ll be tough to beat. Last year over the 11 combined races at 1.5 mile tracks he had 7 wins, a 2.5 average finish and a 4.5 average running position. At Las Vegas, Truex Jr. has been strong. Over the last five Las Vegas races he has the 3rd best driver rating, a 7.2 average finish and a 6.8 average running position. In 2017, Truex Jr. was exceptionally strong and raced his way to victory lane. In addition to winning he won Stage #1, Stage #2, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led a race high 150 laps. I will note however that if Brad Keselowski didn’t have some type of power issue in the closing laps which allowed Truex Jr. to get the lead he wouldn’t have won. In 2016 he was a solid low-double digits performer. In the race he finished 11th, earned the 11th best driver rating and had a 12th place average running position. His crew chief was suspended for the event so that probably had an impact. In 2015 Truex Jr. had a great car and was a consistent front runner. He finished 2nd, earned the 3rd best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position. At Atlanta Truex Jr. started in the rear of the field and finished 5th. On Sunday look for Truex to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick is a recent Las Vegas winner who should be on your short list of favorites. He runs extremely well here and there’s no reason to think that shouldn’t be the case again. At Las Vegas since 2012 in incident free races he has a 7.0 average finish and a 5.8 average running position. Last year he had a really good car but finished 38th. In the race he started in 19th but had no trouble advancing thru the field. Everything was going well for him until lap 68 when he had a flat tire and shot into the wall while running in 6th. If his race would’ve been incident free I think he might’ve been a factor to win. In 2016 Harvick was “under the weather” all weekend but had a solid afternoon. In the race he earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position and finished 7th. In 2015 Harvick started in 18th and raced his way to victory lane. When the checkered flag waved Harvick finished 1st, earned the best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led a race high 142 laps. In 2014 during his first season driving the #4 he looked top five good but with 73 laps to go he took his car to the garage area because of brake rotor issues. Last year at 1.5 mile tracks Harvick scored the 2nd most points, had a 6.4 average running position, an 8.2 average running position and only once finished outside the top ten. At Atlanta Harvick put on a display of domination racing his way to victory lane and leading 173 laps.
Brad Keselowski – Brad Keselowski will be a contender to win at Las Vegas. He’s a two-time winner who’s performed at a super-elite level. Over the last five Las Vegas races he has two wins, the best driver rating, a 3.4 average finish and a 5.6 average running position. Last year at Las Vegas he was primed to get another win but in the closing laps he developed electrical issues and was passed while leading with 2 laps to go. When the checkered flag waved he finished 5th, had a 2nd place average running position, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 89 laps. Additionally he finished 3rd in Stage #1 and 2nd in Stage #2. If he didn’t have that problem he clearly was going to win. In 2016 Keselowski had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. Additionally in the race he earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 24 laps. His strength in the race was being good over long runs. In 2015 he had a good race. He earned the 6th best driver rating, finished 7th, had a 10th place average running position and led 9 laps. Also in the race it should be noted he overcame a pit penalty for having an uncontrolled tire. In 2014 Keselowski got his first Las Vegas win by passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he stumbled on fuel late.