We head to Viva Las Vegas this weekend for the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday. This 2021 season is screaming right along, as we’re already to race #4! Las Vegas is a standard “cookie cutter” 1.5-mile track, and if you’re looking to dig into the data this week, the last four races that the Cup Series has raced here were all under the current package. My video for the week is down below, but I like to throw together all of the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks when looking at data for these races, and last year those races were at the following tracks: Las Vegas (twice), Kansas (twice), Texas (twice), Charlotte (twice), and Kentucky.
Kevin Harvick is on the pole for Sunday’s race at Las Vegas with last week’s winner, William Bryon, starting 2nd. You can click here to see the Pennzoil 400 Starting Lineup. With several “good” drivers wrecking last week at the Daytona Road Course, there is quite a bit of place differential chalk this week, but that might not be the best thing to focus on solely with your Slingshot lineup. I explain why in the video below.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
My Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order was posted earlier today and you can check it out by clicking here! Also, if you enjoy the FREE NASCAR content on this site and everything it has to offer, consider supporting by donating here.
Jordan’s Strategy Breakdown Video
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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Las Vegas
Joey Logano ($11,600) – I have some small concerns about Penske Racing and their lack of speed at Homestead, but this is a new week, and this organization is really good at this track. So while there are some concerns, they’re minor. Looking at Logano from an overall perspective, he’s a really good value at just $11,600 and starting 15th, which gives him place differential room. Only Kevin Harvick has a better average finish at Las Vegas than Joey Logano over the last four races at this track, and the #22 Ford has went to victory lane in the last two Pennzoil 400s. As long as Penske doesn’t have any major issues going on, Joey is a safe fantasy option here on Sunday in pretty much all formats, but especially in leagues with place differential factored in–like the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.
Ryan Blaney ($11,100) – I’m more concerned with Ryan Blaney’s lack of speed over the last two weeks than I am with Joey Logano but still… Ryan Blaney starting 26th at Las Vegas makes him an excellent Slingshot Fantasy NASCAR pick. He could easily end up being the highest-scoring driver in this game on Sunday. Blaney has finished 7th or better in six of his last eight starts at this track, including three top 5s in the last six. He also had the best average running position (6.2) on low-wear intermediates in 2020, as well as the 3rd-best average finish (7.7). Pairing the Penske trio together to start your Slingshot lineup for this weekend is a solid base to begin with.
Matt DiBenedetto ($9,100) – We’re now past Homestead and the demands of a changing race track with major tire wear. Las Vegas Motor Speedway will just depend on track position and keeping the car off the wall. Yeah, Matt DiBenedetto has been incredibly disappointing to start off 2021 in Fantasy NASCAR–he’s averaging 16 points per race in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest–but this guy had an average finish of 12.6 on the low-wear intermediates last year with an average running position of 12.5. Here at Las Vegas, DiBenedetto finished 2nd in both races last season. You shouldn’t expect him to have another performance like that, but even a top 15 result will give him a good score in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest on Sunday.
William Byron ($10,000) – If you’re not feeling Kevin Harvick dominating and leading the most laps this race, the next best option might be William Byron. His track record here at Vegas is shaky–only one top 15 finish in six starts–but he runs a lot better than he finishes. Plus, Hendrick Motorsports has been really solid here in Sin City and on intermediate tracks as a whole over the last couple of years. Looking at the last three Vegas races, Byron has five top 10 Stage finishes in a total of six chances, but he’s just had a problem finishing races. Over the last four races here, his average running position is 10.8, which is 6th-best in the series. If Byron can lead a significant number of laps on Sunday and pick up a Stage win or two, he should be able to put up a great Slingshot NASCAR Fantasy score at only $10,000 in salary.
Ross Chastain ($7,600) – Except for his absolutely egregious block on Matt DiBenedetto at Homestead, Ross Chastain had a relatively clean race in Florida last weekend and came home with a solid 17th-place finish. That’s about all you can ask out of a rookie at Homestead, in my opinion. Now as far as Las Vegas goes, Ross has actually made quite a few Cup Series starts here in his career–four with Premium Motorsports and one with Roush Fenway. His best finish thus far has been 20th but he could end up surprising people on Sunday. Chastain came home 10th in Stage 1 when he drive the Roush car in this race last year before ultimately finishing 27th, and you have to like the fact that Kyle Larson was a constant top 10 threat in this #42 Chevrolet at this track when he was still in that car. Ross starts 21st on Sunday so he has some place differential potential along with surprise value. He should be quite low-owned as well, so you get off-sequence.
Anthony Alfredo ($6,600) – Last week at Homestead, Anthony Alfredo had a pretty respectable day in the fact that he brought the car home in one piece and finished better than he started. If he does that again this weekend, he could be the perfect final driver for your Slingshot Fantasy NASCAR lineup. As I mentioned in my video, I still like Corey LaJoie ($6,500) better in this price range, but I could see Alfredo doing well. John Hunter Nemechek finished 24th and 20th in the two Las Vegas races last year while driving this #38 Ford. For what it’s worth, Alfredo started and finished 8th here at Vegas in the Xfinity race last season.
“Race Winner” Pick = Chase Elliott – I’m going to go against the algorithm this week… well, kind of. My algorithm still has Chase Elliott predicted to finish 3rd on Sunday but he’s quite a but down from Harvick and Truex in the Power Index. I just really like what I’ve seen out of Chase with this package at Las Vegas despite the poor finishes. In addition to having the 2nd-best average running position (7.0) here over the last four races, Chase also has the most fastest laps (142) and the 3rd-most laps led (155). He’s also collected Stage points in 13 of the last 14 Stage cautions, and has won three of the last four. Chase could very well end up on my actual Slingshot roster as well for Sunday.