NASCAR’s Busch Bros. worth a look in Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas home track

Nov 8, 2020; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Kurt Busch (1) during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2020; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver Kurt Busch (1) during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Busch Brothers are going home for the weekend at the Pennzoil 400, but Las Vegas has been anything but easy money for Kurt and Kyle Busch.

They’ve each won only one race in Vegas in a combined 41 starts: 22 for Kurt and 19 for Kyle.

Kyle, winner of two series championships with 57 Cup victories, has won 10 percent of the races he has started in his career.

Kurt Busch has his own championship and 32 career victories.

Kurt won last year, his first in Las Vegas in 22 starts, but they enter as distant considerations for Sunday’s race.

“Las Vegas Motor Speedway had been a thorn in my side over the years,” he said. “I left there every year more and more displeased and frustrated. Sometimes you don’t win at a track. Daytona took me 17 years to win the 500. I felt differently leaving Daytona. I know it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. It will happen. Vegas, I don’t think it is ever going to happen. Vegas was that tough on me. It was an emotional time of growing up there and having all my friends and family and people there, rooting me on, and just not being able to get the job done just felt weird. And so, it was really a spiritual moment of winning last September in the Playoffs at the South Point 400, and then not having fans and having people at the race track.”

Reigning Pennzoil 400 champion Kurt Busch on meaning of 2020 victory in Las Vegas

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Pennzoil 400 odds and drivers to watch

Martin Truex Jr. +600
Kevin Harvick +650
Brad Keselowski +650
Joey Logano +650
Denny Hamlin +900
Kyle Larson+1000
Ryan Blaney+1100
Chase Elliott+1100
Kyle Busch+1200
Kurt Busch+2000
Alex Bowman+2500
William Byron+2500
Matt Dibenedetto+3000
Austin Dillon+3000
Aric Almirola+3500
Christopher Bell+5000
Tyler Reddick+5000
*Pennzoil 400 odds per BetMGM

Joey Logano usually a frontrunner in Las Vegas’ Pennzoil 400

Team Penske’s Joey Logano is a two-time winner at LVMS. On Sunday, he will be looking to win for a third straight year as he won there in March of 2019 and the February race in 2020.

He has top-10 finishes in nine of his last 10 starts at Vegas. In eight of those races, he has led 25 or more laps. In the 2019 September race, he finished ninth but led 105 laps. His 488 career laps led is second to Harvick’s 679 among active drivers.

Logano’s average finish of 8.4 is best in the field.

Brad Keselowski is a three-time champion

Feb 23, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) before the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski has won three times in Vegas. That is the most among drivers entered in Sunday’s race and only the retired Jimmie Johnson has won more times at the track (four).

In 15 starts at Vegas, Keselowski has 10 top-10 finishes. Ten of those have come in the last 11 races, as have all three of his victories. His average finish in his last 11 races at Vegas is 4.55.

Denny Hamlin is still looking for maiden Las Vegas victory

Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing enters the Vegas race as the series points leader — he sits 20 points ahead of second place Kevin Harvick.

But Vegas has not been a Hamlin track. He is winless in 18 career starts and has but three top-five finishes.

The good news is that last September he finished third and led 121 laps, so the three-time Daytona 500 winner is not completely lost in the Arizona desert.

Youngsters who warrant consideration

Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney are a trio of younger drivers who have small sample sets when it comes to racing at Vegas: Elliott has eight starts and Blaney and Larson nine.

Penske’s Blaney won a pole there three years ago and has six top-10 finishes. His best finish was fifth place, which he did three times. His average finish is an impressive 9.66.

Elliott’s average finish is a horrendous 21.5. But that average is skewed by three DNFs in those eight races. When he’s kept his Hendrick Motorsports car on the track, he has posted three top-10s with a best finish of third in 2017. In 2020’s two races in Vegas, Elliott led 70 and 73 laps.

Larson has three top-fives and six top-10s at Vegas.

All have led races at LVMS.

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–Field Level Media