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What a surprise, Las Vegas does things big.
A few miles north of The Strip, Las Vegas Motor Speedway seats 150,000 people and has multiple tracks on site. While the road courses, dirt track and drag racing seems nice and all, the main event is the 1.5 mile D-shaped oval.
The track was reconfigured in 2007 to create more speed. At the time, some drivers questioned if the track was too fast. Those questions have been muted, but Las Vegas is one of the faster 1.5 mile tracks on the Sprint Cup. That said, many drivers have compared Vegas to Fontana, the 2 mile track where they run the week before.
Still, the race is the first of the season on a 1.5 mile track. It’s also the first race that runs 400 miles. There’s less time and space to fix problems. That could mean a little less patience and a little more aggression. Somewhere Brian France is getting giddy.
From a racing perspective, the shorter duration makes track position and qualifying more important than the first two races of the season. Clean air will also be more of a driver’s friend, especially if there are long runs under green.
Teams spent all winter trying to perfect their cars on this type of cookie cutter track; they’ll find out how that work panned out on Sunday. Now some other fun facts from the track's website to impress your friends with on Sunday.
- The banking is 20 degrees in the corners and 9 degrees on the frontstretch and backstretch
-The frontstretch is 2,275 feet. The back stretch is 1,572 feet
-Las Vegas native Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.
-Jeff Burton has the highest average finish at the track and has won here twice.
-Denny Hamlin has the second highest average finish at Las Vegas, but he has never won a race here.
-Jimmie Johnson has won here three times. Burton and Matt Kenseth have won here twice.
-Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne are the only two drivers to win multiple poles at the track
-Kurt Busch hasn’t had much success in his hometown, with an average finish of 20th.
-Nearly 2,000 tons of concrete were needed to build the place. Insert joke about bodies being buried there at this point.
-That funny ventriloquist dude who won America’s Got Talent, Terry Fator, will sing the National -Anthem before the race.
-This is Vegas. So the track does allow weddings during the race. This is actually the first question on the track FAQ page. Wow.
-The track doesn’t allow coolers though, unless William H. Macy counts. Macy was in a movie called "The Cooler" and playe a cooler. It's a pun. Laugh.