Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
Best Bets - Las Vegas
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Each week during the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) regular season through the Chase, we'll take a look at the best Fantasy plays, as well as Futures and Wagers when applicable, to get you ready for the upcoming race week.
The MENCS heads west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick (9/2) is on the pole for the first time in Vegas, and he is installed as the overall favorite for Sunday's race. He won this race in March 2018, starting from the outside of Row 1, averaging a speed of 141.756 mph. He has claimed checked in two of the past five stops at LVMS, and he ranks fourth in Driver Rating across the past five starts at the track according to NASCAR's Loop Data, posting a 112.2 Driver Rating with 371 laps led while running 74.9 percent of his laps inside the Top 15.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch (11/2) won the Strat 200 on the Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Friday night, as the Las Vegas native always seems to bring a little extra in his hometown. He hasn't won in Las Vegas on the Monster Energy Cup Series since the Shelby 427 back in March 2009, his first and only victory at the track while running with the big boys. He has 15 career starts at the track, posting six top 5s and eight top 10s with 241 laps led and a 12.9 Average-Finish Position (AFP).
Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin (20/1) has never in Las Vegas, although he has certainly been close. In 14 career starts at the track he has posted two Top 5 finishes and six Top 10s, managing a respectable 14.0 AFP. He will go off from the second position on Sunday. JGR's Erik Jones (25/1) and Martin Truex Jr. (11/2) didn't have a lot of success in qualifying on Friday, but don't forget about them for Sunday. MTJ ranked fifth among active drivers with a 11.8 AFP, posting a victory with four Top 5s and 260 laps led in 14 career starts. Jones had had a rougher time of it, averaging a 21.0 AFP in three MENCS starts. He did finish as high as eighth, but he was also 15th and a dismal 40th. Jones starts in the 18th position and isn't a terribly attractive fantasy and betting option this week. However, Truex is a nice play, especially for his potential for plenty of Place Differential points.
Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon (50/1) had an outstanding time in qualifying, and he'll go off fourth in Sunday's start. He hasn't won in seven career starts at the track, but he has been right in the mix. He has one Top 5 and just two of his starts have resulted in finishes outside of the Top 20, posting a 15.9 AFP. He has led just two laps, but he could change that with such an advantageous starting position on Sunday. Dillon's teammate, Daniel Hemric (100/1) , posted a solid third-place finish in Duel No. 1 at Daytona, but he managed a 29th-place finish in the 500, and 28th-place finish in Atlanta last week. The chances of a season-best finish are high this week, as he starts out fifth after posting a best speed of 179.480 mph on Friday.
Front Row Motorsports driver David Ragan (150/1) could be a big-time sleeper on Sunday. He turned in an outstanding qualifying effort to get himself onto Row 3 to start. He has plenty of experience at LVMS, starting 13 times with just one Top 10 and one Top 20 with only one lap led while posting a 26.8 AFP. The starting spot is impressive, but his lack of success makes him a risking play. Roush Fenway Racing's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (75/1) is also a long shot who qualified well Friday, and he'll go off eighth for the MENCS race. He has qualified well in each of his two previous starts, going off fifth in Daytona and second in Atlanta, but he ended up in the middle of the pack in each outing. He managed a 178.607 mph best speed on Friday. In seven career starts he has three Top 20s, but he has never been better than 12th in Vegas while posting a subpar 23.3 AFP.
Penske Racing's Ryan Blaney (12/1) has yet to taste victory in Vegas, but he leads all active drivers with an 8.4 AFP in five starts. He has two Top 5s and four Top 10s, but he has led just one lap during the span. He also ranks seventh with a 95.0 Driver Rating during the five-race span. His teammate Brad Keselowski (7/1) , fresh off a victory in Atlanta last week, won in the fall race in Vegas, his third win in the past six stops at the track. He will start 19th on Sunday, with plenty of potential to rack up many Place Differential points for fantasy owners. He has 11 career starts with a 13.3 AFP at LVMS. Penske's Joey Logano (17/2) has also run very well in Vegas over the years, ranking second among active drivers with a 9.2 AFP. He has finished outside of the Top 20 just once in 11 career starts, leading 242 laps.
Don't forget about Hendrick Motorsports driver and four-time Vegas champ Jimmie Johnson (35/1) . He has been so-so with a 17th in the 500, and an 11th-place finish in Atlanta last week. However, he checks in fourth among active drivers with an 11.6 AFP in 18 career starts, posting half of his starts inside the Top 10 with 595 laps led. He will start from the ninth position on Sunday. His teammate Alex Bowman (75/1) will go off 11th on Sunday, but he is a risky proposition given his 28.8 AFP in four career starts at the track. Hendrick's Chase Elliott (20/1) is on Row 6 along with Bowman, and he is also a risky play. He has struggled mightily at LVMS, posting a terrible 27.8 AFP in four career starts at the track. He has qualified very well with a 9.5 Average Starting Position, but he has three DNFs.
Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson (7/1) has had a ton of success in his six career starts at LVMS, posting three Top 5s and four Top 10s with an 11.3 AFP. He will start seventh in Sunday's race.