The third race on the Sprint Cup Series schedule is the Kobalt Tools 500 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which goes green on Sunday, March 10th at noon PT. After the past two races, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth have some digging to do to get out of the hole they’re in, while Denny Hamlin will be looking to hang on to his fourth-place position in points – or improve on it.
Busch, driving the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry at Las Vegas, sits 33rd in points after two dismal finishes to start the season. The Las Vegas native has one win and four top 10 finishes in nine races at LVMS, plus two poles. He’ll also be competing in the Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 on Saturday, driving the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota; he has just one top five finish in nine races in that series at his home track.
Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota on Sunday, rebounded with a seventh-place finish at Phoenix, much improved on his Daytona finish (37th) when the engine bugs struck both Kenseth and Busch within two laps of each other. Kenseth has two wins and six top 10 finishes in 13 races at LVMS, plus a pole.
Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota, sits fourth in points following finishes of 14th (Daytona) and third (Phoenix) in the first two races. At Las Vegas, he has four top 10 finishes in seven races at the track.
In Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, Busch will be joined by JGR full-time drivers Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers. Sadler, in the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota Camry, has two top 10 finishes and a pole at LVMS in six races in the Nationwide Series, as well as one top 10 finish in 12 Cup Series races at the track. Vickers, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota this weekend, has two top five finishes and a pole in five LVMS Nationwide Series races; he also has two top 10 finishes in seven Cup Series races. Sadler is fourth in Nationwide Series points, while Vickers sits 12th.
The Sprint Cup Series qualifies for the Kobalt Tools 500 on Friday at 3:40 p.m. PT, with the race going green on Sunday at noon PT. The Nationwide Series qualifies on Saturday at 10:05 a.m. PT, followed by the Sam’s Town 300 at 1:15 p.m. PT. Follow this weekend’s action at joegibbsracing.com and www.nascar.com.
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