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Kobalt 400 (Las Vegas)

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The road to the Sprint Cup now shifts to the west for a three track stop, and a lot has to be proven. The first stop is Las Vegas for the Kobalt 400, home of the Busch brothers. The timing cannot be better for both drivers as they head home. There had been a major shakeup in points as points and money were taken away on Wednesday, so there are a lot of drivers who need to make up some ground unless they lock into the Chase.

  • The track record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was broken six times in Round One of qualifying, and the record went to Kurt Busch, with the time of 27.458 seconds. Not only did he break the track record, he also scored his second straight pole of the season. It is Kurt’s second Las Vegas pole as he looks for his first win there. Kurt has three top 10 finishes at Las Vegas, his best finish was third in 2005.
  • Defending race champion Kevin Harvick qualified sixth as he barely made it into Round Two qualifying 23rd. Harvick led for 142 laps last year. Joey Logano qualified second as he has only three top 10 finishes at Las Vegas, best finish was fourth in 2014 when he won the pole then. Matt Kenseth is looking for a huge comeback after the bad luck he’s had. Kenseth will start third as he has won at Las Vegas three times.
  • Brad Keselowski had the fastest time in Round Two at 27.613. Keselowski will start fourth as he looks for his second Las Vegas win since 2014. Austin Dillon will start in the top five for the second time in his young Sprint Cup career at Las Vegas and hopes to grab at least a top 10 finish. Dillon looks for his second top 10 in three races after a ninth place finish at Daytona.
  • Aric Almirola gets his best start in Las Vegas qualifying seventh. Almirola has finished in the top 15 the first two races, so far a best finish of 12th at Daytona. He has never scored a top 10 finish at Las Vegas. Kasey Kahne has run well at Las Vegas finishing second twice. Kahne has finished in the top 10 six times and will start in the top 10 for the second straight year in eighth.
  • Denny Hamlin stayed in the top 10 throughout qualifying and ended up ninth. Hamlin has five top 10’s in Las Vegas. Martin Truex Jr finished second behind Harvick last season in Las Vegas and looks for another top five finish in the 10th spot. Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn were heavily penalized on Wednesday for another roof flap violation in Atlanta. Pearn was suspended for one race, but has appealed and will be available.

Other notables are four time winner Jimmie Johnson starting 11th. Two time winner Carl Edwards starting 24th as he hit the wall during Round Two. Brian Vickers had one of the fastest cars during that incident, but was waved off by NASCAR when the caution waved. Vickers will instead start 19th. 2009 winner Kyle Busch will start 23rd.

Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law

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