The NASCAR Cup Series is on to race number three of the 2022 season, as we have the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Looking back at last week at Auto Club (the first “real” race in the NextGen Car), there were a lot of surprising happenings along with some stuff that stayed the same–especially with Kyle Larson ending up in victory lane. This week, we’re at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Denny Hamlin went to victory lane last fall after Kyle Larson won the spring race.

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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

William Byron leading with his #24 Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

William Byron – This is noteworthy that the algorithm is predicting William Byron will get a top 5 finish on Sunday even though he’s never finished better than 7th in eight career starts here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A big reason for that, though? Bad luck. Byron has had a lot of bad luck at 1.5-mile tracks throughout his young Cup Series career, but last season this #24 team found a ton of speed on the intermediates, and they brought another fast hot rod with them this weekend to Sin City as well. In practice on Saturday, Willy B ranked 2nd-fastest in 5- and 10-lap average, while being the fastest in 15- and 20-lap average.

Daniel Hemric – Reminder: like I said last weekend, the algorithm isn’t going to be super accurate with the rookies and drivers with a limited amount of data. Last week at Auto Club Speedway, Daniel Hemric had early race issues but still clawed back to grab a 9th-place finish, and was 16th-fastest on the track during that final segment. The Kaulig Racing cars have speed, and Hemric will roll off from 16th here at Vegas on Sunday despite posting the 9th-fastest lap in practice on Saturday. If he has an incident-free race, he should be much better than the 27th the algorithm is predicting for him.


Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

1.Larson, Kyle42.33
2.Blaney, Ryan37.96
3.Elliott, Chase36.58
4.Byron, William36.57
5.Logano, Joey35.03
6.Bowman, Alex34.53
7.Hamlin, Denny32.24
8.Reddick, Tyler32.17
9.Busch, Kyle32.03
10.Truex, Jr., Martin31.02
11.Busch, Kurt26.98
12.Harvick, Kevin24.65
13.Bell, Christopher23.88
14.Dillon, Austin16.96
15.Keselowski, Brad10.43
16.Buescher, Chris05.06
17.Almirola, Aric-02.65
18.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-04.39
19.Cindric, Austin-05.87
20.Chastain, Ross-10.53
21.Briscoe, Chase-11.30
22.Suarez, Daniel-12.15
23.Jones, Erik-15.80
24.Custer, Cole-16.87
25.Wallace, Bubba-19.87
26.Burton, Harrison-21.22
27.Hemric, Daniel-25.49
28.McDowell, Michael-27.66
29.Haley, Justin-30.14
30.Dillon, Ty-33.23
31.Biffle, Greg-35.87
32.LaJoie, Corey-38.57
33.Gilliland, Todd-39.03
34.McLeod, BJ-41.49
35.Ware, Cody-41.51
36.Smithley, Garrett-43.02
37.Bilicki, Josh-43.44
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.