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March 1, 2024

NASCAR survivor pool: NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 picks for Las Vegas


A general graphic saying 36 for 36
NASCAR

NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 continues at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With 36 races and 36 full-time Charter cars, our players select one car per race, but there’s a simple twist: Once they’ve made the pick, they can’t choose that car again for the rest of the 36-race season. Yes, that means every car will be selected exactly once … a survivor pool, by another name.

Follow along weekly as our panel of pickers – Dustin Albino from Jayski, along with Steve Luvender and Cameron Richardson from NASCAR.com – embark on a season-long journey to think like strategists and prove their picking prowess.

We’ll also feature a fourth “community” 36 for 36 pick each week, as decided by fan vote on the r/NASCAR subreddit. Can the collective vote topple our trio of full-timers?

Standings after Race 2

RankNamePointsBehind
1Steve Luvender250
3Cameron Richardson211-39
2r/NASCAR Community207-43
4Dustin Albino201-49

Race 3 of 36: Las Vegas

Our pickers largely went with an underdog approach last week at Atlanta. Cameron Richardson looked like a genius most of the race with his pick of Todd Gilliland, who led a race-high 58 laps, but brought the No. 38 home in 26th place. That equaled the 17 points earned by Dustin Albino’s selection of Justin Haley (No. 51), who finished 20th. The Reddit community’s Corey LaJoie (No. 7) pick netted a solid 13th-place finish, good enough for 24 points. Meanwhile, Steve Luvender won for the second consecutive week by choosing fourth-place finisher Austin Cindric, who collected 43 points and a stage win.

Now, Las Vegas awaits, and its style of traditional intermediate speedway racing will require our panel to take a different approach from the last two weeks of draft-heavy action. Interestingly, though, the panel seemed to arrive at a shared conclusion.

Jayski’s Dustin Albino: No. 48, Alex Bowman

A graphic depicting Dustin Albino's selections in 36 for 36

Dustin’s pick last week (Atlanta): No. 51, Justin Haley
Points earned last week: 17 (20th-place finish)
Total season points: 30 (third place)

Dustin: After playing it safe the first two weeks of the season at drafting tracks, I’m hoping to hit the jackpot in Sin City. That’s exactly what Bowman did in this race two years ago. In fact, he has podium efforts in each of the last two spring races in Vegas. I feel like this is a safe enough gamble where I can keep some aces in the hole for upcoming events at downforce tracks.

NASCAR.com’s Steve Luvender: No. 8, Kyle Busch

A graphic depicting Steve Luvender's selections in 36 for 36

Steve’s pick last week (Atlanta): No. 2, Austin Cindric
Points earned last week: 43 (fourth-place finish)
Total season points: 71 (first place)

Steve: Kyle Busch and I have a lot in common – we’re both leading our respective points standings after two races. The No. 8 has started the season with some strength, and while it’s a little risky to pick a top driver this early in the season, Rowdy’s finished fourth or better in five of the last six Las Vegas races. Plus, there’s something to be said about a driver’s hometown race that I believe is worth a little extra. Either way, I like those odds, and I’m putting it all on the No. 8 in Vegas.

NASCAR.com’s Cameron Richardson: No. 48, Alex Bowman

A graphic depicting Cameron Richardson's selections in 36 for 36

Cameron’s pick last week (Atlanta): No. 38, Todd Gilliland
Points earned last week: 17 (26th-place finish)
Total season points: 18 (fourth place)

Cameron: From just five laps complete at Daytona to leading the most laps at Atlanta, the rebound is underway! Las Vegas feels like a ‘prove it’ race for Bowman in a pivotal year for the 30-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver. There may be no better place for the No. 48 to get back on track than a place where he’s finished top three in the last two spring races, including his last Cup victory in March 2022 at the Sin City oval. I expect a big day for Bowman on Sunday.

r/NASCAR Community: No. 48, Alex Bowman

A graphic depicting Reddit's selections in 36 for 36

r/NASCAR’s pick last week (Atlanta): No. 7, Corey LaJoie
Points earned last week: 24 (13th-place finish)
Total season points: 37 (second place)

No pressure this week, Alex Bowman! The r/NASCAR subreddit has also selected Driver No. 48, determined by community vote.

u/SBMVPJustinHerbert: “This is my suggestion for the week. It’s clear that Hendrick has owned Las Vegas lately, winning the last 3 spring dates and 3 of the 4 races with the Next Gen. However, while I have full confidence in Byron, Elliott, and Larson to be strong contenders all season long at all varieties of tracks, I don’t have quite the same faith in Bowman. Let’s use him at a track he’s proven he can win at. It’s Hendrick’s playground.”

u/Blue8844: “I’ll jump on board the Bowman train (and apologize in advance for the bad luck Bowman fans).”

u/Dont_hate_the_8: “This is the pick. Bowman hasn’t been great recently, but he has been traditionally been strong at Vegas. This is one of Hendrick’s better tracks as well. I say it’s about time to bust out the big guns for the year and get this party started.”

Check back next week to see how our pickers fared at Las Vegas as we begin the season-long 36 for 36 journey.

And, if you’ve got a competitive itch beyond meticulously managing your Fantasy Live lineup each week, feel free to save or print your own 36 for 36 sheet and see if you can beat our pickers and the Reddit community!

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