The Frontstretch: Race Trax-Sam's Town 300 by Amy Henderson -- Thursday March 9, 2006

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Race Trax-Sam's Town 300

Amy Henderson · Thursday March 9, 2006


On Track
The Sam’s Town 300 is the fourth race on the 35-race NASCAR Busch Series Schedule. The Busch Series will visit the 1.5-mile Las Vegas motor Speedway just once in 2006. LVMS has hosted a Busch Series race each year since 1997. It is a flat tri-oval track with twelve degrees of banking in the corners, 9 degrees through the tri-oval, and just three on the backstretch. The field will include 2005 polesitter Carl Edwards, but defending winner Mark Martin will not attempt the race.

46 teams will compete for 43 starting spots for Sunday, with the top 30 in car owner points guaranteed a starting position. Qualifying runs consist of two laps, with the fastest lap setting a team’s time. The Busch Series Qualifying record at LVMS is 171.238 mph, set by Mike Bliss in 2004.

What To Expect
Las Vegas Motor Speedway generally produces strung-out racing up front, with much of the passing action occurring midfield. The most cars to ever finish on the lead lap is 19, an indication of the type of lead a good-handling car in clean air can build up. Although the Busch race at LVMS usually produces more cautions than the Nextel Cup race, look for long green flag runs and even green flag pit stops to take place.

Also expect qualifying up front to be a priority for many teams. LVMS has produced a winner starting outside the top seven only twice, so a good starting spot is key as it gets hard to pass as the track surface heats up in the desert sun. The track has improved over the last couple of seasons as and outside groove has worked into the turns, so an exciting finish is not out of the realm of possibility. It has happened before, once with a margin of victory of just .119 seconds, but so has a runaway. The largest margin of victory at LVMS is over eight seconds. Don’t be surprised either way.

Who to Watch
The safe bet here is any car with “Roush Racing” pasted on the headlight. The Ford Fusion has looked strong on the flat tracks this season in both the Busch and Nextel Cup Series, but Chevrolet also has five Busch wins to Ford’s four, and Kevin Harvick has looked impressive in every start this year so far. Harvick won this race in 2004. Kyle Busch would dearly love to nail down a win in front of the hometown crowd, and while Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win a Busch race at LVMS, they have two Nextel Cup trophies from the track. From the Busch regulars’ camp, David Green had a strong 10th place run last year.

Did You Know:

  • LVMS was the first track west of the Mississippi River to host a NASCAR Busch Series Race?
  • Joe Nemechek is the only driver to start every Busch and Nextel Cup Series race at LVMS? In addition, Nemechek leads all Busch Series drivers with six top ten finishes in nine races.
  • That the LVMS winner has never gone on to win a Busch Series title?

You Don’t Say"¦
“One year ago I was coming into Daytona really unknown. I had run one Busch race and a lot happened in one year. I made the best of the situation that I was put in and I’m excited about it. I’m living the dream right now.”- Denny Hamlin on his rapid rise through NASCAR’s ranks

“I’ve had three of the best race cars I’ve ever had in the first three races and we’ve got a 28th-place spot in the standings. It proves you still need that luck element to be successful in this sport.” – Stacy Compton on the importance of luck in racing

“I have never competed at the Las Vegas track but from what I have heard from some of the other drivers it should be a lot of fun. It’s flat, fast and has a lot of grip and that’s the kind of track that fans usually see some very exciting racing. While we didn’t have the results we were looking for at California a couple of weeks ago we learned a lot that should be pretty big help here. The Great Clips team has not had a whole lot of luck going for us so far this season but there is no better place to get it back than Las Vegas, a city built around the concept of luck.” -rookie AJ Foyt IV on luck and LVMS

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Contact Amy Henderson

Recent articles from Amy Henderson:

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Announces Partnership with Cessna, Textron
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Want to know more about Amy or see an archive of all of her articles? Check out her bio page for more information.