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March 3, 2023

What to Watch: 2023 Las Vegas-1

Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
(⏰ 3:30 p.m. ET | 📺 FOX, FOX Sports App | 📻 PRN, SiriusXM)

Everything you need to know for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race in Vegas, the third race of the 2023 Cup Series campaign.

Weekend schedule | TV schedule | Weather tracker | Las Vegas 101

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Race purse: $8,960,174
Race distance: 267 laps | 400 miles
Stages: 80 | 165 | 267
Grand marshal: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder
Pit stall assignments: Where drivers will pit on Sunday

Starting lineup: Where drivers will start on Sunday

🚨News update: Chase Elliott out for Sunday with injury

Key things to watch 🔑

Top story line

Will Chevrolet continue its season-opening form? The bowties are two-for-two to open the Cup Series season with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Daytona 500 win and Kyle Busch’s victory at Auto Club Speedway. Outside of Joey Logano, who has put forth an exceptional effort in each of the opening races, Chevrolet has looked like the favorite across the board. The good news for the others is that each manufacturer has had success at the Las Vegas track, evidenced by each of the trio finding Victory Lane in the last three races. Ford’s Logano has performed here better than anyone, with three wins dating back to the 2019 season, and he also won the Busch Light Pole Award for today’s race; and though Toyota has just two Vegas wins in the last 10 races, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin have each captured that winning feeling. Let’s see who rises to the occasion on Sunday.

History tells us…

There won’t be a first-time winner on Sunday. In 30 Cup Series races, dating back to Mark Martin’s inaugural race win in 1998, no Las Vegas winner has ever earned their first premier series victory at the track. Eight drivers have multiple wins, led by Jimmie Johnson’s all-time record of four, and nine have just a single win here — but each of the 17 winners had previously won a race. It’s clear that the 1.5-mile oval caters to experience behind the wheel and atop the box. For someone to break this trend, they may have to run a near-perfect race.

Joey Logano (11-2) is the betting favorite to win, but watch out for…

Ross Chastain. Chastain isn’t too far down the BetMGM oddsboard, sitting sixth at 9-1 odds to win Sunday, but he has a strong case for being the driver to beat in Vegas. In 2022, Chastain and the No. 1 team were on fire at the desert track, scoring two top-three finishes and leading at least 68 laps in both trips to the speedway. While many other drivers have struggled to gain their footing so far this season, Chastain is one of just four drivers with top-10 results in both 2023 races. Don’t expect him to slow his momentum on Sunday — especially after his car showed excellent speed Saturday. | Full BetMGM betting odds

Chase Elliott. Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday that 2020 Cup Series champ Elliott will be out indefinitely because of a broken left leg suffered in a snowboarding accident. Josh Berry, an Xfinity Series regular for JR Motorsports, will drive the No. 9 Chevrolet on Sunday at Las Vegas.

🤔💭: Will Kyle Busch make it two in a row with Vegas win? | Untold Stories: Origins of Busch’s celebratory bow

Familiar favorites ⭐️

Our biggest pieces of the week — get covered for race day from all angles.

– Paint Scheme Preview: Dazzling paint schemes for the desert | Pick a favorite
– Power Rankings: Back-t0-back wins in Vegas for Bowman? | Latest driver rankings
– Betting odds: Favorites, sleepers for Sunday’s race in Las Vegas | Top bets, underdog picks
– Fantasy Fastlane: Who to roll the dice on in Sin City | Lineup advice, sleeper picks
– Stacking Pennies:
Is Kyle Busch the greatest driver of all time? | Listen to the podcast

💎 NASCAR 75: Check out exclusive NASCAR content throughout the anniversary season | Learn more, explore

Hot off the press 📰

Key stories and breaking news from the week leading up to the race.

– Ty Gibbs finding his rhythm: Shares expectations for rookie year | Read more
– Chase Elliott out:
Leg injury sidelines former Cup champ indefinitely | Read more
– No timetable for Chase:
Hendrick Motorsports gives update | Read more
– New rules package:
Adjustments set to debut at short tracks, road courses | Read more
– Suspension:
Two JGR crew members sidelined for races | Read more
– Bryce Harper:
Two-time NL MVP named grand marshal | Read more
– Untold Stories:
NASCAR’s first Black driver, Elias Bowie | Watch the video
– Garage 56:
Le Mans invite official, team will run No. 24 | Read more
– Xfinity Series:
Brandon Jones delighted in transition to JRM | Read more
– Get ready for Chicago:
NASCAR fan’s guide to enjoying the city | Read more

Get in on the action 💰

Think you know NASCAR? Put your mettle to the test with gaming, fantasy and Fan Rewards.

– Fan Rewards: New in 2023, get rewarded for your participation | Learn more
– Fantasy Live: Still time to get on the leaderboard and win big this season | Tips for 2023
– NASCAR BetCenter: Don’t miss your chance to make picks each week | Visit the BetCenter
– Going all the way:
2023 Cup Series championship odds | See them here

Now it’s time for Nevada ⏳

As the West Coast swing continues, take a look at some important history from racing in Las Vegas.

– Winner, winner: All-time wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway | See who has the most
– Pace out front:
Top 10 lap leaders in Vegas history | See them here
– Do you remember?:
Memorable moments at Las Vegas | Relive them here
– Vegas fight night:
Joey Logano, Kyle Busch go toe-to-toe | Watch the video
– GIFs are good: Flashback to the 2022 spring race, summed up in GIFs | See them here
– Race Rewind:
Alex Bowman puts on a show for the fans | Highlights from 2022

Take some notes 📝

Five hard-hitting, race-relevant statistics, brought to you by the experts at Racing Insights.

Fourteen of the last 16 Las Vegas race winners are Cup Series champions.
Ross Chastain led all drivers in points earned on 1.5-mile tracks by 35 points in 2022.
The pass for the win came with three laps to go in both races at Las Vegas last season.
All seven races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2022 were won by different drivers.
The last three Las Vegas races were won by three different manufacturers.

🔮 Predicting the winner: Using data to set a projected finishing order

Quote of the week 🎙

A notable quote from one star of the sport heading into Sunday’s race.

“Las Vegas was a track that was good to us last year. We really excelled on the mile-and-a-half tracks that are high-grip race tracks. We had some really good runs at both Las Vegas races, but especially in the fall race. We were in the lead there with less than 30 to go, so I feel like we’ve definitely got that style of race track figured out in this Next Gen car. I’m looking forward to getting back there and hopefully showing that same speed.” — Justin Haley, driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing