The variation of tracks for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with its new Generation 6 car continues this Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
After a less-than-exciting Daytona 500 and somewhat better show at Phoenix last week, particularly in the closing stages, this marks the first test for a G6 car on one of the “cookie-cutter” 1.5-mile ovals. This is an area that NASCAR has thought the G6 could improve racing, and this is the first test.
Las Vegas, reconfigured and modified with greater banking before the 2007 season, features some strong odds either of this year’s first two race winners – Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards – could add their second victory this season. Each has two wins from the six races on the reconfigured track, Johnson winning in 2007 and 2010, Edwards in 2008 and 2011.
Edwards and new crew chief Jimmy Fennig got their act together last week after a disastrous Speedweeks, where the crew had to repair five wrecked race cars. The rebound from both Daytona and Edwards’ 70-race long winless drought was particularly satisfying for team and driver.
Tony Stewart is the defending race champion, in what was his first win with new crew chief Steve Addington.
There’s five drivers already in need of a good results to kick-start their seasons. Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. enter Las Vegas from 30th through 34th place in the standings, down 57 points to points leader Johnson. While some will say it’s too early to discuss “points racing,” Chase chances for any of those five could be compromised with another poor finish.
Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, 3 pm ET
Turns: 20 degrees of banking
Frontstretch: 9 degrees
Backstretch: 9 degrees
Race Distance: 267 laps/400.5 miles
Defending Race Champion: Tony Stewart