Blog: Vegas Oddity

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Steve Kim

Las Vegas Motor Speedway comes off a tragic IndyCar race past October in which Dan Wheldon, a two time Indy 500 winner, died in a massive 15 car pileup. IndyCar has suspended its events there until further investigation.

Bottom line: This is not an easy track. The steeply banked turns are fraught with risks.

Last year's Kobalt 400 winner was Carl Edwards. He edged out Tony Stewart, who was slowed by an inefficient pit stop. Placing third in that race was Juan Pablo Montoya. And for you trivia buffs, coming in last was Landon Cassill.

Race winner Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Race winner Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

Jimmie Johnson has the most wins on this track with four. Mark Martin won the first ever Kobalt 400 in 1998. Martin also has the highest average speed of all results at 146.55 mph, which is 5 mph higher than what Jimmie Johnson recorded in his 2010 victory. The track was reconfigured after the 2006 season (progressively sloped banking), and since then, the average speed has slowed down somewhat.

Below I extract the percent winning chances per driver using published odds. Stewart, Johnson and Busch top the list with Gordon and Harvick just behind. The top of the list is dominated by Chevrolet. In sum, more than 50% of winning chance is allocated to Chevrolet, 22% to Toyota and 18% to Ford. Meanwhile, the first two winners of the season are not getting much respect from the odd makers -- Hamlin and Kenseth are not ranked top five.

Driver (Win Chance %)
Tony Stewart (8.6%)
Jimmie Johnson (8.6%)
Kyle Busch (8.6%)
Jeff Gordon (7.7%)
Kevin Harvick (6.3%)
Kasey Kahne (6.3%)
Carl Edwards (6.3%)
Denny Hamlin (5.3%)
Matt Kenseth (5.3%)
Greg Biffle (3.3%)
Brad Keselowski (3.3%)
Kurt Busch (2.2%)
Clint Bowyer (2.2%)
Ryan Newman (2.2%)
AJ Allmendinger (2.2%)
Martin Truex Jr (2.2%)
Mark Martin (2.2%)
Jeff Burton (1.7%)
Juan Pablo Montoya (1.7%)
Joey Logano (1.4%)
Jamie McMurray (1.1%)
Paul Menard (1.1%)
Marcos Ambrose (0.9%)
Trevor Bayne (0.7%)
David Ragan (0.7%)
Aric Almirola (0.7%)
Brendan Gaughan (0.7%)
Bobby Labonte (0.7%)
Dave Blaney (0.7%)
Regan Smith (0.7%)
Other Drivers (1.4%)

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags busch, edwards, featured, johnson, steve kim, stewart