NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
Las Vegas Motor Speedway The Purse: $8,960,174
Sunday, March 5 3:30 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (267 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 165), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 267)
NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300
Las Vegas Motor Speedway The Purse: $1,716,356
Saturday, March 4 4:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 3:30 p.m. ET Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 presented by Westgate Resorts
Las Vegas Motor Speedway The Purse: $703,062
Friday, March 3 9 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30) Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)
NASCAR Cup Series
Chastain jumps to Cup standings lead for the first-time in his career
If you thought Trackhouse Racing driver Ross Chastain’s success last season was a fluke – think again. The Florida native is full throttle this season and following a dominate performance at Auto Club Speedway he now leads the NASCAR Cup Series point standings by one-point over Team Penske’s Joey Logano in second – this is the first time Chastain has held the series’ point standings lead in his career.
The 30-year-old, Chastain, is one of four drivers this season to finish in the top-10 in the first two races of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, along with Joey Logano, Alex Bowman and his Trackhouse Racing teammate Daniel Suárez.
Chastain will look to hold on to the top spot this weekend at Las Vegas, where he has made nine career Cup Series starts posting two top-five finishes; including a runner-up finish back in October.
Busch grabs first win with RCR, becomes second driver to lock into the Playoffs
Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch didn’t take much time finding Victory Lane with his new team. The Las Vegas native scored his 61st career win last weekend at Auto Club Speedway – in just his second start with RCR. With the win, Busch is now the second driver to lock themselves into the Playoffs this season, joining JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won the season-opening DAYTONA 500.
The Fontana victory also etched Busch’s name on another page of the series’ record books, bringing his consecutive seasons with a win total to 19 NASCAR Cup Series seasons (2005-2023), the most all-time, breaking the tie with NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty (18 seasons, 1960-1977).
This weekend, Busch returns to his home track looking to keep the early season momentum going. Busch has made 23 series starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway putting up two poles, one win, 11 top fives and 14 top 10s. His average finish at the 1.5-mile track is 10.8 – third-best among active drivers.
Next Gen is off to another hot start statistically
The sophomore season of the NASCAR Next Gen car is off to a hot start.
This season the NASCAR Cup Series has produced an average of 17 different lap leaders through the first two races of the year; which is tied with the 2011 and 2010 seasons for the NASCAR Cup Series most in the Modern Era (1972-2023).
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced and average of 40 lead changes through the first two races of the season – second-most in the Modern Era (1972-2023) behind the 2011 season with an average of 52 lead changes through the first two races. In total, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 80 lead changes in the first two events – Daytona (52) and Fontana (28).
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 239 Green Flag Passes for the Lead in the first two points-paying races of the year (Daytona 204 GFPL and Fontana 35 GFPL) – the series-most through the first two races since the Loop Data statistic was initially tabulated in 2007 (last 17 seasons). In a year-over-year comparison, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season with 239 Green Flag Passes for the Lead, has produced an increase of 74.5% over the 2022 season’s first two races with 137 Green Flag Passes for the Lead.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 15,050 Total Green Flag Passes in the first two points-paying races of the year (Daytona 11,538 GFP and Fontana 3,512 GFP) – the fourth-most through the first two races since the Loop Data statistic was initially tabulated in 2007 (last 17 seasons); behind 2015 (16,186), 2014 (15,903) and 2016 (15,305). In a year-over-year comparison, the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season with 15,050 Total Green Flag Passes, has produced an increase of 64.3% over the 2022 season’s first two races with 9,158 Total Green Flag Passes.
NASCAR Cup Series is ready to roll the dice at Las Vegas
The NASCAR Cup Series is ready for some high-speed action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Sunday, March 5 in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio); the first race on a 1.5-mile track this season.
The construction to build the facility known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998. The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was an ARCA Menards Series West race won by Ken Schrader on November 2, 1996. The first NASCAR Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998. NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Jarrett won the pole for the event and Mark Martin won the race.
In total there have been 30 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile track has hosted one NASCAR Cup Series race per season from 1998 to 2017. Starting in 2018, Las Vegas has hosted two NASCAR Cup Series events per year.
A total of 19 different drivers have won a pole in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Eight of the 19 NASCAR Cup Series Las Vegas Motor Speedway pole winners are active this weekend. Kasey Kahne leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with three (2004, 2007, 2012). Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in poles at Las Vegas with two (2008, 2009).
Active Las Vegas Pole Winners Poles Seasons
Kyle Busch 2 2008, 2009
Christopher Bell 1 2022
Tyler Reddick 1 2022
Kevin Harvick 1 2019
Erik Jones 1 2018
Ryan Blaney 1 2018
Brad Keselowski 1 2017
Joey Logano 1 2014
A total of 17 different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Eight of the 17 NASCAR Cup Series Las Vegas Motor Speedway winners are active this weekend. Jimmie Johnson leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four victories (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010).
Brad Keselowski (2014, 2016, 2018) and Joey Logano (2019, 2020, 2022) leads all active drivers this weekend in wins at Las Vegas with three victories each.
Active Las Vegas Race Winners Wins Seasons
Brad Keselowski 3 2018, 2016, 2014
Joey Logano 3 2022, 2020, 2019
Kevin Harvick 2 2018, 2015
Martin Truex Jr 2 2019, 2017
Alex Bowman 1 2022
Denny Hamlin 1 2021
Kyle Larson 1 2021
Kyle Busch 1 2009
Vegas is in the palm of Joey Logano’s hand
No driver has been as dominant in the last eight NASCAR Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway than Team Penske’s Joey Logano. He is the only driver to win multiple races at the 1.5-mile track during that span hoisting three trophies (2019, 2020, 2022), including the most recent Playoff race last October. Now, the 32-year-old, Logano, is looking to become the fourth different driver to win consecutive races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, joining Jeff Burton (1999-2000), Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson (2005-2007).
Logano has made 19 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway posting one pole, three wins, seven top fives and 12 top 10s.
Worth noting, Logano is one of five reigning NASCAR Cup Series champions that have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season of their title run: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2010), Tony Stewart (2012), Kevin Harvick (2015), and Joey Logano (2019).
Five different winners in last five races at Vegas
Las Vegas loves winners, and this weekend 36 different drivers will compete for the NASCAR Cup Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube on Sunday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Las Vegas has produced five different winners in the last five Cup races – Kurt Busch (Sept. 2020), Kyle Larson (Mar. 2021), Denny Hamlin (Sept. 2021), Alex Bowman (Mar. 2022) and Joey Logano (Oct. 2022). Will we see a sixth different winner this weekend?
A total of 17 different drivers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and eight of the 17 are active this weekend. The four previous Vegas victors that could keep the different winners streak alive on Sunday are veterans Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch. Keselowski has three wins at Las Vegas (2014, 2016, 2018), Harvick (2015, 2018) and Truex Jr. (2017, 2019) each have two, and Kyle Busch, the Vegas native, is the only driver in series history to win from the pole at the track (2009).
Two drivers looking to end the different winners streak are Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Alex Bowman, the defending winner of the spring race at Las Vegas, and Team Penske’s Joey Logano, the defending winner of last season’s Las Vegas Playoff race. Bowman has made 11 series career starts at Las Vegas posting one win, two top fives and three top 10s. Logano has made 19 series starts at Las Vegas posting three wins, seven top fives and 12 top 10s.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Spotlight: Gibbs hops out front – Just two races into the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season and the battle for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors is already tight. Both rookies have managed to win a rookie of the race award, but it is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs that has taken the rookie standings lead by 10 points over Legacy Motor Club’s Noah Gragson following his top-20 finish (16th) at Auto Club Speedway.
This season, the 20-year-old Gibbs, has put up a 25th-place finish at Daytona and a 16th at Fontana. The Charlotte, North Carolina native has earned a total of 38 points this season and is ranked 17th in the overall series driver standings.
In Gibbs review mirror is his only rookie challenger this season, Noah Gragson, who is currently 22nd in the overall series driver standings with 28 points. The 24-year-old Las Vegas native has finished 24th at Daytona and 22nd at Fontana.
Both rookies made their series track debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last October, with Gragson putting up the best finish of the two drivers (11th). Gibbs posted a 22nd-place finish.
Uncle Kracker headlines pre-race concert at Las Vegas – Uncle Kracker, the multiplatinum singer-songwriter, will headline the pre-race entertainment on Sunday, March 5 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a pre-race concert on the frontstretch. The Michigan native will perform hits from each one of his albums. He is expected to take the stage at the speedway at approximately 11 a.m.
“There’s no better way to kick off this NASCAR party,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “Uncle Kracker’s music appeals to race fans of all ages and demos, and we know everyone will be in for a good time.”
Long-time Las Vegas headliner Terry Fator to sing National Anthem at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Terry Fator, winner of season two of America’s Got Talent, will perform the national anthem before the start of the Pennzoil 400 race on Sunday March 5.
The Dallas-bred entertainer led a record-breaking 11-year run at The Mirage, where he performed in front of millions. Fator recently opened his new Las Vegas show, “Terry Fator: Who’s the Dummy Now?” at Liberty Loft inside New York-New York Hotel & Casino.
USAF Thunderbirds to kick off Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas – They’re back! The USAF Thunderbirds that is.
At the conclusion of the National Anthem, the Thunderbirds will punctuate the pre-race activities with a six-jet, Delta formation flyover, launching out of their home station, Nellis Air Force Base.
America’s “Ambassadors in Blue” are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year. The Thunderbirds’ F-16 Fighting Falcons are assigned to the Air Combat Command and the team includes 12 officers and 120 enlisted personnel who perform more than 70 aerobatic demonstrations at approximately 35 locations throughout the year.
Nevada Governor Lombardo named Honorary Pace-Car Driver at Las Vegas – Gov. Joe Lombardo will lead the state of Nevada for the next four years, and on March 5 he’ll lead the field to the green flag as the honorary pace-car driver for the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Lombardo, previously Clark County’s sheriff before being elected governor, will pilot the Toyota Camry pace car in front of the 36-car field at the start of the 26th annual event.
“We’re honored to have Gov. Lombardo participate in this ceremonial role in our state’s pre-eminent sports event,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway president Chris Powell. “Gov. Lombardo has long shown great interest in major sports events in Nevada, and we’re proud to welcome him to the Pennzoil 400.”
Lombardo joins current Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, former NFL standout Marshawn Lynch and NHRA star Antron Brown as distinguished figures to pace the field for NASCAR events in Las Vegas.
“Racing has long been a passion of mine, so I’m especially honored to drive the pace-car in the Pennzoil 400 this year,” Lombardo said. “I look forward to participating in this great Las Vegas sports tradition.”
Las Vegas native Bryce Harper named Grand Marshal for Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Las Vegas native and two-time National League Most Valuable Player Bryce Harper has been named grand marshal for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 12-year veteran outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, a Las Vegas High School graduate, will deliver the command to start engines for the 26th annual NASCAR Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I’ve been a fan of NASCAR for quite some time now, so being asked to give the command, especially at my hometown track, just checks off another box on my to-do list as a fan,” Harper said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of this awesome event.”
NASCAR celebrates Wendell Scott at Las Vegas – This weekend the cars in all three NASCAR national series will have an opportunity to carry a tribute decal to honor NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott on their B or C Posts.
Wendell Scott was inducted into the 2015 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Scott made his first start in NASCAR’s premier series on March 4, 1961 at Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds in Spartanburg, S.C. He made 23 starts that season, posting five top-five finishes. On Dec. 1, 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first African American to win a NASCAR premier series event. Scott won the 100-mile feature race after starting 15th.
Over the next 13 years, Scott would make 495 starts. In his distinguished career, Scott accumulated 20 top-five finishes including eight of them in the same season he won his first career race, 1964.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Auto Club Speedway opens and closes with the Nemecheks
After some rain and snow postponed the NASCAR Xfinity Series Auto Club Speedway race from Saturday to Sunday, John Hunter Nemechek became the last winner on the two-mile circuit – a special moment as his father, Joe Nemechek, won the first NASCAR Cup Series pole in the history of Auto Club Speedway.
His win marked the third of his Xfinity Series career and his second with Joe Gibbs Racing (his first with JGR was in 2021 when he ran select races for the team).
Nemechek is off to a hot start in his first full time season with Joe Gibbs Racing behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota. In the season opener at Daytona, he pulled off a runner-up finish and then backed it up by snagging the checkered flag last weekend at Auto Club.
Now he heads to Las Vegas where he’s put up some good stats in the Xfinity Series. In his four starts, he’s posted one top five and two top 10s with a best finish of second in 2019.
If he were to win this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it wouldn’t be the first time in his career that he posts back-to-back victories. He first pulled off consecutive wins in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2017 at World Wide Technology Raceway and Iowa Speedway, then again in 2021 with wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series takes on Sin City
To keep the West Coast swing alive, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Alsco Uniforms 300 on Saturday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.
This will be the 32nd NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Nevada track, producing 22 different race winners and 18 different pole winners. Six races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Chase Briscoe in 2020.
JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier has made his name known at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, currently holding the Xfinity Series records for most top fives (nine), most top 10s (14), most lead lap finishes (15) and most laps completed (3,329).
NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with four (1999, 2005, 2008 and 2011).
Allgaier’s JRM teammate, Josh Berry, is the track’s most recent winner (2022) – his second victory on the 1.5- mile oval.
Berry is not the only previous winner entered in this weekend’s Alsco Uniforms 300. He is also joined by Kyle Busch (2016, 2019), who will be piloting the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing and Tyler Reddick (2019) who will be driving the No. 24 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota.
This weekend’s practice is scheduled for Friday, March 3 at 6:35 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Who’s taking home the jackpot?
Although there are three previous winners entered in this weekend’s Xfinity Series race, there could be a different driver who hits the jackpot on Saturday.
Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric has hit the Las Vegas track quite a few times and has put up some good numbers. In his nine starts, he’s posted four top fives and six top 10s. In last season’s March Las Vegas race, he snagged a third-place finish.
JR Motorsports’ Brandon Jones is no stranger to racing in Sin City. He’s made 12 starts, posting two top fives and nine top 10s. In both Las Vegas races last season, he finished within the top-10.
Sunoco Rookie class in full swing
With a top-five finish last weekend at Auto Club, Chandler Smith stays atop the Sunoco Rookie of the Year class with 76 points, putting him in fourth in the overall standings.
Parker Retzlaff slides in behind Chandler Smith with 51 points and currently sits 11th in the overall standings.
Sammy Smith and Blaine Perkins take up the third and fourth place spots in the rookie class, respectively. Smith finished 19th at Auto Club and goes into Vegas with 44 points. Perkins rounds out the class with seven points.
Chandler Smith and Sammy Smith will be making their debuts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Xfinity Series this weekend. Retzlaff and Perkins go into the weekend with one start each – Retzlaff finished in 21st (2022) and Perkins finished 20th in 2021.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Triple duty for Kyle Busch – NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Busch will be pulling not double, but triple duty this weekend at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
He will kick off his weekend behind the wheel of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. He has made six Truck Series starts at Las Vegas, posting three wins, five top fives and six top 10s.
He will then climb into the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In his 15 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas, he has posted two wins, five top fives and six top 10s.
Busch will close out the weekend in his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for his 24th Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In his previous 23 starts, he’s posted one win (2009), 11 top fives and 14 top 10s.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Back At It: CRAFTSMAN Truck Series heads to Las Vegas
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series drivers and teams had last weekend off to recharge and regroup after an action-packed race in Daytona to open the 2023 season but this weekend they are back for the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this Friday, March 3 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Fans last saw Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith make his second trip to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway in his No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford. Smith heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in hopes of taking the checkered flag and becoming the fourth driver in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series to post back-to-back wins to start the season, joining Mark Martin (2006: Daytona Auto Club), Johnny Sauter (2013: Daytona Martinsville) and Ben Rhodes (2021: Daytona, Daytona Road Course).
Kyle Busch leads the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with three (2018, 2019 and 2020). But he isn’t the only former winner entered in the race this weekend, Busch will be joined by John Hunter Nemechek (2021), Christian Eckes (2020), Grant Enfinger (2018) and Ben Rhodes (2017).
NASCAR Trucks are sittin’ pretty in Sin City
There have been 30 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, producing 25 different race winners and 21 different pole winners. Nine races have been won from the pole or first starting position, most recently by Kyle Busch in 2019.
Kyle Busch also holds a couple records in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series at the Nevada track, including the qualifying record with his speed of 178.903 mph in 2019 and he also sits as the winningest driver with three (2018, 2019, 2020) victories.
Also, a record holder at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton. He has posted the most top fives (11), top 10s (17), lead lap finishes (20) and laps completed (3,451).
Last year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chandler Smith fought his way to Victory Lane after battling it out with his then team owner, Kyle Busch, who ultimately posted a runner-up finish. Smith led 32 laps while Busch led 31.
Truck Series drivers will kick off their weekend with practice on Friday, March 3 at 4:35 p.m. ET followed by Cometic Gasket Pole Qualifying at 5:05 p.m. ET.
Max Gutiérrez to race in late brother’s memory
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series rookie Max Gutiérrez was set to make his first Truck Series start at Daytona International Speedway but shortly before the start of the season, his younger brother Fico Gutiérrez was killed in a car accident outside of Mexico City.
After taking some time to mourn the loss of his brother, Gutiérrez decided to come back to the track and honor his late brother at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his fifth Truck Series career start.
“This race is totally dedicated to my brother, Fico, who I’m sure will be with me all the time,” said Gutiérrez. “Racing is the best medicine for me, and Fico was one of the first to congratulate me after our success at Nashville. I will cherish that moment forever. I know he will be racing alongside me in our No. 22 BolsaDX Telcel Ford F-150 and I plan to make him proud on Friday night.”
To honor his brother, Gutiérrez’s No. 22 AM Racing Ford will showcase his brother’s logo on the hood for his first Truck Series start of the season.
The former ARCA Menards Series East winner, Gutiérrez, has four NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series starts under his belt with a career-best eighth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway.
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, Etc.
Zane Smith looks to become eighth driver to win three or more consecutive races – Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith ended last season with a bang by winning the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series championship and carried that momentum into this season with his win at the season opener in Daytona.
If we wins this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he will be the eighth different driver to win three or more consecutive NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races joining Ron Hornaday Jr., Kyle Busch, Johnny Benson, Greg Biffle, Todd Bodine, Kevin Harvick and Mike Skinner.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. leads the Truck Series in most consecutive wins with five straight from June 20, 2009 – August 1, 2009.
Graphics Courtesy of NASCAR