Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas

1 Comment

Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s all the important numbers and notes you need to know going into this coming weekend’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – round 3 of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

LAS VEGAS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

Driver Highlights:
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Red Cross Ford)
· Two top fives, six top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.8
· Average Running Position of 10.7, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 103.0, fourth-best
· 150 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 483 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.361 mph, fourth-fastest
· 1,754 Laps in the Top 15 (72.4%), fifth-most
· 270 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
· One win, four top fives, five top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.7
· Average Running Position of 10.3, third-best
· Driver Rating of 102.8, fifth-best
· 110 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 500 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.333 mph, sixth-fastest
· Series-high 1,904 Laps in the Top 15 (78.5%)
· Series-high 358 Quality Passes

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet)
· Two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 15.6
· Average Running Position of 14.9, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 88.2, ninth-best
· 90 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 532 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.982 mph, eighth-fastest
· 1,590 Laps in the Top 15 (65.6%), eighth-most
· 284 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
· Two wins, four top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 9.7
· Average Running Position of 11.6, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 98.8, sixth-best
· 155 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 571 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.031 mph, seventh-fastest
· 1,768 Laps in the Top 15 (72.9%), fourth-most
· 344 Quality Passes, second-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet)
· One win, six top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 15.4
· Average Running Position of 10.0, second-best
· Driver Rating of 103.8, second-best
· 177 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 491 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.356 mph, fifth-fastest
· 1,870 Laps in the Top 15 (77.1%), second-most
· 334 Quality Passes, third-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 11.7, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.8, eighth-best
· 60 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 521 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.944 mph, ninth-fastest
· 1,680 Laps in the Top 15 (69.3%), seventh-most
· 267 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)
· Four wins, five top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 9.5
· Series-best Average Running Position of 9.6
· Series-best Driver Rating of 112.3
· Series-high 316 Fastest Laps Run
· 499 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 170.622 mph
· 1,825 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), third-most
· 311 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)
· Three top fives, five top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 87.7, 10th-best
· 88 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 539 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.550 mph, 11th-fastest
· 1,498 Laps in the Top 15 (61.8%), 10th-most
· 245 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Three wins, six top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.6
· Average Running Position of 14.4, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 98.7, seventh-best
· 193 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.475 mph, second-fastest
· 1,551 Laps in the Top 15 (64.0%), ninth-most
· 253 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)
· One top 10
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.7, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.1, 12th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.343 mph, 12th-fastest

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Zest Ford)
· Average finish of 18.0
· Average Running Position of 12.9, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 83.5, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.856 mph, 10th-fastest

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)
· One win, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 11.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 103.4, third-best
· 187 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 501 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.371 mph, third-fastest
· 1,733 Laps in the Top 15 (71.5%), sixth-most
· 298 Quality Passes, fifth-most

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Winners List
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway
Kevin Harvick – The Profit on CNBC 500, Phoenix International Raceway

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points Standings (After Race 2 of 36)
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 90 points (1 win)
2. Brad Keselowski – 84 points
3. Jeff Gordon – 80 points
4. Kevin Harvick – 79 points (1 win)
5. Jimmie Johnson – 78 points
6. Joey Logano – 75 points
7. Matt Kenseth – 70 points
8. Denny Hamlin – 68 points
9. Carl Edwards – 65 points
10. Greg Biffle – 64 points
11. Casey Mears – 64 points
12. Jamie McMurray – 64 points
13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 63 points
14. Kyle Busch – 61 points
15. Ryan Newman – 60 points
16. Austin Dillon – 56 points

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Top 10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 14 0 0 2 7 2 15.6 88.2
2 Brad Keselowski 5 0 0 1 1 0 25.0 66.7
3 Jeff Gordon 16 0 1 6 7 3 15.4 103.8
4 Kevin Harvick 13 0 0 3 5 0 12.7 94.8
5 Jimmie Johnson 12 0 4 5 7 0 9.5 112.3
6 Joey Logano 5 0 0 0 1 0 14.0 83.1
7 Matt Kenseth 14 1 3 6 7 1 11.6 98.7
8 Denny Hamlin 8 0 0 1 4 0 13.1 79.2
9 Carl Edwards 9 0 2 4 5 0 9.7 98.8
10 Greg Biffle 10 1 0 2 6 1 13.8 103.0

* – Based on last nine races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (2005 – 2013).

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Track History
· The construction to build the superspeedway known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998.
· The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on Nov. 2, 1996.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998, won by Mark Martin.
· In 2006, the track was reconfigured to include progressive banking.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Notes
· There have been 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
· 128 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas; 97 in more than one.
· Four drivers have participated in all 16 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin.
· Dale Jarrett won the inaugural pole with a speed of 168.224 mph (32.773 secs.).
· 10 drivers have poles at LVMS, led by Kasey Kahne, who posted his third last season (2004, 2007 and 2012).
· Kyle Busch is the only driver to win consecutive poles at LVMS from (2008-‘09).
· Youngest LVMS pole winner: Kyle Busch (3/2/2008 – 22 years, 10 months, 0 days).
· Oldest LVMS pole winner: Dale Jarrett (3/4/2001 – 44 years, 3 months, 6 days).
· Nine different drivers have won at LVMS, led by Jimmie Johnson (four). Three other drivers have multiple wins at Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth (three), Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards (each have two).
· Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Las Vegas with seven, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five.
· Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch became the first and only Only two LVMS races have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); and Carl Edwards, 2008 (second-place).
· Three of the 16 races (18.7%) have been won from a top-five starting position at Las Vegas.
· Seven of the 16 (43.7%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position at Las Vegas.
· Four of the 16 races (25%) at Las Vegas have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 25th, by Matt Kenseth in 2004.
· Youngest LVMS winner: Kyle Busch (3/1/2009 – 23 years, 9 months, 27 days).
· Oldest LVMS winner: Sterling Marlin (3/3/2002 – 44 years, 7 months, 32 days).
· Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart lead the series in runner-up finishes at Las Vegas with two each.
· Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart lead the series in top-five finishes at Las Vegas with six each.
· Mark Martin has 10 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. His average finish is 13.4.
· Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finish at LVMS with a 9.5; Carl Edwards (9.6) is the only other active driver with an average finish in the top 10.
· There has been one green-white-checkered finish at Las Vegas: 2006 (270/267).
· Kyle Busch made his first start and Kasey Kahne won his first pole at Las Vegas, in the same event (2004).
· Aric Almirola made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007.
· Three drivers have won consecutive races at Las Vegas: Jeff Burton (1999, 2000); Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the three to win three consecutive races (2005, 2006 and 2007).
· Eight of the nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Las Vegas participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Mark Martin (1998; inaugural event) is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in his first appearance.
· Tony Stewart competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 13 times before winning (2012); the longest span of any of the nine winners. Stewart is the only driver to have made 10 or more attempts before his first win at LVMS.
· Bobby Labonte leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas without visiting Victory Lane with 16.
· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas was the March 12, 2006 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.045 second.
· No driver has won the first three races of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The five drivers that have won the first two events of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season are: Matt Kenseth (2009), Jeff Gordon (1997), David Pearson (1976), Bob Welborn (1959) and Marvin Panch (1957).
· Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson is the only one to do it multiple times (2007, 2010) and Tony Stewart (2012).
· Three drivers have won at Las Vegas and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010).
· Danica Patrick and Shawna Robinson are the only two female drivers to compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
· Only two car numbers have produced three or more Las Vegas NSCS wins: No. 48 – Jimmie Johnson (2005-2007 and 2010) and No. 99 – Jeff Burton (1999, 2000) and Carl Edwards (2008, 2011).

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 3 of 36 (3-9-14)
Track Size: 1.5-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 20 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 20 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 9 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,275 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,572 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas
Jimmie Johnson………………….. 112.3
Jeff Gordon………………………… 103.8
Tony Stewart………………………. 103.4
Greg Biffle………………………….. 103.0
Kyle Busch…………………………. 102.8
Carl Edwards……………………….. 98.8
Matt Kenseth………………………… 98.7
Kevin Harvick……………………….. 94.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr………………….. 88.2
Kasey Kahne………………………… 87.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: None Due to Inclement Weather
2013 race winner: Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 146.287 mph, (2:44:16), 3-10-13
Track qualifying record: Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 190.456 mph, 28.353 secs., 3-09-12
Track race record: Mark Martin, Ford, 146.554 mph, (2:43:58), 3-01-98

NASCAR in Nevada
· There have been 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Nevada – 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and one at Las Vegas Park Speedway…23 drivers in NASCAR national series history have listed their home state as Nevada…Three drivers from Nevada have won at least one NASCAR national series race: Kyle Busch (28 Cup, 64 NNS, 36 Truck), Kurt Busch (24 Cup, 5 NNS, 4 Truck), and Brendan Gaughan (8 Truck).

NASCAR Truck drivers feel the earth move sitting in NHRA powerhouses

Photos courtesy Kalitta Motorsports
Leave a comment

Several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers got to see how the other half lives – namely, their counterparts in the NHRA – on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and across the street at zMax Dragway.

To say it was an eye-opening experience is putting it mildly.

Top Fuel drag racers Shawn Langdon and Troy Coughlin Jr., as well as Funny Car driver J.R. Todd – all from one of the top teams in the NHRA, Kalitta Motorsports – are in Charlotte for this weekend’s 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway.

NASCAR Trucks driver Noah Gragson gets to feel the 10,000 horsepower of a Top Fuel dragster.

Thursday, they invited NASCAR drivers Ryan Truex, Christopher Bell, Grant Enfinger and Noah Gragson to show how it’s done NHRA-style.

Todd, Langdon and Coughlin started the day taking Toyota Camry pace cars around the 1.5-mile CMS oval.

Then everyone moved across the street to see some real horsepower, namely, 10,000 horses worth – which is roughly about 13 times the power they have under the hood of their race trucks.

Truex and Bell got a chance to “warm up” Todd’s Funny Car, while Enfinger and Gragson did the same with Langdon’s Top Fueler.

 

Meanwhile, Todd and Langdon both did smoky burnouts that, if the Truck guys thought they could do burnouts, they learned a lot to the contrary.

“It was a cool to do a big smoky burnout,” Todd said. “It was cool to see the guys reactions. We had a great time today and I think we created several new fans.”

Added Langdon, “Days like today is what makes me love our sport even more. Bringing these guys over here and letting them hit the throttle and sit in the car when it warms up gives them a look at what we do. To see the smiles on their faces after a badass burnout and how excited they are, just gets me pumped.”

Here’s what the NASCAR guys thought about the experience.

Bell: “J.R. Todd let me sit in his Toyota Camry Funny Car and they even cracked the throttle open for me when we were warming up the motor. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. It is a feeling like none other.”

Enfinger: “Just a crazy experience, something I have never done. Been able to do a lot of cool things with Toyota, but it is not every day that you get to make your dad jealous.”

Gragson: “This was awesome. It was the experience of a lifetime. It was great to hang out with J.R. Todd, Shawn and Troy Jr. Definitely a cool experience; one that I will remember forever.”

Truex: “This has probably been the craziest experience that I have ever been a part of. I got to sit in a Funny Car; they hit the throttle, which really scared me. When I was outside the car, I jumped about three feet in the air. It was cool to get inside and experience that. The nitro was all in my face, and I think they gained a new fan with me today.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

F1 drivers split on new ‘shield’ protection

Getty Images
1 Comment

SOCHI, Russia (AP) Formula One drivers are split over plans to test a new “shield” device to protect against flying debris.

The FIA will trial the transparent screen in the coming months for a potential introduction in 2018, as it pushes for greater head protection for drivers. Recent years have seen major head injuries in several motorsport series.

“I wouldn’t mind trying out the shield, seeing how is the visibility,” Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday. “In terms of safety it would be a good step compared to what we have now.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was another supporter, saying “we’ve still got to see a bit more, but first impressions seem OK.”

The FIA previously seemed to favor a metal frame known as the “halo,” which was designed to stop a flying wheel hitting a driver’s head but was criticized by some drivers on aesthetic grounds.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat said on Thursday he was “quite against” the shield and the halo. “The way Formula One should look should remain the same,” he added. “We have enough protection.”

Romain Grosjean of Haas voiced concern the “next step” would be completely closed cockpits.

Recent years have seen several high-profile head injuries, including the deaths of Formula Two driver Henry Surtees in 2009 when he was hit by a loose wheel and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who was struck by debris, in 2015.

In Formula One, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa missed the second half of the 2009 season when a loose spring from another car hit his helmet, leaving him needing surgery.

Haas changes F1 brake supplier ahead of Russian Grand Prix

Haas/LAT
1 Comment

Haas has switched from Brembo to Carbon Industrie brakes ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in a bid to remedy its long-running braking issues in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous operation onto the F1 grid in 2016, with Romain Grosjean scoring all 29 of its points through its debut season.

Grosjean and then-teammate Esteban Gutierrez had their efforts spurned on a number of occasions by brake issues which continued to arise through pre-season testing in 2017 and the early races.

Haas pushed to remedy the issue by testing new Carbon Industrie brakes in the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test, with Grosjean and new teammate Kevin Magnussen conducting running.

The team duly decided to fit the new Carbon Industrie brakes for this weekend’s race in Russia, with both VF-17 cars to run with them from Friday onwards.

“To be fair to Brembo, the last update in brakes we had that arrived in China were much better. It took a long time to get them,” Grosjean explained.

“So then I was not screaming to change to Carbone Industrie but it was in the pipeline, so we tried them, and both drivers were pretty pleased with them. We felt like we had more control under braking.

“I’m very sensitive to my left pedal, so I really need to get good brakes to get good confidence and push the car to its maximum limit. So we are going to run them here.

“There is still a little bit of work we need to be doing around the mapping and finding the solution around those brakes but I think yeah, definitely it’s going to help me a little bit to find the last few hundredths.”

NHRA: Chad Head to substitute for Alexis DeJoria in Charlotte

Photo: NHRA
Leave a comment

Alexis DeJoria will miss this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, with her Kalitta Motorsports team confirming DeJoria will need to tend to a family matter.

Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports Director of Safety, will step into the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend. No timetable was given for DeJoria’s return; after Charlotte this weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues for its third consecutive race weekend next week in Atlanta.

This isn’t the first race DeJoria has had to miss recently, as she also was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the 2016 NHRA season finale in Pomona.