Harvick on a tear
The NASCAR top series are on their western swing. This past week all three series invaded the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The weather included high winds that played havoc with the set ups. A stock car traveling at close to 200 mph encountering 25 to 30 mph winds will really move the car around in the corners and cross winds are even worse. Teams had their work cut out for them.
Even though Atlanta was also a mile and a half track LVMS presents its own set of challenges. Lower progressive banking, along with a track that has become quite bumpy in places and pavement that makes new tires a premium, makes Vegas a gamble for teams to get a handle on.
First up on Friday evening was the Camping World Truck Series running the Stratosphere Hotel and Resort 200. The sky was the limit for sure. Kyle Busch Motorsports looked extremely strong in practice and qualifying. Noah Gragson took his KBM Toyota to the front and won the first stage over his boss man, Kyle Busch. Stuart Friesen broke up the Toyota domination and won the second stage with his Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing.
Three-wide racing and challenges for the lead made for some of the best racing of the weekend. As Johnny Sauter and last week’s winner Brett Moffitt battled for the lead, Kyle Busch saw the opportunity to grab the lead and he held on to capture the win. Sauter finished second and Moffitt had another very strong run and finished third. Grant Enfinger and Stuart Friesen rounded out the top five.
On Saturday afternoon the Xfinity Series racers had their chance to shine in the Boyd’s Gaming 300. Kevin Harvick put on a clinic last week at Atlanta in his Mustang, dominating the competition. This week he never really got going. Kyle Larson was the dominator in his Camaro this time.
Christopher Bell also was strong in his Toyota Camry. He was able to win stage one. Kyle Larson finished strong and was able to grab stage two.
Larson was able to keep the field at bay and took the race win over Bell in his JGR Toyota. Full time Xfinity regular driver Justin Allgaier brought his Jr Motorsports Camaro home third. Ryan Blaney and veteran Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.
On Sunday the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series took to the track for the Pennzoil 400. Kevin Harvick proved that he’s going to be the man to beat on these mile and a half speedways. He swept both stages and won the race driving away from Kyle Busch, who tried every trick to get an advantage. Kyle Larson was strong in the non-Harvick part of the field and finished third. Martin Truex Jr. and his crew worked on their Camry all day and came home fourth. Ryan Blaney grabbed the pole position and had a decent day in his Penske Ford in fifth.
This week’s action brings the teams to the final race at Phoenix International Raceway, as it’s now configured. When the flag falls Sunday a major multi-million dollar renovation project begins and the configuration will be altered with some changes to the banking, and the start/finish line will move to the back straightaway just off of turn two, which will become turn four. This new layout with be used when the playoffs come back for the next to the last race.
Teams are really concerned because Phoenix has been Kevin Harvick’s playground. He has won more races there than any other track. He definitely has “Big Mo” on his side right now. Momentum means so much and Kevin having the confidence of the success he has experienced at PIR will be the driver to beat next weekend in both the Xfinity and Cup divisions.
I’ll be watching to bring you all the action and remember, at the end of those tricky straightaways there’s Another Left Turn.