Las Vegas, NV – The drama, anxiety and pressure of making the playoffs is over. 16 drivers are in the race for the cup and no one at this point is locked into the next round. For the second year in a row the playoffs begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
When you think about it Las Vegas is a great place to start the playoffs, because there will be some teams that gamble away their chance for the victory, while other teams roll the dice and defy the odds to lock in their spot into the next round.
It is no surprise that the driver with the best driver rating at Las Vegas is Kyle Busch (103.7), and why not Las Vegas is his home track. In 16 races he has one win, seven top five’s and nine top ten’s. Kyle’s win came all the way back in 2009 during the spring race, but this is a much different version of Kyle Busch. He has one championship, 55 cup series wins and seems to have a bit more patients. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the playoffs with a victory.
One driver who may have a say in the talk about a Las Vegas victory is Martin Truex, Jr. Truex has proven this year that it doesn’t matter what team he is with he is a winner. Even though he has the same amount of wins at Vegas as Kyle Busch, he has a slightly higher average finish at 11.5 versus Busch’s 12.3. The biggest advantage for Truex is his domination at mile and a half tracks the last couple of years. If history has anything to do with the outcome Truex started the 2017 playoffs with a victory and went on to win the 2017 championship.
Denny Hamlin has pick the right time of the season to assert his championship authority. Las Vegas isn’t one of his better tracks, but that team is running well and enter the playoffs in second place and they do have four wins on the season including the Daytona 500.
Erik Jones solidified his position in the playoffs just two weeks ago with a win in the Southern 500 at Darlington. He led 79 laps on his way to victory lane. Even though he only has four starts at Las Vegas he could be a threat to win any week in the playoffs.
Of course the way this season has wound down the champion could be any one of the drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing after winning 13 of the first 26 races.
Tomorrow we will take a look at the drivers from Penske Racing where they only picked up five race wins in the first 26 races.