Racing at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway can present a lot of variables with the unique track surface and the unpredictable springtime weather. But David Ragan is actually looking for predictability and stability in this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The driver of the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports got caught up in "wrong place, wrong time" accidents in the series' first two races of the year, so he's looking for a day of no surprises in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400.
"Vegas is a track that has some cold winters but really, really hot summers, so it ages a little different than other places," stated Ragan. "It gets very windy at times, too. And in the spring, you can have a really hot day followed by a really cold day. So you never know what you're going to get. But it's definitely one of the fun stops. It's always a packed house with a lot of great race fans."
The weekend will produce some uncertainty, with the event marking the first time the new Gen-6 car races on a mile-and-a-half track. To help alleviate some of that uncertainty, the team will participate in an open test at the track Thursday before race practice officially begins Friday.
"We learned a lot at the Charlotte test, like that the Gen-6 cars have a little bit more speed and a little more downforce," Ragan continued. "A lot of it depends on what kind of tires that Goodyear brings. But the Vegas track is a really fast track and a 400-mile race, so it's kind of a fast-paced race and it's always one of my favorite weekends of the year. Hopefully we can take some of the things that we learned at the Charlotte test and try it out on the open test date on the Thursday prior to the Vegas race. And we'll see the telltale signs of who's got the cars figured out, who's better than others and what we have to work on."
Fans of Ragan and his Front Row Motorsports teammates will have the opportunity to meet them in Las Vegas on Saturday. The trio will sign autographs at the Riviera Hotel & Casino from 7 to 8 p.m. local time.
"The race track facility is one of the nicest we go to, and it's just a few miles down from the Las Vegas strip," Ragan added. "We all enjoy that, doing a lot of people-watching. I'm not a huge gambler. I'll play a little bit, just for entertainment. But we enjoy finding some good spots to go eat some good meals; there's a lot of good restaurants in Vegas. So we have fun, but not so much fun that it hurts us on Sunday."
Ragan has six Cup career starts at Las Vegas with a top finish of seventh (2008).
Fans can catch the Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast on FOX and MRN/SiriusXM 90.
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