2023 NASCAR Preview: Week 3 – Las Vegas

Lord Almighty, I feel my temperature risin’…

Big news this week in NASCAR, reigning Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott fractured his tibia in a snowboarding accident. He’s undergone successful surgery already, but is out of the car for the foreseeable future. Josh Berry is filling in the #9 this week, nobody completely sure when things will get back to normal, if Chase will be able to make a run for the Cup, or what the rest of 2023 looks like for the #9 team. Before all that…we’ve got a race today! The season continues on as normal for the rest of the drivers with one less gun to take a Win away from them.

Here’s what to look for:

Joey Logano claimed the Pole on Saturday, and wouldn’t you know he’s also got the best average finish here of all active drivers (8.5 over 19 races)? Nevermind the fact that he won the Fall race here en route to a Championship. Things are looking up for the driver of the Pennzoil car at the Pennzoil 400. Solid teammates, too! Penske guys know their way around this place.

Alex Bowman was our winner here last Spring, which is also the last time he’s been on the track. He missed the Fall race because of concussion protocol, and he’ll fire off from the 11th position this afternoon. “All luck, no skill” — can Bowman make it two in a row?

Ross Chastain went 3-2 at these races last year, best among all drivers in 2022. He earned 94 points, but his average over the last ten races isn’t very good (21.2). Is the “3-2” Ross an outlier, or is the 21.2 a relic from the past?

Kyle Busch got his first Win with RCR last week, and he had a chance to win the DAYTONA 500, too. He won the Truck race here on Friday, ran well yesterday in the Xfinity Series, and his is his home track, too. What does today have in store for Busch? He’s got a 6.5 average finish over the last ten races (tied with Martin Truex Jr. for “best”), but hasn’t been to Victory Lane since 2009. His last five races have been somewhere between 3rd and 6th — pretty good!

Noah Gragson has an incredible 3.4 average finish here in eight Xfinity races, and finished 11th at Vegas in the Cup Series last year. He’s got a whale of an uphill battle today (starting 25th), but he’s got 400 miles to get there. For those who like to bet, he’s +8000, huge longshot, but we’ve seen stranger things happen, for sure. –And Las Vegas is his home track, too! (Haha, both he and Busch said “no place like home.” Get some new material, guys!)

Coverage of the race starts on FOX at 3:30pm, green flag scheduled for 3:49pm.

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