NASCAR at Las Vegas 2016: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

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NASCAR at Las Vegas 2016: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins its annual, early-season voyage West this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

Drivers will hit the high-speed, 1.5-mile tri-oval for the only time in 2016 in the third race of the season. 

It’s the second week in a row the circuit will hit a cookie-cutter mile-and-a-half, following last Sunday’s race at Atlanta. But Las Vegas is a totally different track than the beast from last weekend. 

Its pavement isn’t nearly as aged and its banks aren’t as high, so drivers won’t be slipping and fighting for grip all afternoon. The race is also 100 miles shorter, so the physical exhaustion shouldn’t be as demanding. But NASCAR’s new setup that lends to a lower downforce could present a few surprises. 

Here is an event guide to this weekend’s Kobalt 400—the 19th Sprint Cup race in LVMS history. 

Date: Sunday, March 6

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

TV Commentators: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon (booth)

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go

RadioPerformance Racing Network

Favorite: Kevin Harvick, +425 (per Odds Shark)

And here is a look at the 39-car starting grid:

Kobalt 400—Starting Grid
Order Driver Car No.
1 Kurt Busch 41
2 Joey Logano 22
3 Matt Kenseth 20
4 Brad Keselowski 2
5 Austin Dillon 3
6 Kevin Harvick 4
7 Aric Almirola 43
8 Kasey Kahne 5
9 Denny Hamlin 11
10 Martin Truex Jr. 78
11 Jimmie Johnson 48
12 AJ Allmendinger 47
13 Chase Elliott 24
14 Ryan Blaney 21
15 Paul Menard 27
16 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17
17 Kyle Larson 42
18 Danica Patrick 10
19 Brian Vickers 14
20 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88
21 Ryan Newman 31
22 Casey Mears 13
23 Kyle Busch 18
24 Carl Edwards 19
25 Chris Buescher 34
26 Greg Biffle 16
27 Landon Cassill 38
28 Trevor Bayne 6
29 Jamie McMurray 1
30 Michael McDowell 95
31 David Ragan 23
32 Brian Scott 44
33 Regan Smith 7
34 Matt DiBenedetto 83
35 Clint Bowyer 15
36 Cole Whitt 98
37 Michael Annett 46
38 Jeffrey Earnhardt 32
39 Josh Wise 30

Source: NASCAR.com

This race has featured six different winners the last six years, but Odds Shark has the defending winner, Kevin Harvick, as the unanimous favorite to return to Victory Lane at +425 odds.

Harvick finished second last week to Jimmie Johnson, who has the second-best odds to win this week. Johnson’s four victories at Las Vegas are the most in track history.

The six-time champ led Thursday morning’s test session at Las Vegas, which was held to give teams six hours to continue working the kinks of NASCAR's new base rules package, which debuted last weekend. 

Two-time Vegas winner Carl Edwards said he believes it's been a roaring hit, per Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com:

The biggest surprise is how fast the cars are going. The speeds are high. Tons of corner speed, tons of throttle time. It’s going to be treacherous.

I really applaud NASCAR for going in this direction. I hope they continue to go in this direction.

Six teams head to the desert on the heels of points penalties for infractions at Atlanta—most prominent of which Martin Truex Jr., whose crew chief will be suspended Sunday due to his second straight roof-flap violation. 

No. 78 crew chief, Cole Pearn, is in his second season with Truex, and the pair finished second in the Daytona 500 by 0.01 seconds. 

Las Vegas won’t offer the compact racing seen at Daytona. A few drivers gave a rundown on the important factors that will be at play Sunday:

A few of the other regular suspects should also run up front, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, whose 516 laps led at Vegas are more than any driver. Kenseth also has the highest average finish among current Sprint Cup drivers at 11.375. 

Drivers loved the new rules package last week at Atlanta, which produced many lengthy green-flag runs. Sunday’s race could be another clean and collected affair, where the fastest car avoids trouble and finds Victory Lane. 

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