We’re off to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Pennzoil 400. Rain shouldn’t be a factor, but you know how it goes, NASCAR could bring rain to the desert, so you never know what will happen on Sunday. The Cup Series has ran twice per season at Las Vegas since the 2018 season, and those are usually vastly different races. For example, last year, the first race was right in the middle of the afternoon while the second race was late in the afternoon and ended at night. Also, the second race was a Playoff race, and we all know how those go with the Playoff drivers generally performing better. Just something to think about as you analyze recent track history this weekend.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. racing at Talladega 2020
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk | Getty Images

Ryan Blaney – There are two things that are hurting Ryan Blaney quite a bit with the algorithm this weekend: his very slow start to the 2021 season–not only with finishes but also speed overall–as well as his starting spot back in 26th. Now, we all know that starting position really doesn’t matter at these tracks, as eventually the best cars will get to the front, but there are still some other variables that could hurt Blaney on Sunday due to that starting spot (like issues on pit road thanks to his less-than-optimal selection spot). As far as track history, Blaney has finished 11th or better in seven of his last eight starts at Las Vegas including three top 5s in his last six.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – The algorithm has Stenhouse ranked 20th for this weekend’s race at Las Vegas but there’s a lot more potential there than that. For whatever reason, Ricky Stenhouse turns into a bit of a fantasy stud during the early races here at Las Vegas, as he not only finished 3rd here in last season’s Pennzoil 400, but also 6th in the 2019 spring race, 14th in the 2018 spring race, and 12th back in 2016. Last year on 1.5-mile intermediates, Stenhouse looked promising quite often but also ran into quite a bit of bad luck. Still, in addition to finishing 3rd here at Vegas last year, he ended up 4th at Charlotte, 12th at Texas, and 13th at Atlanta.

Las Vegas Pennzoil 400 Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

RankDriverPower
Index
1.Harvick, Kevin43.35
2.Truex, Jr., Martin41.38
3.Elliott, Chase35.96
4.Keselowski, Brad35.17
5.Larson, Kyle34.81
6.Bowman, Alex33.40
7.Logano, Joey31.67
8.Hamlin, Denny30.12
9.Busch, Kurt30.11
10.Byron, William26.96
11.Busch, Kyle24.76
12.Blaney, Ryan23.68
13.Dillon, Austin22.12
14.Reddick, Tyler15.67
15.Almirola, Aric14.81
16.Custer, Cole13.95
17.Bell, Christopher13.01
18.DiBenedetto, Matt10.16
19.Newman, Ryan04.13
20.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky02.97
21.McDowell, Michael-01.15
22.Briscoe, Chase-04.03
23.Chastain, Ross-06.94
24.Buescher, Chris-09.04
25.Wallace, Bubba-10.01
26.Preece, Ryan-15.76
27.Jones, Erik-17.49
28.Suarez, Daniel-17.51
29.Alfredo, Anthony-22.60
30.LaJoie, Corey-28.88
31.Haley, Justin-31.90
32.Ware, Cody-36.20
33.Gase, Joey-39.94
34.Smithley, Garrett-40.46
35.Bilicki, Josh-41.37
36.Houff, Quin-41.93
37.McLeod, BJ-42.03
38.Hill, Timmy-44.11
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.