Race #4 of 2021 is coming on up and on Sunday, NASCAR will be racing at Las Vegas! Are you ready to roll the dice? First, make sure you know the facts to make educated decisions, and this post along with all the other content on ifantasyrace.com should have you prepared to take on the competition.
Las Vegas is a relatively smooth 1.5 mile track. Tire wear is increasing, but by no means is tire fall off dramatic like Homestead. Personally, I wouldn’t overreact to anything that happened last week. Early season races can be notorious for creating misleading results. For example, last spring at Las Vegas all the JGR cars finished 15th or worse, and they turned out to be just fine in 2020.
This year at ifantasyrace.com we’re committed to writing about the full field every week. In previous weeks, “Super Low-Tier” drivers were in this post. Now they have their own separate post, so check it out! Super Low Tier – Las Vegas.
Here’s the Starting Lineup For Las Vegas. The average starting position of a winner at Las Vegas over the last five races is 12.2.
Final Top 25 Rankings For Las Vegas (and content on all other notables)
1) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 4th)
Las Vegas Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. is a two-time winner at Las Vegas who’ll be tough to beat. At Las Vegas, he’s consistently performed at an elite level and since 2017 minus last spring (one of the best cars but had a misleading result), Truex has a 3.5 average finish, a 6.0 average running position and he’s averaged leading 47.3 laps per race. In 2020 intermediate tracks where tire wear is low to minimal, Truex was one of the best and over the last six races (Kansas #1 until the conclusion of the season) he had five results between 2nd to 4th and a series best 4.0 average finish. Last week at Homestead, Truex finished 3rd and had the 3rd best Total Speed Ranking. On Sunday, look for Truex to be a contender to win.
Las Vegas Track History – Martin Truex Jr. is a strong performer at Las Vegas who ranks among the best. Last fall, Truex had a great performance. In the race he finished 9th in Stage #1, 4th in Stage #2, 4th overall and had a 7.3 average running position. In terms of speed analytics, Truex ranked as the 4th Fastest Driver Late In A Run, had the 5th best Green Flag Average Speed and the 5th best Total Speed Ranking. Last spring Truex finished 20th, but make no mistake he had one of the best cars. In the race he finished 2nd in Stage #1, 3rd in Stage #2 but then in the final Stage trouble happened. Truex won the race off pit road following Stage #2, but then immediately came back to pit road to tighten lug nuts. Then around lap 175 while he was battling his way back to the front he had contact with the wall and then had a tire rub. In fall 2019, Truex reeled in Kevin Harvick late and then raced his way to victory lane. From the race I’ll note he finished 8th in Stage #1, won Stage #2, led 32 laps and ranked as the Fastest Driver late In A Run and had the best Green Flag Average Speed. In spring 2019 when the current aero rules package made it’s debut, he didn’t run nearly as well, but he managed to finish a respectable 8th. In the three Las Vegas races prior to that his results were 3rd, 4th and 1st.
DraftKings $11,100 / FanDuel $13,500
2) Chase Elliott (Starting – 8th)
Las Vegas Fantasy Spin – Chase Elliott will be a contender to win at Las Vegas. He’s performed at an extremely high-level here, and in 2020 “Performance Wise” between the combined events I would argue he was the best performer despite his pair of misleading results. In 2020 at tracks of this length, a strong case could be made that Elliott was the premiere performer in the series. On Sunday, look for Elliott to be a top five contender who’ll likely be in the mix for the win.
Las Vegas Track History – Chase Elliott didn’t have a great 2020 at Las Vegas in terms of results, but “Performance Wise” I think he was the best between the combined events. Last fall, Elliott finished 22nd, but you can completely disregard that result. In the race he finished 4th in Stage #1, won Stage #2, led 73 laps and had a 4.4 average running position. Elliott wasn’t at his best during late restarts and with 37 laps to go before a race changing caution during the pit cycle he was running in 6th. That caution during the pit cycle dropped him back to the high-teens and he just never rebounded. In terms of speed analytics, Elliott had the 2nd best Total Speed Ranking and the 2nd best Green Flag Average Speed. To further break down Elliott’s Total Speed Ranking, he was 1st, 1st, 4th and 7th over the four segments. In spring 2020, Elliott was the class of the field, but finished an asterisk mark 26th. In the race he won the first two Stages, led 70 laps but a late valve stem issue while leading with 47 laps to go relegated him to his poor result. If he didn’t have that problem, it looked like he would run away with the win. In terms of Total Speed Rankings in that event he ranked as the 6th best, and over the four segments he was 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 25th (segment he got into the wall). In 2019 at Las Vegas, Elliott ranked as one of the better performers and between the combined events his average finish was 6.5. In fall 2019, Elliott had a great car. He finished 4th, earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position and finished 5th in Stage #2. Additionally, Elliott had the 4th best Green Flag Average Speed and ranked as the 9th Fastest Driver Late In A Run. In spring 2019, the number you need to know about Elliott is 9. He finished 9th, had a 9th place average running position and earned the 9th best driver rating.
DraftKings $10,600 / FanDuel $12,500
3) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 1st)
Las Vegas Fantasy Spin – Polesitter, Kevin Harvick is an elite performer at Las Vegas who’ll be a favorite. He’s a semi-recent winner (spring 2018) and in 3 of the last 6 races he’s finished in the top 4. Over the last four combined Vegas races, Harvick has the best average finish (6.0), the best average running position (4.9) and he’s averaged leading the 2nd most laps per race (56.8). One attribute I really like about Harvick is his prowess at high-speed intermediate tracks. In 2020 at those venues minus Texas #2 where he collided with the wall in the rain, Harvick won twice, had a 5.1 average finish and had a result in the top 10 every race. In the last three day time races on this track type in 2020 minus Texas #2, Harvick had results of 1st (Michigan #1), 1st (Michigan #2) and 2nd (Kansas #2). The 2nd at Kansas is notable because I view it as the most similar track to Las Vegas. On Sunday, look for Harvick to be a top five contender who’ll be a factor to win.
Las Vegas Track History – Kevin Harvick is a strong performer at Las Vegas who ranks among the best. Last fall, Harvick was solid, but was never a threat despite starting on the pole. In the race, Harvick finished 5th in Stage #1, 7th in Stage #2, had a 9.2 average running position, led zero laps and finished 10th when the checkered flag waved. In terms of speed analytics, Harvick had the 7th best Green Flag Average Speed and the 8th best Total Speed Ranking. In spring 2020, Harvick finished 3rd in Stage #1, 6th in Stage #2, 8th overall, had a 3.4 average running position and led a race high 92 laps. I’ll note, Harvick’s strength was being good over short runs, after about 15 laps he started to fade. In that event his Total Speed Ranking was 3rd. In fall 2019, Harvick had a great car that ranked as one of the best. When the checkered flag waved he finished 2nd, earned the best driver rating, had the best average running position (4th), led 47 laps, finished 2nd in Stage #1 and 4th in Stage #2. Also from the race I’ll note he had the 2nd best Green Flag Average Speed and ranked as the 4th Fastest Late In A Run. In spring 2019, Harvick had a strong showing from the pole. In the race he earned the best driver rating, finished 4th, had a 3rd place average running position and led 88 laps. Additionally, Harvick finished 1st in Stage #1 and 2nd in Stage #2.
DraftKings $9,700 / FanDuel $14,000