Busch Brothers Head to Hometown Track
NASCAR heads to Las Vegas this week in its usual spring spot on the schedule. For the first time, though, the track will have a 2nd race, hosting the playoff opener on September 16.
2 of NASCAR's top drivers, Kurt and Kyle Busch, are Las Vegas natives, and are the only drivers from Nevada to win a Cup Series race. However, they have only combined for 1 win in 29 career starts at Las Vegas.
Kyle Busch will be running in all 3 races this weekend at Las Vegas, the Cup, XFINITY and Truck series. Busch is the only driver in NASCAR history to win races in all 3 series in a single weekend, doing it at Bristol in August 2010 and August 2017. There's been 18 instance of drivers with a top-5 finish in all 3 races in a weekend, Busch has 16 of those.
Busch is already the leading winner in XFINITY Series History (91). With a win Friday in the Truck Series race, he'll be the 2nd driver in that series history to 50 wins, and just 1 behind Ron Hornaday for the most in that series' history.
Harvick Nears 100 Wins
Last weekend, it was Kevin Harvick winning both the XFINITY and Cup Series races at Atlanta. That brings him to 99 wins across NASCAR's top-3 divisions (Cup, XFINITY and Truck series). He's looking to be the 4th driver to reach 100 wins across the NASCAR National Series.
Harvick led 181 laps last week in his Atlanta win. Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing before the 2014 season, Harvick has led 2,200 more laps than any other driver.
Johnson's Struggles Reach New Heights
Jimmie Johnson has struggled to start the 2018 season, with a 38th-place finish at Daytona and a 27th at Atlanta. Those have stretched his winless streak to 25 races, the longest of his Cup Series career. NASCAR will be at a 1.5-mile track this week in Las Vegas, the type of track where Johnson has snapped his other long winless droughts.
Johnson has also gone 9 straight races without a top-5 finish. Last year, he had the longest such drought of his career at 15 races, but 10 straight would tie for the 2nd-longest such streak of his career.
After 2 races, Johnson has a 32.5 average finish, the worst he's ever had through 2 races. Last year was the first time he's ever gone without a top-10 finish in the first 3 races of a season. He's still looking for his first top-25 finish of the year.
Bowyer, Elliott Nearing a Win?
Clint Bowyer finished 3rd last week at Atlanta, his 6th top-3 finish since the start of last season, when he moved to Stewart-Haas Racing. That ran Bowyer's winless streak to 187 races. If he wins this week, it would mark the 3rd-longest span between wins in Cup Series history. Bowyer has had 6 runner-up finishes since his last win.
Likewise, Chase Elliott is coming off a top-10 finish last week, and is still looking for his first Cup Series win (this will be his 80th Cup start). Elliott has 7 career runner-up finishes, 5 of those coming last year. He's trying to become the 6th driver with at least 7 runner-up finishes before his first win. 1 of the 5 to do so is his father, Bill.
Who's Hot and Who's Not - Las Vegas
• Kevin Harvick: won 2 of last 3 races on 1.5-mile tracks; 10 straight top-10 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks
• Martin Truex Jr.: 9 straight top-5 finishes on 1.5-mile tracks (6 wins)
• Brad Keselowski: finished 7th or better in last 5 Las Vegas races (won in 2014 and 2016)
• Denny Hamlin: only driver with top-5 finishes in both races this season
• Joey Logano: 4 straight top-10 finishes at Las Vegas; points leader for first time since Nov. 2016
• Jimmie Johnson: finished 27th or worse in last 5 races dating back to last season (31.6 Avg finish)
• Kurt Busch: 21.8 Avg finish career at Las Vegas (his worst at any track)
• Clint Bowyer: 1 top-20 finish in his last 5 Las Vegas races (10th last year)
• Daniel Suárez: finished 14th or worse in 8 straight races after 3-race top-10 streak last year
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