NASCAR at Las Vegas: Odds, key stats, sleepers, fantasy drivers to watch
After being the beneficiary of Kevin Harvick’s late speeding penalty in Atlanta, Brad Keselowski will look for consecutive wins as NASCAR heads west for a three-race tilt.
Keselowski is also the defending race winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which recently announced it will host a second race beginning in 2018. He took the checkered flag at the 1.5-mile track last season in a tight race in which five different drivers led 24 or more laps — Keselowski, first-place, 24 laps led; Joey Logano, second, 74; Jimmie Johnson, third, 76; Kyle Busch, fourth, 38; Kurt Busch ninth, 31.
Keselowski and his Ford teammates have enjoyed two race wins to begin the season and four of the top five drivers in the points standings through the first two races wheel Fords — 1. Harvick; 2. Kurt Busch; 3. Keselowski; 5. Joey Logano.
Those drivers are also among the race favorites for Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox).
Who is favored to win the NASCAR race at Las Vegas?
Key stats to know for Las Vegas' Kobalt 400
— Jimmie Johnson owns the highest driver rating of 113.4 at Las Vegas and as well as the best average running position. He's looking for his fifth win in Sin City.
— Kevin Harvick, who has led more laps than any other driver (1,497) at 1.5-mile tracks since 2015, also owns the second-best driver rating at Las Vegas (99.6).
— Only three of the 19 Las Vegas races have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); Carl Edwards, 2008 (second place); Brad Keselowski, 2014 (second place).
— Joey Logano leads the series in average finish at Las Vegas with a 10.75.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series (active drivers) with the most starts at Las Vegas without visiting victory lane with 17 races.
Which drivers are best for fantasy NASCAR at Las Vegas?
Martin Truex Jr., who led the Cup Series with 883 laps led on 1.5-mile tracks last season, was the runner-up in 2015 and owns an average finish of 14.27 at Las Vegas.
Ryan Blaney should provide salary relief and should be able to rack up fantasy points at a track where he has an average finish of 12.5 with the eighth-best fastest laps run.
After finishing fifth at Atlanta, Chase Elliott is heading in the right direction to score his first Cup win. It may not happen Sunday but we are expecting a top-10 finish.
Who are the sleepers to win the NASCAR race at Las Vegas?
In his last five races, Kyle Larson has finished third (Phoenix), second (Homestead), 12th (Daytona) and second (Atlanta) for an average showing of 4.75 — second to Joey Logano (4.25). Both should be in contention on Sunday.
Three-time Las Vegas Motor Speedway winner Matt Kenseth also has six top-five finishes at the track and has a 99.5 driver rating at 1.5-mile tracks since 2015.