Martin Truex Jr. – Martin Truex Jr. is an elite performer at Las Vegas who’ll be a favorite. He’s a recent winner and who’s arguably been the best over the last five races. Since 2015 (last five races) he has the best driver rating, a 4.2 average finish (second best), a 5.6 average running position (tied for the second best) and has led 255 laps (second most). In 4 of those 5 races he finished in the top 4. In 2018, Truex Jr. had a phenomenal year at Las Vegas and swept the top 4. Last fall he had a strong performance. He earned the best driver rating, had the best average running position (3rd), led a race high 85 laps, won Stage #1, finished 3rd in Stage #2, and then finished 3rd when the checkered flag waved. Last spring, Truex Jr. had a great car. He finished 4th, earned the 4th best driver rating and had a 5th place average running position. Additionally, he finished 2nd in Stage #1 and 7th in Stage #2. In 2017, Truex Jr. was exceptionally strong and raced his way to victory lane. In addition to winning he won Stage #1, won Stage #2, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led a race high 150 laps. I will note that if Brad Keselowski didn’t have some type of power issue in the closing laps he would’ve finished 2nd. At Las Vegas I would look for Truex Jr. to finish in the top five and compete for the win.

Ryan Blaney – Ryan Blaney has thrived at Las Vegas and once again he should prove to be a factor. At Las Vegas he’s performed at a very high-level and over the last four races he’s finished between 5th to 7th. Also over that four race stretch he has a 5.8 average finish, a 7.0 average running position and the 5th best driver rating. In 2018 he was very consistent at Las Vegas and finished 5th both events. Last fall, he had a strong showing. He finished 5th, earned the 7th best driver rating and had a 9th place average running position. It was overall a very solid showing. Last spring at Las Vegas he had a good performance. He started on the pole (only led the first lap), finished 5th, had a 3rd place average running position and earned the 3rd best driver rating. Additionally, he finished 4th in Stage #1 and 2nd in Stage #2. In 2017, he was a consistent front runner. He finished 3rd in Stage #1, 6th in Stage #2, and finished 7th when the checkered flag waved. In 2016, Ryan Blaney had a strong performance and ran well throughout the event. When the checkered flag waved he finished 6th, earned the 7th best driver rating and had an 8th place average running position. At Las Vegas I would look for Blaney to be a top five contender.

Brad Keselowski – Brad Keselowski should prominently be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at Las Vegas. He’s the most recent winner and time after time he’s performed at a super-elite level. At Las Vegas since 2013 (last 7 races) he has 3 wins, he’s finished in the top 7 every race, has a 3.4 average finish and a 5.7 average running position. Last fall in the Las Vegas playoff debut he had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. Also in the race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, led the 2nd most laps (75) and won Stage #2. When it was “closing time” he wasn’t going to be deterred. Last spring he also ran well. He finished 6th, had a 6th place average running position and earned the 7th best driver rating. Additionally, he finished 6th in both Stage #1 and Stage #2. In 2017, he had a great car and should’ve won. In that race he developed electrical issues late and was then 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. In 2016, Keselowski had a great car and raced his way to victory lane. He earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 24 laps. In the three races prior to that he had results of 7th, 1st and 3rd. At Las Vegas I would look for Keselowski to finish in the top five and compete for the win.

Joey Logano – Joey Logano will be a favorite at Las Vegas. He’s never won here, but he’s performed at a exceptionally high-level on a consistent basis. At Las Vegas over the last six races he’s finished in the top ten every race, has a 5.2 average finish, a 6.2 average running position, the 3rd best driver rating and he’s led in every race to the tune of 39.8 laps per race. Last fall at Las Vegas he was fast. He finished 4th, earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position, led 46 laps, finished 7th in Stage #1 and 6th in Stage #2. When it was “Closing time” in the race he was at his best. Last spring, he had a solid showing. He finished 7th, had a 6th place average running position, earned the 6th best driver rating and led 25 laps. Additionally, he finished 5th in Stage #1 and 4th in Stage #2. In 2017, he finished 4th, earned the 5th best driver rating and had a 7th place average running position. In 2016 he had a great car and a solid case could be made that it was the best. In the race he earned the best driver rating, finished 2nd, had a 3rd place average running position and led 74 laps. Over long runs his car was very fast. At Las Vegas I would look for Logano to compete for a top five.

Paul Menard – Paul Menard is a quality dark horse option at Las Vegas. Among drivers of his tier he’s been a standout performer at Las Vegas. It’s been a very solid track for him and since 2011 he’s only once finished outside the top fifteen. Over the last five Las Vegas races his 13.0 average finish ranks as the 8th best. Last year at Las Vegas he had a great car and was one of eight drivers who swept the top ten. Last fall, he finished 10th but don’t overlook his 20th place average running position. Until the end he really never got that close to the front. With 25 laps to go he was back in 19th. Late cautions and mayhem really helped him. Last spring in the #21 car he was solid. He finished 9th, earned the 9th best driver rating and had a 10th place average running position. Additionally, he finished 10th in both Stage #1 and Stage #2. In 2017 he didn’t run well. He finished 19th and had a 19th place average running position. In the six races prior to that he was pretty good having a 9.8 average finish, a 12.7 average running position and the 11th best driver rating. At Las Vegas I would view Menard as a mid-teens driver who might just sneak in a top ten.

Kyle Larson – Kyle Larson will be a contender at Las Vegas. He’s been extremely competitive and in 4 of the last 5 races he’s finished in the top ten. Over the last three races he’s finished in the top 3. Over this three race stretch he has a series best 2.3 average finish and a misleading 6.3 average running position. Last fall, Larson was impressive and finished 2nd, despite his race not being incident free. In the event on lap 70 while he was running in 4th he had a flat tire and made an unexpected pit stop which dropped him a lap down to 26th. Once he got back on the lead lap he bounced back pretty easily. Last spring at Las Vegas, Larson had a great car. He finished 3rd, earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position and finished 3rd in both Stage #1 and Stage #2. In 2017, Larson had a stellar car. When the checkered flag waved he finished 2nd, earned the 4th best driver rating and had a 5th place average running position. Additionally, he finished 2nd in Stage #1 and 3rd in Stage #2. In 2016 he had all sorts of problems and finished 34th. In 2015 he finished 8th, had an 8th place average running position and earned the 8th best driver rating. At Las Vegas I would look for Larson to compete for a top five and be a factor to win.

Ryan Newman – Ryan Newman was successful at Las Vegas in the #31, but in the #6 I think you need to temper expectations. Realistically I would view him as a mid to high-teens driver and then if he finishes better than that you should consider yourself lucky. The #6 car just isn’t as competitive as his previous ride. At Atlanta in his new ride …….  At Las Vegas in 5 of the last 6 races Newman has finished in the top 13. Last year he had a great season and finished in the top 11 both events. Last fall he had a solid showing. He finished 9th, had a 12th place average running position and earned the 11th best driver rating. In spring 2018 he finished 11th. Realistically I thought he was likely more about 15th place good, but some attrition helped him. In 2017 he finished 17th, but don’t overlook his 12th best driver rating and 13th place average running position. In 2016 he was a solid low double digit performer. In the race he finished 13th, had a 14th place average running position and earned the 15th best driver rating. In 2015 he ran very well and came home with a strong 3rd place effort. Performance wise he was 6th to 8th place good but late in the event he used some pit strategy. In 2014 he finished 7th.

Jimmie Johnson – Las Vegas has been a good track for Jimmie Johnson. He’s performed well here and since 2012 in incident free races he’s finished in the top 12 every race. In 2018, Johnson performed well in both races despite what his results show. Last fall when Las Vegas made its playoff debut he had a solid performance but finished a misleading 22nd. Problem struck him late which doomed him to his poor finish. With 11 laps to go his car was smoking because of a tire issue which caused him to make a late unexpected pit stop. With 25 laps to go before numerous late cautions came out he was running in 5th. From the race it should be noted he finished 4th in Stage #2 and had a 12th place average running position. In spring 2018, Johnson started in the rear of the field and raced his way up to a 12th place finish. It wasn’t pretty, considering he went a lap down early, but he grinded out this good result. In 2017, he ran well. He finished 11th, but he was slightly better than his result. Chad Knaus not adapting to the Stage rules hurt him. In the race Johnson finished 7th in Stage #1, 10th in Stage #2 and earned the 8th best driver rating. In 2016 Johnson had a great car and was a serious threat to win. He led the most laps (76), earned the 2nd best driver rating, finished 3rd and had a 3rd place average running position. If it wasn’t for late pit strategy he was likely poised to be the winner. At Las Vegas I would look for Johnson to compete for a top ten.

Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch will be tough to beat at Las Vegas. It’s his home track and he’s performed at a high-level. Since 2013 minus 2017 when he spun at the end while running in the top five he has a 5.6 average finish and a 7.6 average running position. Last fall at Las Vegas he finished 7th and earned the 8th best driver rating. I will note it wasn’t that great of a race for him. With 35 laps to go while he was running around 18th he spun into the grass. Then with ten laps to go he was in 13th. Last spring he was much more competitive which made his fall race head scratching. When the race reached its conclusion he finished 2nd, earned the 5th best driver rating and had a 7th place average running position. Additionally, he finished 9th in Stage #1 and 5th in Stage #2. In 2017 he had a very competitive car but finished 22nd after getting spun from 4th on the final lap. Him running that well was extremely impressive when you take into account around lap 125 while running in 5th place he was caught speeding on pit road which dropped him a lap down. In 2016, Kyle Busch had a great car and challenged for the win. When the race reached its conclusion he finished 4th, earned the 6th best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 38 laps. It should be noted while he was leading with 13 laps to go he started to complain about having a vibration. At Las Vegas I would look for Busch to finish in the top five and compete for the win.

Denny Hamlin – Denny Hamlin has had a tough time in recent Las Vegas races. In 3 of the last 4 he’s finished 17th or worse. That should give him some out of sync potential and scare people away. On Sunday I think he has a great chance to finish in the top ten. Last fall, Hamlin was a low-double digits driver but finished an asterisk mark 32nd. With 21 laps to go while he was running in 13th he spun into the grass and destroyed the front of his car which marked the end of his race. If his race would’ve been incident free I think its clear he was low-double digits good. Last spring at Las Vegas he finished 17th. I’ll note he wasn’t as bad as his result. On lap 124 while he was running in 10th he was caught speeding on pit road and the drive through penalty dropped him a lap down to 16th. Also late in the race he used some pit strategy that didn’t work well for him. In the race he earned the 11th best driver rating and had the 14th place average running position. In 2017, Hamlin had a solid showing. He finished 6th and earned the 11th best driver rating.