The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs kicks off this weekend from Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the South Point 400. This will be the second stop at LVMS for the Cup Series teams this year, as we saw Kevin Harvick dominate here in March en route to his second win of the season (at the time). This is also the first time we’ve ever raced at Las Vegas this late in the year. It’s going to be super hot here on Sunday and the track is going to be slick all day. Could this open up the door for someone other than The Big Three to get to victory lane?
Erik Jones got off to the best start on Friday as he won the pole for Sunday’s South Point 400. Joey Logano will join him on the front row and the full starting lineup for the Las Vegas 2 can be found by clicking here. There were then two practice sessions on Saturday, and those speeds can be found here: Practice #2 – Happy Hour. Don’t forget to read our in-depth notes for those practices as well: Practice #2 – Happy Hour.
Final Top 25 Rankings for Las Vegas 2
1. Kevin Harvick – Starts 5th – DraftKings Price: $11,700 – FanDuel Price: $14,200
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
Kevin Harvick dominated the race here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway back in March, and he’s going to be a contender this time around as well. The #4 Ford was fast off the truck and then ended up 14th-fastest in Practice #2 on Saturday with the 4th-best ten-lap average. In Happy Hour, Harvick was 13th and 8th on those two charts, respectively. As far as overall track history here, “Happy” is a two-time winner in Sin City and has finished 7th or better in three of the last four events here. The exception during that span was the 2017 race, when he cut a tire early and drilled the wall. As far as similar track performance in 2018, Harvick has an adjusted average finish of 2.2 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season and an adjusted average driver rating of 135. Both of those are series-best. If you’re going against Kevin Harvick in Fantasy NASCAR this weekend, you’re either throwing a hail mary or haven’t been paying attention this year. Either way: good luck.
2. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 10th – DraftKings Price: $9,900 – FanDuel Price: $13,000
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
Ever since news broke that Martin Truex, Jr. won’t have a ride at Furniture Row Racing next year, I’ve been pretty concerned about where this #78 team’s heads are at and how they’ll finish out the year. And my concern grew a little bit here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday when Truex qualified 10th for Sunday’s South Point 400. With that being said, Martin is more than comfortable making up ground during the race at these 1.5-mile tracks, as his adjusted average starting position on them in 2018 is 11.3 while his adjusted average finish is 3rd. Additionally, Truex was insanely fast in Practice #2 on Saturday morning. The #78 team actually used just one set of scuffed tires in that practice, and although Truex was only 16th-fastest on the overall speed chart, he had the 3rd-best ten-lap average. That’s not normal. In Happy Hour, when the team had two sets of sticker tires to work with, the #78 Toyota ranked 14thand 3rd on those two charts, respectively. Martin Truex, Jr. should be his “normal self” here on Sunday and challenge for the race win. He’s finished 4th or better in three of the last four Las Vegas races, including a win in 2017.
3. Erik Jones – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $8,700 – FanDuel Price: $10,400
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
Erik Jones is one of the hottest drivers in the garage right now, and he started the Playoffs off with a bang this weekend by winning the pole for the South Point 400. With his 2nd-place finish at Indianapolis last weekend, he now has four top 5s in the last six Cup Series races overall and has also finished 8th or better in nine of the last eleven. And after the checkered flag waves this weekend, he should make it ten of the last twelve. Erik Jones has been extremely consistent on the 1.5-mile tracks in 2018, posting an average finish of 8.9 on them, which is tied with Joey Logano for 4th-best in the series. As far as Las Vegas Motor Speedway goes, Erik finished 15th here with Furniture Row Racing in 2017 and then came home 8th in the first race here this season with Joe Gibbs Racing. As far as this weekend goes, the #20 Toyota was 6th-fastest in Practice #2 with the 2nd-best ten-lap average and then fastest in Happy Hour with the best ten-lap average as well. He should challenge for a top 5 finish on Sunday.