Martin Truex Jr. paced Happy Hour with a fastest speed of 188.383 mph leading up to the Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway tomorrow afternoon. Truex is trying to get a good race under his belt after poor finishes in both the season-opening Daytona 500 and last weekend at the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix. Could this be a track where Truex can fit all the pieces of the puzzle together? Truex comes into this race with an average finish of 17th. His 6th place finish here at this event in 2011 is his best finish here in Vegas.
Carl Edwards was second fastest with a speed of 187.007 mph. Edwards is coming off his first win in nearly two years last week in Phoenix where he led 122 of the 312 laps. Last season, Edwards only led 250 laps and missed the cut for the Chase and failed to win a race. Edwards is a two-time winner here in Vegas. He won here in 2008, and 2011.
Hometown hero Kyle Busch was third quickest. Busch is also one of those drivers who just needs a break. He left the Daytona 500 due to engine failure and hit the wall twice in Phoenix en-route to a 23rd place finish. He won here in 2009, but hasn’t found much luck since. His engine exploded in 2011, and last year he struggled and wound up in 23rd after spinning out.
Points leader and Daytona 500 champion Jimmie Johnson was fourth quickest and he has 4 wins at this race track. He is my pick to win the race. He won three races in a row here at one point from 2005-2007, and beat teammate Jeff Gordon in a duel here in 2010, but it was the decision to take 4 tires on the last pit stop that prevailed the 48 to the front of the field. Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, and Greg Biffle rounded out the Top 10.
Matt Kenseth was 11th fastest. He is a two-time Vegas winner, but has not won here since 2004. Following Kenseth was Jeff Burton. Burton is also a two-time winner here in Vegas. In the first three races held in Las Vegas, Burton had two wins and a 2nd, but has won come close to winning here since 2009 where he finished third.
Defending winner of this race Tony Stewart was 18th quickest. Other notables include: Keselowski (21st), Gordon (22nd), Kurt Busch (23rd), Danica (30th).