Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been in the news this week after the announcement that the track will host two triple-header NASCAR events in 2018. But did you know that this year marks the 20th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event held at the venue?
Mark Martin won the first race, the Las Vegas 400, in his No.6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, on March 1, 1998. Eleven different drivers have won at the track including multiple race winners Jimmie Johnson who leads all drivers with four victories and Matt Kenseth with three. Brad Keselowski, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards each have two checkered flags at the 1.5-mile speedway.
It will probably come as no surprise that four-time winner Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Las Vegas at 113.4. But did you know that Las Vegas native Kyle Busch also has some impressive stats at the track?
In 2008, Busch grabbed the pole to become the youngest pole winner at 22 years and 10 months. He followed that up in 2009 with another Coors Light Pole Award, the only driver to claim consecutive poles at Vegas. But Busch didn’t stop there. He drove to victory lane and became the first and only driver to win from the pole position. One win, five top fives, six top 10s and two poles give Busch the second-best driver rating, 103.4.
You might think that starting on the front row gives drivers the best opportunity for victory but that isn’t necessarily true. Did you know that nine of the 19 races (47.4%) at LVMS were won from a top-10 starting position? But starting position isn’t everything. Kenseth won in 2004 after starting 25th, the deepest in the field of any Vegas winner.
Brad Keselowski is the defending race winner and will enter this weekend’s competition with momentum after his victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his No. 2 Team Penske Ford. In eight starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he has two victories (2014, 2016) with three top fives and 10 top 10s. He also has something else going for him. Did you know that Ford leads the car manufacturers with nine visits to Victory Lane at LVMS? They are followed by Chevrolet with seven wins, Toyota (two) and Dodge (one).
Three drivers who have won at Las Vegas have gone on to win the Cup Series championship in the same year, Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010). Will another driver add their name to this list? Tune into FOX Sunday, March 12 at 3:30 p.m. for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kobalt 400 as the action continues.
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