As most of America is in the midst of enjoying Week 2 of the NFL season(oh, Bills..), NASCAR is gearing up for Week 1 of the Playoffs. After rains washed out much of the activity at Indianapolis, the drivers face punishing temperatures out west today in the debut race for a second Vegas date.
Here’s what to look for:
—Erik Jones snagged the Pole on Friday with a pretty good lap. He carries an 11.5 average finish at Vegas (15th and 8th in his two starts), and may be someone to watch in NASCAR’s postseason. Laying in the weeds without really making a huge splash yet (a mostly quiet nine Top 10s in his last eleven races), starting out front certainly garners attention. Keep an eye on #ThatJonesBoy.
—Joey Logano will start alongside, and is stoked to see this race kick off the Playoffs. His best of any track, a 9.7 average finish over ten attempts. Six of those were Top 10s, too; look for the 22 to finish there again.
—Kevin Harvick flat out crushed the field in the Spring, leading 214 (of 267) laps before crushing to victory. As previously mentioned, this is the debut race for this second Las Vegas date, but his success in Week 3 should carry over no problem. He rolls off 5th.
—Kyle Busch ran runner-up in March and launches from 4th today. #18N18 is their calling card this Fall, and he’s got a great shot to get going on the right foot today. The home track for Busch, he has one win back in 2009.
—Kyle Larson earned the second most points in the Spring race before his 3rd place finish, 50 points on the day. Harvick cleaned up, as we stated before, but Larson clocked in 3rd at each checkpoint. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but he’s finished “worse” than he’s run recently. Larson will be up on the wheel today, three Top 10s here already in his young career.
Coverage of the race starts on NBCSN at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:16pm.