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Get a Grip: Las Vegas Motor Speedway Edition

Certain expectations are brought to the table when going to Las Vegas, Nevada. Taking gambles and risks tops the list, as that’s synonymous with “Sin City.” While we don’t know whether or not drivers and teams hit the casinos, we do know they participated in some gambling on the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Many took chances with pit stops while competitors battled side-by-side which led some to glory and others to defeat. Players on both sides make up this week’s list of the best and worst from the weekend.

Four Tires

  • It was a dominant weekend for @austindillon3 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ Boyd Gaming 300. He not only led 183 laps in route to victory, but topped the charts in both practice sessions and qualifying. Fans should expect more of this throughout the season as he will be a prominent face in the series.
  • One of the most interesting stories three races into the year is @MartinTruex_Jr and the Furniture Row Racing organization. They have been very impressive, posting three consecutive top-10 finishes. This includes second-place on Sunday, which is his best result since winning at Sonoma Raceway in 2013. Starting this strong indicates good things are ahead. Don’t be surprised to see this team continue to run up front and contend for victories.

Two Tires

  • @AJDinger and JTG-Daugherty Racing were another standout single-car team from the weekend. The long and grueling Kobalt 400 took its toll on many drivers, and those that made it to the finish pulled off an impressive feat. A sixth place finish is their best since taking the checkered flag at Watkins Glen International last August. The victory put them in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and another could do the same this year. However, it’s always a tough task to enter the winner’s circle. If this team stays consistent, they may have points to fall back on if needed to make the final ten races.
  • @DennyHamlin saw his great run flash before his eyes on Lap 195. Contact between @KaseyKahne and Carl Edwards sent the No. 19 Comcast Business Toyota spinning down the track, almost directly into Hamlin. The No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota only had slight damage and continued on to finish fifth. They celebrated the strong run as a much worse result could have come had he been involved in his teammate’s accident.

No Tires

  • In the late stages of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, @DaleJr seemed to be the only driver who could keep up with @KevinHarvick. On the final restart, he was able to get around the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet briefly before being passed a few laps later. When the time came to make a decision during the final round of green flag pit stops, a two-tire call by the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet team initially paid off with track position. However, the reigning series champion’s four tires eventually won out as he passed the 2014 Daytona 500 champion near the finish.
  • Unprotected walls have been the talk of the sport early in the season. After two straight weeks of cars hitting walls not equipped with the SAFER barrier system, it has placed pressure on tracks to install more around each facility. @Erik_Jones is the latest driver to hit a concrete wall as he made hard contact along the frontstretch while racing near the front during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race. This continues to highlight the issue at hand, and should show track’s that the issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

NASCAR’s “West Coast Swing” continues this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Fans will get a taste of short track racing for the first time this season as competitors will duel in the desert. Many more storylines are anticipated, and the best and worst will appear on next week’s list.

Jason Schultz is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

By Jason Schultz

Jason Schultz aspires to enter the public relations field of NASCAR. Schultz, 19, attends UNC Charlotte and is a communication studies major with a focus in public relations. In addition to contributing to POPULAR SPEED, Schultz produces podcasts for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Radio. He also completed a semester as a social media intern at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each year, he volunteers as the social media correspondent for Autism Delaware's Drive for Autism golf tournament featuring NASCAR personalities and the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover.

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