LAS VEGAS, NV – If Saturday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice session around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is any indication on what we’re going to see for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 (3:30 p.m. ET/FOX/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), then we’re going to be in for a treat.
We saw drivers racing around the 1.5-mile Nevada race track side-by-side and not being able to get any real separation from one another. Yes, clean air still seems key, but the racing itself seems vastly improved.
This doesn’t appear to look anything like we saw last weekend in Atlanta. That’s a good thing. The new racing package this weekend with tapered spacers dropping the horsepower from 750 to 550, aero ducts creating more drag and a bigger spoiler allowing for more downforce, is proving to close the gap from first to last among the field.
But, it’s still only practice. How is the race going to look?
If it’s anything close to resembling what we saw on Saturday, then we’re in for a treat.
Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric topped the speed charts again with Dillon circling the track with a speed of 178.224 mph in his No. 3 Chevrolet. Hemric, was at 177.072 mph in his No. 8 Chevrolet.
These have been the top two cars this weekend overall. They were 1-2 in practice on Friday and will start fourth and fifth respectively for Sunday’s race. Hemric, also could have had a top five finish in last weekend’s race in Atlanta if not for his tire exploding in the closing laps.
The Roush/Fenway Racing camp was the next best team with having both of their cars in the top six. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (176.927 mph) was third fastest in his No. 17 Ford while Ryan Newman (176.788 mph) was sixth overall in his No. 6 Ford.
Two more Fords in Aric Almirola (176.927 mph) and Brad Keselowski (176.904 mph) rounded out the top five in being fourth and fifth respectively.
Overall, Ford’s had five of the top eight speeds in final practice.
The top Toyota was Kyle Busch in ninth as he and Erik Jones were ninth and 10th respectively.
The morning practice was rained out earlier in the day as the lone session this afternoon was the only race practice we had this weekend.