Quick Hits on Vegas
There was a lot of anticipation leading up to Sunday's race. After the attempt at qualifying on Friday, some of that anticipation wasn't necessarily positive. A lot of fans (unrealistically) expected side by side, door to door racing non-stop for 400 miles, while a lot of fans were more curious as to what the newly implemented rules package would give us.
Much like Atlanta the week before, there were mad scrambles at the start and on subsequent restarts, often resulting in three or four wide racing. After a few laps, drivers would settle into position. There were a lot of good battles for position throughout the day and a good mix of leaders at the front of the field. The lack of on-track cautions was a pleasant surprise and something few expected. It's always good to see a clean race.
The Penske Fords were the class of the field which could spell trouble for a lot of other teams. Winner Joey Logano seems more confident than ever after winning the title last season. Teammate Brad Keselowski followed up last week's win with a solid second. It'll be interesting to watch when or if the others catch up to them at future mile-and-a-half-tracks.
One of the best stories of the day involved Kurt Busch. He paid homage to Star Nursery, his Southwest Tour sponsor from 20 years ago. Not only was that a tremendous gesture but it made for one of the best looking schemes the series has seen lately. The car had the look of a short track Saturday car. Even better was the fact Busch was able to lead a lot of laps and stay up front. Kurt Busch is going to win and win soon with Ganassi.
It was also good to see Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. running near the front. Fairly or not, he's received a lot of criticism lately. He's made it obvious he doesn't care. He seems pretty confident and a sixth place finish today will probably increase that. It was his first top 10 finish since the Talladega race last fall. That run was needed for both him and for Roush-Fenway. It's too early to predict how this season will play out for him but if he's able to brush off the critics, stay confident and put together some more strong runs, it will add another layer of intrigue as 2019 progresses.
So now it's on to Phoenix, where Kevin Harvick has reigned supreme. Let's see if that continues or if the Penske cars have something to say about it. With Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin running strong as well, it's another race to look forward to. Is it race day yet?