NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series roll into Las Vegas, Nevada, this weekend, Thursday through Sunday, March 7th through 10th, for the Kobalt Tools 500 and the Sam’s Town 300, respectively, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There are four Cup Series stars doing “double-duty” in both series this weekend: Brad Keselowski, Joe Nemechek, Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Will the extra track time help any of these drivers out?
Five drivers to watch in the Kobalt Tools 500:
- Jimmie Johnson – Johnson leads the points standings after two races, with a win and a runner-up finish. He also has four wins at LVMS, and a total of six top 10 finishes in 11 races with an average finish of 9.8. Johnson is out to prove he can win a sixth title after a two-year hiatus, and that could be bad news for the rest of the competition.
- Carl Edwards – Edwards broke a 70-race winless streak last week at Phoenix International Raceway, and comes to LVMS with two wins and four top 10 finishes in eight races, with an average finish of 10.3. Edwards has momentum now, something he hasn’t had since the 2011 championship battle with Tony Stewart.
- Matt Kenseth – Kenseth’s debut with Joe Gibbs Racing has been less than spectacular, sitting 18th in points after finishes of 37th (Daytona) and seventh (Phoenix). At Las Vegas, Kenseth has two wins and a pole, with an average finish of 12.5 – another top 10 finish could turn this team around, but more engine problems could spell disaster already.
- Kyle Busch – Like Kenseth, Busch has seen his share of troubles in two races, sitting 33rd in points after disappointing finishes of 34th (Daytona) and 23rd (Phoenix). Busch has one win and four top 10 finishes in nine races at his hometown track, along with two poles. Busch has had engine issues in both races (during Daytona and before Phoenix), which was also his downfall last season as he missed the Chase.
- Dark horse: Dale Earnhardt Jr. – After finishes of second (Daytona) and fifth (Phoenix), Junior sits second in points behind Johnson. At Vegas, he has six top 10 finishes in 13 races, with an average finish of 16.3.
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 www.nascar.com.
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