The Frontstretch: The Top Spot: Sin City by Brandon Daun -- Monday March 14, 2005

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The Top Spot: Sin City

Brandon Daun · Monday March 14, 2005

 

Another Las Vegas race is in the books, and Jimmie Johnson has yet another trophy to add to his collection. Sunday’s race at Nevada was one of the best Las Vegas races in recent memory, and while a photo finish was not to be, fans were still given an opportunity to watch a young rookie chase a consistent championship contender in the closing laps. The race also offered fans a fair share of shocks and surprises, which all will be highlighted in this Las Vegas edition of the Top Spot.

The top driver of the day was Kyle Busch. It is still too early to determine if Kyle is ready to race with the big dogs in NASCAR’s premier division, however Kyle stayed close to the top of the field all day long, and managed to drive to a second place finish.

The number 17 team earned top team of the day honors after their performance in the 400 mile event on Sunday. After going two laps down in the race, Kenseth and his crew showed that they are determined to make the chase by rallying back onto the lead lap. While unable to make a bid for the win, Kenseth earned an eighth place finish, and hopes to carry this momentum to Atlanta next weekend.

Casey Mears and crew chief Jimmy Elledge made the top gamble of the day. The team came into the pits with everyone else under a caution period, however the 41 team only took two tires, saving enough time on pit road to be placed with the leaders on the restart. Unfortunatly for Mears, two fresh tires were not enough to claim the checkered flag, however the 41 team did score a seventh place finish.

After causing a wreck in the early stages of the race, Dale Earnhardt, Junior made the top mistake of the race. Shortly after taking the green flag, Earnhardt, Junior raced too hard into the corner, inevitably making contact with Brian Vickers. Bobby Labonte and Ricky Rudd were also involved in the accident, and all four drivers hopes of cashing in big at Vegas went up in smoke. Junior’s attempt to pass Vickers was a move of desperation, now only one question remains: Was Junior desperate to earn a top finish at Vegas, or was Junior desperate to earn enough points to even have a shot at being eligable for the Chase?

At a track like Atlanta, anyone and everyone has an opportunity to leave a winner. While it is impossible to predict the winner of the race, I am turning on the television next Sunday predicting that Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick will be contending for the win. Labonte always runs well at Atlanta, and needs a strong run after several dissapointing finishes. Harvick, who earned his first career Cup victory at Atlanta, will be racing to continue his climb in the points championship, and to also find his way back to Victory Lane.

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