Racing season is well under way, and after a long-delayed Daytona race that offered no real insight into who was looking good early on, we saw Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick shoot to the top at California last weekend. Ah, that’s more like it. And there was Mark Martin, as usual, not winning but in the top 5. This weekend is round 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Let’s take a look.
This wildly popular track is 1.5 miles of speed, speed, speed. And here are my predictions. Tony Stewart makes his first statement of the season and finishes in the top 3. He’s run fine in both races so far, just in the middle of the pack, and currently sits at 17th in the early season standings. Him and Jeff Gordon love the speed tracks, and I expect both to stay in the hunt barring car trouble. They both have good cars that just need a little room to breath here.
I’d also keep an eye on Kurt Busch, and bet him in a one-on-one matchup with guys like Earnhardt or Burton in this one. He’s another guy who’s just not going to be kept down for long, and all the big names want to establish themselves as early as possible. It’s not really as easy to climb the points ladder as Jimmie made in look in 2009.
The Las Vegas track can get a little messy, so I’d be hesitant to throw all my eggs behind a single driver on a NASCAR odds long-shot, even if it is Jimmie, Dale or any of the other aforementioned speedsters. I feel safer, especially early on, taking a few smaller, targeted bets. That said, it never hurts to throw a long-shot in the mix for a moderate or small amount of money, just don’t bet the farm on Tony Stewart taking the checkered flag. One misplaced oil slick in the pit can take 3 seconds off someone’s time, which – as we all know – can be the difference between first and 20th.