LAS VEGAS, Nev. – When they say its going to be a hot time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for all three NASCAR series, they aren’t kidding.
Temps are slated for 100 to 103 degrees for initial green flags of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series races. With action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the 1.5-mile oval, there will be plenty of racing for everyone.
For the Cup Series, it’s the first race of the Playoffs, for Xfinity is the last chance for drivers to race their way into their Playoffs and for Trucks it’s the third of their Playoffs and end of Round 1.
No More Dice Rolling in Cup
With the 16 drivers locked into the Playoffs, Cup teams can no longer take chances on set ups, race strategies and courageous pit stop decisions. They are looking to win and lock themselves into the next round or having good enough finishes to move on.
Kyle Busch comes to his hometown track as the Regular Season Champion. His lone victory at Las Vegas came in 2009. Coming to town, he hasn’t visited Victory Lane since June 2 at Pocono Raceway.
Brad Keselowski rolls into town as the defending race winner with a total of three LVMS trophies in his case. All three Team Penske teams are in the Playoffs so the competition between them is on.
The hot hand driver right now is Kevin Harvick. He and the No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing Ford team are coming off a Brickyard 400 win last week. He has two wins at Vegas in the past six races and has adopted his usual Playoff momentum of success.
“I think we’ve definitely made some strides in getting closer to where we want to be,’’ Harvick said. “I think we still have some things we have to work on at certain styles of race tracks. But this is survive and advance, and you don’t necessarily have to have the fastest car.
“We had the fastest car at Indy, maybe not the best handling car, but we survived. That’s a lot like how you’re going to have to approach every race in the playoffs.’”
Race time on Sunday is 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. Vegas time on NBCSN-TV and PRN Radio.
Last Chance for Xfinity Teams
LVMS marks the final regular season race of the season for the Xfinity Series. There are 12 drivers already in on wins and points, leaving very few places open to make their Playoffs.
Tyler Reddick and the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team are looking to clinch the Regular Season Championship. They’re trying to hold off Christopher Bell and Cole Custer.
Reddick needs just 11 points to clinch the championship.
For others on the outside looking in, they will have to do it with a trip to Victory Lane to knock out the eight who are good – as of right now – based on points.
Their race time is 7:30 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN-TV and PRN Radio. Air temp for the green flag is slated at 102 degrees.
Trucks Roll Roulette Wheel to Round Two
The Truck Series will move six of the eight drivers in the Playoffs to the second round of their playoffs, two will be knocked out after Friday night’s race.
Brett Moffit is all set because his number has come up twice in the first two races of their Playoffs. Ross Chastain is second with Stewart Friesen in third.
Stewart is 49 points ahead of the cutoff with 10 top-five finishes in 28 starts at 1.5-mile tracks this year. Two of those were second-place finishes.
Friday night under the lights it us for them with a 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. Vegas time start. Temp is forecast for 100 degrees for the green flag on FS1-TV and MRN Radio.