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Viva Las Vegas: Shelby American GT 350 Fantasy Advice

Ashley McCubbinAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2010

LAS VEGAS - MARCH 01:  NASCAR cars restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Shelby 427 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Track Stats:

Track Name: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Race Date: February 28, 2010

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Length: 1.5-mile tri-oval

Banking in the turns: 20 degrees

Banking in the tri-oval: 9 degrees

Banking on the backstretch: 3 degrees

Race Length: 400 miles/267 laps

Active Win Leader: Jimmie Johnson with three

Qualifying Record: Kyle Busch, Toyota; 185.995mph (29.033 seconds), March 1, 2009

Grandstand Seats: 142,000

Tickets/track info: http://www.lvms.com or 800-644-4444

February Winner: Kyle Busch

After winning the pole, hometown native Kyle Busch blew the motor in final practice, though came back in the race to win it.

Top 10

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Clint Bowyer
  3. Jeff Burton
  4. David Reuittmann
  5. Bobby Labonte
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Brian Vickers
  9. Jamie McMurray
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Rating from 2009 Auto Club 500

NASCAR.com has a driver rating system that is suppose to help in picking who is a good fantasy choice.

Their formula combines the following categories: wins, finishes, top 15 finishes, average running positions while on lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led, and lead-lap finish. The maximum points one driver can obtain for one race is 150 points.

For more specific information and further understanding, please visit nascar.com.

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Here are the top 10 drivers and their ratings following the 2009 Auto Club 500

  1. Jimmie Johnson with 119.9
  2. Greg Biffle with 118.4
  3. Jeff Gordon with 112.2
  4. Jeff Burton with 111.0
  5. Kyle Busch with 107.8
  6. Kevin Harvick with 105.8
  7. Bobby Labonte with 103.7
  8. Tony Stewart with 96.3
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 92.9
  10. Carl Edwards with 92.0

Good Picks:

 

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson leads all active drivers with three wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, led the most laps in 2009 (92), though spun out in turn two on lap 180 and finished 24th. In his eight starts at Las Vegas Speedway, he has four top 10s to go with those three wins.

In comparing Johnson to his fellow drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he has the third highest average finish at 11.1.

When you look at the intermediate tracks overall, Johnson ranks third in earning points when all 17 races are totaled (2386) with an average finish of 12.6, seven top-fives, and 11 top 10s.

Lastly, with this being the second intermediate track of the year, a good idea to look towards which driver to pick relies on how they ran at Auto Club Speedway. Johnson’s results from last week at California speak for themselves as he won his 48th career win.

Jeff Burton

Jeff Burton has the highest average finish of any of his competitors at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (9.8) with two wins, five top fives, and eight top 10s. Last year, he finished forth so with him finishing third at Auto Club Speedway and led the second most laps (66), he’s bound to be up front again.

When you look at the intermediate tracks overall, Burton ranks 18th in earning points when all 17 races are totaled (1949) with an average finish of 18.8, two top fives, and four top 10s. Though when looking at these stats and comparing them to his past Vegas stats and last week, remember that the whole Richard Childress Racing team struggled in 2009.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch won last year’s race, leading the third most laps with 51.

When you compare him to his fellow drivers at Las Vegas, he has the forth-highest average finish with 11.2 with one win, three top fives and four top 10s.

When you look at the intermediate tracks overall, Busch ranks 14th in earning points when all 17 races are totaled (2031) with an average finish of 16.4, two top fives and five top 10s.

Kevin Harvick

With Kevin Harvick’s start the season, he is bound to make it into your picks. Everybody was thinking that his Speedweeks could possibly be a fluke, though with his charge near the end of the year and a second place finish at Auto Club 500, this looks to be a good season for Harvick.

When you compare him to his fellow drivers at Las Vegas, he has the forth

10th-highest average finish with 14.0 with no wins, two top fives, and three top 10s.

When you look at the intermediate tracks overall, Harvick ranks 15th in earning points when all 17 races are totaled (2008) with an average finish of 16.1, four top fives, and five top 10s. Though like Burton, the Richard Childress Racing organization struggled overall, coming on strong at the end, so keep that in mind.

 

Not Sure Pick: Jeff Gordon

When you look at the intermediate tracks overall, Gordon ranks highest in earning points when all 17 races are totaled (2667) with an average finish of 6.1, 10 top-fives, and 14 top 10s. 

Gordon does not rank in the top 10 for overall average finishes at Las Vegas and he finished 20th last week at the Auto Club Speedway.

Past Winners

It seems when a driver wins, they either win one or win multiple races in a row.

Mark Martin won the first race there in 1998, Burton won 1999 and 2000, Gordon in 2001, Sterling Marlin in 2002, Matt Kenseth in 2003-2004, Johnson from 2005 through 2007, Carl Edwards in 2008, and Busch in 2009.

So if you’re a betting person, Busch or somebody who hasn’t broken through yet at Vegas may be a good way to go reading those numbers.

 

Avoid:

The bottom ten when you add the intermediate tracks together from last year are Sam Hornish Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose, Elliott Sadler, David Stremme, David Ragan, Paul Menard, Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Reed Sorenson, and Scott Speed.

Tip:

With California being the first intermediate race of 2010, it’d be a good place to start analyzing to get an idea of who’ll do well in comparison with the Vegas stats.

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