7/11 or Snake Eyes? Lady Luck, Please Let the Dice Stay Hot! [Cup Series Live Thread]
Mark Martin won the inaugural Cup race here back in 1998, and there has never been a first time winner at this track. It's been the jackpot for Jack Roush, as his drivers have won 6 of the 12 races run here. Jimmie Johnson won 3 in a row from 2005-2007, Jeff Gordon in 2001, Sterling Marlin in 2002, and Kyle Busch last year. That was something you just can't put a price on, winning at your home track. Friday in qualifying, 18 drivers broke Shrub's track record. Big brother Kurt wound up with the pole.
Last year, Kyle became the first driver to win the race from the pole, and in 12 races, 7 times the winner has started outside the top 10. Kevin Harvick would like to add to that list of drivers who won from outside the top 10 today. He was the class of the field in yesterday's Nationwide race, and drove to victory despite 2 horrendous pit stops. He starts 34th though, but I'd guarantee he won't stay there too long. Carl Edwards is a new dad, and would be a good bet today, he's won here before. What about the hometown boys? Roger Penske has never won here, could Kurt follow his little brother and be the hometown hero today?
Behind Kurt are 3 Chevy drivers who would love to hit the jackpot. Sharing the front row with the blue deuce is Jeff Gordon, whose next win will be #83 which would tie him with Cale Yarborough. In row 2 is Ryan Newman, who hasn't won since the 2008 Daytona 500, and Dale Jr., who historically isn't all that great on tracks like this. What about a first time winner? I wouldn't really count on it today, David Ragan might have the best shot at that, but I'm not holding my breath. So anyway, who wins this thing?
Tony Stewart - This is the only track that Smoke has never won on. It's one of only 3 tracks where he hasn't scored a Cup Series victory, California and Darlington being the other 2. He rolls off 9th, and I may be going out on a limb with this pick at Vegas, but this just might be the day he hits the jackpot here.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - You may be asking why I'd pick Junior as a "dark horse." The answer is simple, this is the kind of track where he's lousy. However, he's starting 4th, and today will be another huge test for him. Can he actually win in Vegas? If not, can he at least stay up in the top 5 or 10 for the entire race? We'll find out.
This is your official open race thread to discuss the happenings before, during, and after the race.