Comments: NASCAR Picks for Las Vegas
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Comments: NASCAR Picks for Las Vegas

Additional article: Kobalt Tools 400 Practice Recap: 5 Drivers to Watch

Last weekend's race at Phoenix was a reminder that while some things stay the same after the offseason, there are plenty of changes, as well. For example, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski are still the cream of the fantasy crop, and both have opened the year with back-to-back top-five finishes. On the other hand, 2012 fantasy bust Carl Edwards already has more wins than he did all of last season, and veteran Jeff Burton popped up inside the top 10 for just the third time since last July. Granted, it is still very early in the 2012 season, and while Edwards and Burton may not sustain their success, it is a safe bet that a few drivers that struggled last year will be serious fantasy contributors this season and vice versa.

With that in mind, this weekend's trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway becomes just a bit more important. After all, the track's 1.5-mile layout is the most common on the schedule, and while the "cookie-cutter" label often applied to these intermediate ovals is a bit misleading, there is no denying the fact that the best drivers in the series all run well at a majority of the 1.5-mile tracks. Heck, the two drivers with the best average finish at the intermediate ovals during the past five seasons are Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, and they have combined to win seven of the last eight championships. Fantasy owners should pay close attention to the action on the track this weekend because it could be the best early-season indicator of what to expect the rest of the way.

Drivers listed in this article:
  1. Tony Stewart, Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1
  2. Jimmie Johnson, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
  3. Carl Edwards, Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway
  4. Greg Biffle, 3M/Bondo
  5. Denny Hamlin, FedEx
  6. Brad Keselowski, Miller Lite
  7. Matt Kenseth, Husky/Dollar General
  8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
  9. Jeff Gordon, Drive to End Hunger/Axalta
  10. Clint Bowyer, 5-Hour Energy
  11. Kevin Harvick, Budweiser/Jimmy Johns
  12. Kasey Kahne, Farmers Insurance/Quaker State
  13. Kyle Busch, Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries
  14. Ryan Newman, Caterpillar
  15. Joey Logano, Shell-Pennzoil
  16. Jeff Burton, PEAK BlueDEF
  17. Paul Menard, Menards
  18. Mark Martin, Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1
  19. Marcos Ambrose, Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools
  20. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest
  21. Trevor Bayne, Motorcraft/Quick Lane
  22. Martin Truex, Jr., Furniture Row
  23. Jamie McMurray, McDonald's/Cessna
  24. Kurt Busch, Haas Automation
  25. Aric Almirola, Smithfield Foods
  26. Juan Montoya, Target
  27. Austin Dillon, Dow Chemical/Cheerios
  28. David Ragan, CSX Transportation/Peanut Patch
  29. Bobby Labonte, TBA
  30. Casey Mears, GEICO
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