Las Vegas, NV – Kevin Harvick deserted the competition in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Jimmy John’s Stewart-Haas team cruised to their second win in a row in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The strong start for Harvick looks similar to his championship form in 2014. The Bakersfield, California native starts off the NASCAR Goes West tour in dominate fashion, leading 214 of 267 laps at the 1.5-mile race in Las Vegas.
Notes from Las Vegas
Resurgence of Penske and Ford
After a dismal 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Penske has made vast improvements and has become a strong contender throughout the first three races of the 2018 season. The Penske team had all four cars (including Paul Menard in the Wood Brothers Ford) inside the Top 10, with Ryan Blaney finishing 5th after earning the pole for the Pennzoil 400.
Ford Performance has overcome the challenge from newer Chevy and Toyota body styles to produce speed and success on the race track early in the season. Ford placed 60% of the cars inside the Top 10 at Las Vegas, while leading 251 of 267 laps between Harvick, Blaney, Logano and McDowell.
Struggles of Hendrick
After observing the lack of performance of the Hendrick Motorsports team after the first two races in the 2017 season, Chad Knaus, Crew Chief for Jimmie Johnson, stated he is heading towards a level of panic this week on NASCAR Racehub on Fox Sports 1. After all four Hendrick teams finished outside of the Top 10 in the Pennzoil 400, the seven-time champion Crew Chief has every right to push the panic button.
Chase Elliott was on his way to solidifying a strong finish until Kurt Busch lost control underneath Elliott on lap 183, ending the race for the two drivers. The lackluster day saw the Hendrick Motorsports team finishing:
Jimmie Johnson – 12th
Alex Bowman – 16th
William Byron – 27th
Chase Elliott – 34th
Top Performing Fantasy Picks
A Class: Kevin Harvick – 5% Started / 75 Points
B Class: Ryan Blaney – 31% Started / 56 Points
C Class: Paul Menard – 28% Started / 30 Points
D Class: Chris Buescher – 8% Started / 22 Points
Race 4: Camping World 500(K)
Next week the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona for the Camping World 500(K). Kevin Harvick has finished inside the Top 5 in five of the last six races at ISM Raceway, earning two Cup Series wins at the one-mile racetrack. All eyes will be on the number four Stewart-Haas Ford as he is the early favorite heading into the next race.
View the complete Pennzoil 400 race results here.