MENCS: Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race Preview

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads west for the 20th annual Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event in the desert marks just the third race of the brand-new season here in 2017. Brad Keselowski, who will pilot the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske on Sunday, enters the weekend as the defending race winner.

Storylines:

Kevin Harvick comes into the weekend as one of the heavy targets for Sunday.

Last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the California native dominated the race by leading 292 of the 325 laps in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. However, a late-race speeding penalty folded the plan for Harvick that resulted in a ninth-place finish in his No. 4 Ford.

The veteran certainly knows how to get around the 1.5-mile oval this weekend.

In 2015, Harvick led 142 of 267 laps to score his only victory at the oval track. In 16 starts there he holds one victory, four top five and seven top 10 finishes and has an average finish of 13.4.

Brad Keselowski, who went to victory lane last Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, has momentum coming into this weekend’s race. And not only because of last weekend’s victory, but also because he’s the defending race winner of this event.

Last March, Keselowski started fourth in his No. 2 Ford and went on to lead 24 of the 267 circuits in the Kobalt Tools 400. It marked his first of four victories over the course of the year last season.

“All you can do is keep putting in the effort and not let it get you down and go there with an attitude that you're going to go out there and make the most out of every opportunity to race, and we're going to go to Vegas and think of it as a track we can win at, that we have won at, and we'll continue to look at all the tracks that we've struggled at in the past the same way and hope to find that success,” said Keselowski after last weekend’s victory.

In eight starts at the track, the 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion has two victories, three top five and four top 10 finishes. Keselowski holds an average finish there of 16.8.

Kevin Harvick leads the series driver standings by four points over teammate and 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. Keselowski sits third coming into the race weekend.

Driver standings:

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES

POS

DRIVER

BEHIND

1

Kevin Harvick

LEADER

2

Kurt Busch

-4

3

Brad Keselowski

-6

4

Chase Elliott

-8

5

Joey Logano

-10

6

Kyle Larson

-11

7

Martin Truex Jr.

-23

8

Kasey Kahne

-27

9

Ryan Blaney

-27

10

Trevor Bayne

-32

 

Where to watch:

The Kobalt 400 will air live on FOX and FOX Sports Go at 3:30 p.m. ET. on Sunday. You can also listen to live radio coverage provided by the Performance Racing Network and on SiriusXM Channel 90.

Brett Winningham

Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.