CJ picked up his 13th win of the season including two straight last Saturday night in Bristol via a Kyle Larson triumph. But, with more points on the line for this race as well as him going 1-2 with Kevin Harvick in second too, it’s going to make him almost untouchable the rest of the way.
He had 1-2-6-7 while Eric had just one top 10 and that came from William Byron’s third place effort. Chase Elliott had a late flat tire from contact with Kevin Harvick. He had Denny Hamlin have a late flat tire via contact with Kyle Larson and Joey Logano not have much at all.
Greg had Ryan Blaney in fourth and Alex Bowman in fifth to carry the banner for him.
Now, we head to Las Vegas to where CJ may shine yet again.
Larson should once be the favorite. He’s finished either first or second in four of the six stages in the first round to go along with five top three finishes in his last six on the season as well. He also won the spring Vegas race too. Martin Truex Jr. has seven top eight’s in his last nine in Vegas. Christopher Bell was seventh in the spring race. Austin Dillon is always a sleeper while Kevin Harvick is trying to recapture his mojo on this track.
For Eric’s team, he has Denny Hamlin who won four stages, was second and fourth in the other two in the opening round. He picked up the Southern 500 win and was runner-up in Richmond. He was battling for the Bristol win before late race contact with Kyle Larson. In Vegas, he has a pair of top fours in his last two starts but none in the previous seven though too.
Joey Logano has 10 top 10’s in his last 11 starts at Vegas but just one top five in his last 13 and four in the last 20. Chase Elliott has the capability to turn it out when he wants, but was 26th, 22nd and 13th in his last three in Vegas and just two top fives in his nine career starts there. William Byron was eighth in the spring.
For Greg, Ryan Blaney is arguably his best option with three top fours in his last five starts on the season as well as three top sevens in his last four in Vegas. Brad Keselowski could be next by having 11 top 7’s in his last 12. He was second in the spring race. But, like Logano, he’s reeling on the year too. Keselowski only has one top five in his last 10 and just two in the last 18. Do you trust him?
What about Alex Bowman? He has two top fives in his last 12 but was sixth and fifth respectively in his last two playoff races in Vegas.
Kyle Busch beat himself in the first round and was lucky to escape, but he does have five top sevens in his last seven in Vegas.
Matt DiBenedetto may be his top sleeper with a pair of runner-ups last year. If not him, then watch out for Ross Chastain who’s driving a car that Larson fared well in at Vegas as well as him winning an Xfinity Series race on this track and scoring a pair of top fives in the first round.