If I can take a quick moment to discuss – I am thankful that Ryan Newman was ok. For anyone who watched the race, you can see how close he was to the finish line and how hard he was trying to get the win. That coupled with help from Ryan Blaney behind him and a race chalk full of bumping and accidents led to a very emotional Daytona. I think the sport is collectively thankful everyone is alive and healthy and I imagine a lot of discussion will come from the many side stories that came away from this race.
Race: Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube
Date: February 23rd @ 3:30pm EST
Venue: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
2019 Winner: Joey Logano (2:34:11)
Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Built as a road course with a drag strip in 1972. It was later purchased by Richie Clyne and morphed into the current track in 1996. The 1.5 mile asphalt oval has banking turns of 20 degrees with a front and backstretch of 9 degrees. The track itself has seen success in ratings and revenue brought in. So much so that it took a race from New Hampshire in 2018.
Joey Logano (first selection this year) — Vegas belongs to Joey, he has averaged a finish in the top five over the last four years and if you saw him at Daytona last week, he’s has not lost his edge at pushing and fighting for the top spot.
Martin Truex Jr. (first selection this year) — Last week has not, and typically is not, his type of race. Add to that he slammed into a gas can left by Chase Elliott out of pit row. Vegas on the other hand, he has been inside the top five here each of the last three years.
High Risk/High Reward
Brad Keselowski (first selection this year) — Brad has been a top 10 finisher here four years straight. The reason there is risk is that even removing last week when he wrecked and finished 36th, he had not top 10 finishes in the last three races of last season and he had just one in the top ten among the last seven races in 2019.
Aric Almirola (second selection this year) — Doubling down on Aric who has been in the top 10 the last two years here. Similar to Brad, he had just one finish in the top 20 in the last five races of 2019. He looked good during parts of Daytona.
The Dark Horse
Austin Dillon (first selection this year) — Austin’s finishes at Vegas over the last four years: 20th, 12th, 13th, 11th, 25th, 5th and 20th. The 25th and 20th were in 2017 and 2015 so over the last two years he has been somewhat consistently in the 11-13 area. For a racer who finished 21st last year in Monster Energy Cup Series that’s good value.
Fun Fact: Last year, all three segments in this race went without a delay due to weather, accident or debris. This was the first time this had happened since 2002 Talladega. I would not be surprised to see a similar thing happen this week as drivers will be more cautious.
Favorite: Avg Finish 22th (54th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Avg Finish 23rd (54th Percent)
Dark Horse: Avg Finish 14th (35th Percent)