What to watch: Complete guide to visiting the Cup Series in Las Vegas

Jennifer Fisher | NASCAR Digital Media

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s visit to Las Vegas, the third regular-season NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2022 campaign.

Race day info

Or: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile D-shaped oval
Green flag: 3:49 p.m. ET
Grand Marshal: Marcus Allen, professional football legend
Overview: Heritage Flight: (1) F-16, (1) F-35, (1) F-22, (1) F-15
TV/Radio: FOX Radio, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR
Forecast: Sunny, with a high near 62 degrees, according to the National Weather Service
Race grant: $8,483,997
Race distance: 267 rounds | 400.5 miles
Steps: 80 | 165 | 267
Pit road speed: 45 mph
Warning car speed: 55 mph
Vegas 101: Get full truth
List of registrants: see all the drivers and all the teams

Line up:
Starting lineup for Sunday
Practice Events: Practice results | Hard blow for Kyle Busch
Preparing for pit road: Which club is the best in Las Vegas?

Five things to watch out for

1. The first two races of the NASCAR Cup Series season produced a variety of top-10 finalists, with 19 different drivers filling those spots after the year-opening Daytona 500 and weekend event last at the Auto Club Speedway. The question for this weekend’s 400 mile at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is whether the trend can continue. Only Aric Almirola – fifth at Daytona, sixth at the Auto Club – is a repeat visitor to the top 10, a shot of consistency that places him early seventh in the Cup Series standings. Among those yet to scratch the top 10 column are some familiar names: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., William Byron, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Alex Bowman – all of whom qualified for the Cup playoffs Series last year. | Parity party, for the openers | Weekend schedule

2. Kyle Larson heads into the third race of 2022 with his first win of the season already in his pocket. The defending Cup Series champion is also the defending winner of the race in Las Vegas, and his victory here in 2021 sparked what would become a 10-win campaign that culminated in his first series title. The #5 Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports driver ruffled some internal feathers on his way to victory at Club Auto last week, brushing past teammate Chase Elliott in the closing laps. Larson still has a warm hand, with five wins in the last seven Cup Series races dating back to last season. Unsurprisingly, he’s the 5-1 favorite in the latest Vegas odds, and he’ll start from second on Sunday. | Preview of the show: all bets are off | Debate: Larson vs. Elliott? | Latest odds

3. The new Cup Series practice and qualifying method was changed this weekend, with NASCAR competition officials changing from two 15-minute sessions grouped separately to a single 35-minute stint for all cars. The move was made to give teams more track time with the new Next Gen car model, which makes its first stop of the season at a 1.5-mile track. Last weekend’s testing at the Auto Club was interrupted by multiple crashes. On Saturday in Vegas, Kyle Busch absorbed the only major incident with a badly damaged No. 18 Toyota after it spun into the wall at Turn 3. He did not participate in qualifying and will start from the back of the field during Sunday’s 400. | Bell hooks Busch’s light pole; practice summary

4. One team looking for an early rebound is Ryan Blaney’s Team Penske Group No. 12. After battling for victory at the season-opening Daytona 500, Blaney endured a rocky race at the Auto Club, with an apparent set-up issue that made pit stops difficult and resulted in a net loss of positions on pit road. He came back in the chase several times, but a near spin on the last lap left him 18th. Blaney finished fifth in each of the Cup Series visits to Las Vegas last year, and Vegas Sportsbook is optimistic about his prospects, putting him 10-1 near the top of the table.

5. The Cup Series is heading to its first 1.5-mile track on the schedule, but the rules setup will remain the same as last weekend’s package for the Auto Club 2-mile layout. The baseline of 670 target horsepower with a 4-inch-tall rear wing will be in effect in Las Vegas, as it will be on the majority of the tracks on the 2022 roster. The event is also the mid-level event for the Western Sweep of three races on the calendar – a period that includes the Auto Club, Vegas and next weekend’s trip to Phoenix Raceway. | Set of basic rule configurations | Configurations per lane for 2022

March 5, 2022 Las Vegas W2w2 Main Image
Series carriers with the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Main Grandstand as a backdrop | Jennifer Fisher | NASCAR Digital Media

Race Day Essentials

Our biggest bits of the week – get covered for race day from every angle.

• Power ratings: RCR’s Austin Dillon makes early career progress | Latest Rankings
• Paint scheme preview:
New Next Gen looks debut in Las Vegas | See plans
• Preview of the show:
Is a similar action planned for Sin City? | Watch the show
• Fantastic Fast Lane:
Putting Penske’s pace to the test in Vegas | Top games, sleepers

Catch the pack

Abbie Parr |  Getty Images
Abbie Parr | Getty Images

Read headlines from the week leading up to Sunday’s race.

• Distribute wealth: New Faces Rank Top 10 | Full analysis
• Testicular teammates? : Kyle Larson says team conference is ‘a good meeting to have’ | Read more
• Technical corner:
Next Gen offers solid data on repairs, adjustments | Read more
• Penalties:
No. 38 crew docked for lost wheel violation; team calls | Penalty report
• In the study: NASCAR officials work to relieve stranded cars | Learn more
• A fan’s journey:
Chip Swanson isn’t letting Parkinson’s slow his Daytona experience | Read more
• Fantastic Choices:
Erik Jones’ hopes grow for Vegas | See more
• First glimpses:
Cole Custer: ‘It’s anybody’s game right now’ | Watch more

Get in on the action

NASCAR Fantasy Live
NASCAR creative design

Think you know NASCAR? Test your mettle with play, fantasy.

• Play live: Complete NASCAR Fantasy Live 2022 Game Guide | Get the FAQ
• First surprises:
Teams with Exceeded Expectations So Far | Watch more
• What are the chances?: Las Vegas Betting Odds | See favorites
• PariMGM:
Reason for Tyler Reddick’s optimism in Vegas | Expert advice
• The Action Network: Why William Byron is a bet right now for Vegas | I found why
• Players at the back: Inside Head-to-Head Battles for Vegas | Which bets are the best?
• Choice of accessories: Try your hand at matches for Las Vegas | Featured Selections
• Go until the end : 2022 Cup Series Championship Odds Update | See them here

Arrival in Las Vegas

The Las Vegas track had its share of memorable moments – take a look at the history and features of the location.

• Conquerors of Sin City: Unprecedented victories in Las Vegas | All Winners
• Forward pace:
Top 10 Tour Leaders in Las Vegas | See the list
• Cherish the time:
Las Vegas Memorable Moments | Remember when
• What width?:
Strategies Abound for Las Vegas Pit Road | Watch failure
• Take me back:
Recap of Kyle Larson’s 2021 win | Read more
• Press rewind:
All the best highlights from the 2021 race | Watch them here

Fast facts

Hard-hitting, race-relevant stats from the experts at Racing Insights.

Only one driver has won in Las Vegas after taking pole position – Kyle Buschin 2009.
Stewart-Haas Racing has the most top-10 finishes this year with four.
• Kyle Larson scored the most points (440) on 1.5-mile tracks last season.
The Cup Series champions have won 13 of the last 14 races in Las Vegas.
• Brad Keselowski has placed seventh or better in 12 of the last 13 Vegas events.

Say what?

Notable quotes from sports stars ahead of Sunday’s race.

Meg Oliphant |  Getty Images
Meg Oliphant | Getty Images

“I think nobody has an edge anymore. Nobody knows a lot of those points that we just talked about that lack practice. Nobody really knows if they’re going to be good or not. I think that’s Funny when I get this question How are you going to race this weekend No idea I used to get an idea, in your opinion, when we were going to Vegas Yeah that’s the “one of my best tracks. I should be really good. I have no idea how we’re going to race. The good thing is though, it’s still a race car. It still has four tires. It’s still going fast. It’s still Vegas and a lot of things I’ve done in the past will probably work with this car as a driver, but with the setup and stuff it’s going to be completely different. #22 Penske Ford Team driver Joey Logano on tuning the Next Gen car at the start of the 2022 season

“I think what NASCAR has done with this Next Gen car is something that I think we’re already seeing the results of. We’re going to look back a few years from now, five years from now and we’re going to be very , very grateful to have done this thing called the Next Gen car. It just brought opportunities for new players in the game. I don’t think without the Next Gen car, I don’t think Trackhouse would be here, I don’t think 23XI (Racing) would be there I’m sure there are more team owners thinking about it maybe now that there is a Next Gen car So yes, answering this question , I really think the competition and the way we compete with this Next Gen car is much more on the level than before. #99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet driver Daniel Suarez on the benefits of the Next Gen car

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