Odds are in Roush's favor at Las Vegas HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 29, 2000) - For the thousands of motorsport fans that are traveling to Las Vegas this weekend for the Sam's Town 300 and CarsDirect.com 400, there is no doubt many will...
Odds are in Roush's favor at Las Vegas HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 29, 2000) - For the thousands of motorsport fans that are traveling to Las Vegas this weekend for the Sam's Town 300 and CarsDirect.com 400, there is no doubt many will visit the sports betting board to see where their favorite driver sits in the eyes of the odds makers. Some fans may even place a bet as a tribute of their loyalty to a driver or team no matter the odds. Others still may bet on the favorite figuring it's smart money. The odds-on-favorites heading into the weekend must start with Mark Martin and Jeff Burton, and looking deeper into the statistics illustrates why.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted its first NASCAR events in 1997 with the running of both the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series races. While Roush Racing did not participate in the Busch Series race, it did however come away with the Craftsman Truck win that weekend when Joe Ruttman outlasted Rick Carelli in a race of fuel mileage. That was the start of something great.
The following year, Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted its inaugural Winston Cup event the same weekend as the Busch race, and this time Roush Racing competitors were entered in both races. While Mark Martin drove his way to the pole in the Busch race with the Winn-Dixie Ford, he was unable to bring home the win, posting a respectable sixth-place finish. The next afternoon was a different story as Martin powered his Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus to Victory Lane, bringing Roush Racing its second Las Vegas Motor Speedway championship trophy. Even more impressive was the fact all five Roush drivers finished the afternoon in the top 10.
These events built up to the 1999 NASCAR season, as Roush Racing accomplished a great feat, capturing all three races held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mark Martin won the Sam's Town 300 Busch Series pole and finished the race in the same position he started. The following afternoon in the Las Vegas 400, Jeff Burton drove his Exide Ford into winner's circle for the second win for Roush in as many days. It also marked Roush Racing's second consecutive Las Vegas 400 victory.
Still later in the season when the Craftsman Trucks came to town, Greg Biffle won his record-setting ninth win of the season. The Roush Racing sweep was complete, and in the three years since the track has been open, Roush Racing has come away with five victories in the seven races it has entered.
The Roush Racing crews have found the setups that seem to work around Las Vegas' 1.5-mile oval, and along with their five wins, two Busch Series poles have been captured, both by the Busch Series winningest driver Mark Martin.
"I really like racing at Vegas," explained Martin. "It suits my driving style, and the guys have figured out the setup on both the Winston Cup and Busch side. That makes my job a lot easier."
While the Craftsman Truck Series has taken the popular date off of its schedule, both Winston Cup and Busch Series teams head out West this weekend. Two Busch Series and five Winston Cup entries are set to compete, looking to keep the Roush Racing streak alive. With those kind of odds in Jack Roush's favor, maybe the smart money is on Roush Racing.