NASCAR heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Sunday (3:30 p.m., FOX) for the Pennzoil 400. This will be the second race in which drivers will use the new aerodynamic package that emphasizes drafting and pack racing, which fans and bettors saw plenty of in Atlanta last week. However, drivers that raced in clean air, as usual, held the advantage over those behind them. Below are two drivers that qualified in the top 10 that are worth betting this week, and one to avoid.
Kevin Harvick (#4, 9-2)
Harvick won his 26th career pole during Friday’s qualifying session, edging out Denny Hamlin (#11, 20-1) for early command of the Pennzoil 400. It’s the first time in 20 career starts that Harvick will start up front at Las Vegas. His average starting position, per driveraverages.com, is just 17.9.
The California native overcame some severe steering issues and actually led 45 laps at Atlanta before fading to finish fourth as the betting favorite last week. Harvick, who won the 2018 spring race over this course, is once again the betting selection. In 19 prior efforts at Las Vegas, Harvick has won twice and led 452 laps, second among active drivers behind only Jimmie Johnson (#48, 35-1).
Harvick has five wins in his last 25 outings over intermediate ovals, trailing only Martin Truex Jr. (8), and has led the most laps of any driver in that span (1,699). He is a very logical selection this week.
Joey Logano (#22, 8-1)
The defending Monster Energy Cup champion qualified 10th in his Team Penske Ford for his 10th career start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Logano has finished in the top 10 six straight times over this course, though he’s still in search of his first career victory here. His 242 laps led mark at Las Vegas puts him fifth among active NASCAR participants. These 8-1 odds could prove generous on Sunday.
Look but don’t touch: Kyle Busch (#18, 5-1)
Hometown hero Kyle Busch qualified third, but it’s not unusual to see him starting toward the front at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as his average starting position in 15 career races is 9.3, per driveraverages.com. However, his average finishing position is just 12.9, and he’s only led about 16 laps per career start at Las Vegas. Busch has only won once in 15 tries. The price is too low to take on him in the Pennzoil 400.