Fantasy Picks: Who to pick and Who not to pick at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Two races down and onto race number three as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series just travels 282 miles from Avondale, Arizona to this weekend’s race weekend at the Bruton Smith owned Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile oval with banking of twenty degrees in the corners and nine degrees of banking on the backstretch and the frontstretch.

Who To Pick 

Matt Kenseth – Not only is Kenseth the defending winner of this weekend’s race he also rolls into the Las Vegas weekend with six top-fives, seven top-tens, twelve top-twenties and three overall victories in fourteen races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kenseth has a finishing average of eleventh in the last two Las Vegas races and overall he has a finishing average of eleventh at the 1.5-mile oval.

All signs point to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver this weekend in sin city.

Paul Menard – Menard is a driver who rolls into the weekend flying under the radar, and he may seem like a bit of a risky pick this weekend because the Richard Childress Racing driver has failed to finish in the top-twenty in the two prior races this season, but he has posted finishes of 10th and 7th in the last two Vegas races.

Overall, Menard has just those two top-tens to go along with four top-twenties in seven Vegas races, but with his recent history at the Bruton Smith owned race track I would roll the dice on Menard and look for him to ring home a jackpot for your fantasy team early in the season.

Jimmie Johnson – If you don’t want to worry about your pick for this weekend’s Kobalt Tools 400, and he is available to pick, then your best odds would be to pick the six-time champion this weekend because he has an average finish of fourth in the last two Vegas races.

Johnson has scored four wins, five top-fives, seven top-tens and ten top-twenties in twelve races at the speedway and to go along with leading all drivers with the best finishing average over the course of the last two Vegas races, he also leads all drivers with the best overall finishing average at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Might as well jump on the Dale Jr. bandwagon while he’s hot and running well, and it doesn’t hurt that the Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished in the top-ten in each of the last three Vegas races. Overall, Jr. has seven top-tens and has only finished outside the top-twenty in four Vegas Sprint Cup races in his career.

Who Not To Pick 

Kurt Busch – Not a great start to the season for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and the odds are not in Kurt’s favor to turn it around this weekend at his hometown race track because he has just one top-five finish to go along with only three top-tens in thirteen Vegas Sprint Cup Series races.

Aric Almirola – This week would not be the week to risk a pick on the driver of the No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports as he has failed to bring home a top-ten finish in five Vegas tries.

Almirola has finishes of 16th, 24th, 43rd, 39th and 41st in his Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sprint Cup career.

Austin Dillon – Dillon struggled with track position last weekend in the Arizona desert, and he wound up with a 24th-place finish and I believe much of the same result will come this weekend in Las Vegas. Dillon is going to be running better in the second half of the season, and you should wait until he has some more time under his belt in the Sprint Cup Series before you take a chance on the driver of the RCR No. 3.

Austin Dillon started from the 27th position and brought home a 21st-place finish in last season’s Kobalt Tools 400 while driving the James Finch No. 51.

Kevin Harvick – Despite coming into Vegas with momentum from a win a week ago in Phoenix Harvick’s past stats aren’t too impressive at the 1.5-mile oval as he has just three top-fives and five top-ten finishes in thirteen Vegas races. I would save Harvick until one of his better tracks shows up on the schedule or even hold out until the fall Phoenix race where he seems to be unstoppable at as of late.


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