NASCAR Picks for Las Vegas
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Since a shaky start to his career at Las Vegas, Bowyer has come into his own at the track. He has four top-15 finishes in his last five starts. During the stretch, he has finished eighth or better three times, including a second-place run in 2009. Bowyer should end up in or around the top 10 this weekend.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske [Yahoo Class B]
You get the feeling that Logano is primed for a breakout run at Las Vegas. He has a respectable 14.0 average finish in five starts, logging four finishes of 16th or better. Logano finished 12th last year in his first start at the track with Team Penske. On the heels of a great run at Phoenix, you have to like his upside.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Menard is definitely trending in the right direction at Las Vegas. He has four straight finishes of 17th or better at the track, including three straight top-12s and back-to-back top-10s. When looking for sleepers this weekend, don't forget about Menard.
Ryan Newman, #31 Caterpillar, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has seven top-15s in 13 starts at Las Vegas, including a pair of top-five finishes in his last three starts. The problem with Newman is that in five of the six races where he hasn't recorded a top-15, he has finished 25th or worse. Newman could help fantasy teams this weekend, but given his inconsistency at Vegas, you should probably take a close look at his practice times before plugging him into your lineup.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His 23.0 average finish at Las Vegas leaves a lot to be desired, and Vickers actually hasn't participated in a Cup race at the track since 2011. However, he did finish in the top 10 in two of his last three starts at Vegas, finishing 10th in his most-recent start at the track. Vickers has run at several 1.5-mile tracks the past couple of years so the two-year layoff at Vegas shouldn't be a huge obstacle. He could make a serviceable addition to fantasy rosters.
Kurt Busch, #41 Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Maybe he is trying too hard to impress his home-state crowd, but Busch has never had a lot of success at Las Vegas. In 13 starts at the track, he has just three top-10 finishes and only one top-five effort. Meanwhile, he has finished 20th or worse eight times. Busch is talented enough to deliver an unexpected gem, but fantasy owners should probably play it safe and save him for another week.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Chip Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although his overall resume at Las Vegas is shaky, McMurray has been solid in his last two starts at the track. He finished eighth in the 2012 event, and last year he finished 13th. McMurray could make a solid sleeper play this weekend.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
The sample size is small, but Stenhouse did crack the top 20 in his Las Vegas debut last season. With a year of experience under his belt, you would hope he would at least be able to deliver a similar performance this weekend, especially at a track where Roush Fenway Racing has typically been strong. Stenhouse is in play as a potential sleeper.
Martin Truex, Jr., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His numbers at Las Vegas have been solid. In eight starts at the track, he has piled up seven top-20 finishes. He has also finished in the top 10 twice in his last three starts at the track. Yes, he is with a new team this year, but he has already shown he can be a top-20 driver at the track for multiple teams. It isn't a terrible idea to continue to get a feel for Truex before using him, but he should at least be in the mix for a top-20 finish this weekend.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
While he usually struggles at high-speed ovals, Las Vegas has been one of his better 1.5-mile tracks. He has compiled a respectable 14.6 average finish in five starts, logging three top-15 finishes. Meanwhile, he has never finished worse than 22nd at the track. Ambrose probably won't be rostered by a lot of owners this weekend, so he could make a sneaky pick, albeit a risky one.
Austin Dillon, #3 Dow Chemical/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class C]
The rookie actually made a start at Las Vegas last year, coming home 21st. Meanwhile, Richard Childress Racing has been solid at the track as a whole recently, putting all three drivers in the top 15 in 2012 and two drivers in the top 10 last year. Dillon should at least be able to approach his result from a year ago, making a top-20 finish a definite possibility.
Jeff Burton, #66 PEAK BlueDEF, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class C]
Burton is running a limited schedule this year, but fantasy owners will get their first chance to take advantage of him this weekend. His first start comes at a track that has been kind to him; his 11.9 average finish at Vegas is actually the fourth best in the series. With six top-15s in the last eight races at the track, Burton has remained a useful fantasy option even in his later years.
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