By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
We are coming off of a uncharacteristically exciting race at California, and the “real” season is now underway. So that being said what can we expect to see at Las Vegas?
Jimmie Johnson will be in the running for the win… No surprise I know, but in a town where it is better to be lucky than good, Jimmie Johnson is both and should perform very well. Kevin Harvick was even quoted after last weeks race saying “The 48 has a golden horseshoe up their (expletive)”. Much to Harvick’s dismay, Johnson’s luck will continue this week.
Jeff Burton will continue Richard Childress Racing’s great start. Burton has the best average finish at Las Vegas in the entire Sprint Cup Series at 9.8. Burton has won at Las Vegas twice in his career, and is one to watch this weekend as the Childress cars have looked very strong early this season.
Other drivers that are locks for a great performance at Vegas are: Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, and Kyle Busch. Between them they have four wins at this track. Kyle Busch always has a bit of swagger in his step at this track because this is his hometrack.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had some good runs at this track in the past, but he has also had some less than stellar runs as well. It really is a toss up as to whether he will perform or not, but I believe he will get a top-10 this weekend.
Jeff Gordon has been snakebitten as far as luck goes in the first two events of 2010, but he does have the second highest driver rating of anyone at Las Vegas… If he can stay out of trouble and avoid any mechanical issues, he will be at the front, but I wouldn’t go all-in on him just yet.
I also do not expect amazing runs for David Reutimann (8th in points), Kurt Busch (11th in points), or Jamie McMurray (4th in points). I know I shouldn’t bet against McMurray as he came up big as an underdog at Daytona, but I just don’t think he has much of a chance at a track where his average finish is 16.9 in his career. Reutimann and Kurt Busch have career average finishes at Vegas outside of the top-20… 20.5 and 20.4 respectively.
My underdog for the weekend is Brad Keselowski. Some have him at 100:1 odds for this weekend, but he has had a great car in the first two races. If he can strike some good luck this weekend, and stay away from the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers he may just make someone a lot of money this weekend.
There you have it those are my predictions for the Shelby American GT 350 at Las Vegas. Enjoy the race.