StatChat - NASCAR Cup Series @ Las Vegas

Three races down, 33 to go.  As with last week, take some of this analysis with a grain of salt, as there isn’t a whole lot of data yet in 2021.  Is William Byron for sure our 2021 Champion? Is Matt DiBenedetto going to finish outside the Top 30?  The answer to these questions are likely no – but there are some things worth noting.  This weekend, NASCAR heads west for a trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400.  Let’s get the StatChat started:

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval. While the actual site has been used for various forms of racing since 1972, the 1.5-mile oval opened in 1996 and began hosting the NASCAR Cup Series two years later.  It may be the same length as last week’s race at Homestead-Miami, however the tracks are quite different.  Tire wear will be much less of a factor, the banking in the corners is completely different, and the overall layout (including the tri-oval) is a different shape than Homestead.

 

The race will be 267 laps (for a total of 400.5 miles), with stage breaks occurring at 80 – 160 – 267, and a competition caution at lap 25.  The fuel window is approximately 58-62 laps.

 

NASCAR has run 1,153.20 miles so far this year, with only 7 cars having run all of them.

 

Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Las Vegas:

Joey Logano

8.40 over 15 races

Ryan Blaney

9.67 over 9 races

Kyle Larson

10.78 over 9 races

Martin Truex Jr.

11.00 over 18 races

Brad Keselowski

11.40 over 15 races

 

Bottom 5 Career Average Finishers at Las Vegas:

Joey Gase

34.80 over 5 races

Quin Houff

33.00 over 2 races

Michael McDowell

32.93 over 14 races

Christopher Bell

28.50 over 2 races

Ross Chastain

28.00 over 5 races

 

Las Vegas is an Intermediate Track.

 

Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Intermediate Tracks

Kevin Harvick

11.73 over 360 races

Brad Keselowski

12.60 over 212 races

Kyle Busch

12.78 over 291 races

Chase Elliott

13.08 over 96 races

Denny Hamlin

13.26 over 275 races

 

Jimmie Johnson has the most all-time wins at Las Vegas, with 4.  Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski each have 3, and then a group of 5 drivers all have 2.

 

Notable drivers who have not won at Las Vegas:

Denny Hamlin

(has won at 17 other tracks)

Ryan Newman

(has won at 12 other tracks)

 

No current driver has Las Vegas listed as their BEST track.  Strangely enough, the only driver who has it listed as their WORST track is the most recent driver to win there – Kurt Busch.

 

Kevin Harvick is the only current driver to have scored his first Cup Series win at Las Vegas – he managed this feat in only his 3rd ever Cup race.

 

Based on their point pace, let’s have a look at who’s having a better year than last year.

 

Drivers Faring Better than in 2020

Michael McDowell

+660 pts

Christopher Bell

+394 pts

Denny Hamlin

+364 pts

Kurt Busch

+235 pts

Daniel Suarez

+163 pts

 

Drivers Faring Worse than in 2020

Matt DiBenedetto

-743 pts

Ryan Blaney

-711 pts

Aric Almirola

-620 pts

Erik Jones

-459 pts

Kyle Busch

-409 pts

 

While some drivers may be doing better this year than they did in 2020, how does this year stack up against their entire career?  This statistic does not include rookies, as this is their first full year in the Cup Series.

 

Drivers Having their BEST Career Year

Kevin Harvick

5.00

Michael McDowell

5.00

Denny Hamlin

6.33

Christopher Bell

12.33

Cole Custer

15.67

Corey LaJoie

25.33

 

Drivers Having their WORST Career Year

Quin Houff

34.67

Matt DiBenedetto

32.67

Erik Jones

26.67

Tyler Reddick

22.33

 

For those that aren’t aware, the Manufacturer Standings are calculated by awarding points to the highest finisher for each manufacturer according to their finishing position.  (40 for 1st, 35 for 2nd, 34 for 3rd, etc.)  No stage points or playoff points count.

 

Manufacturer Standings

Chevrolet

108

Ford

107

Toyota

106

 

Here is the same formula, but used on a team-vs-team basis:

 

Chartered Team Standings

Joe Gibbs

106

Hendrick

102

Front Row

100

Stewart-Haas

96

Chip Ganassi

92

JTG-Daugherty

83

Penske

81

Richard Childress

72

Roush-Fenway

62

Spire

53

23XI

46

Trackhouse

46

Rick Ware

37

Richard Petty

34

Live Fast

26

Wood Brothers

14

StarCom

11

 

 

 

The race begins Sunday, March 7th at 3:30 pm EST (12:30 pm PST) – Enjoy the race everyone!

 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @StatChat_RR

 

Is there an error? Is there a stat missing that you’d like to see? Let us know!