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Fantasy Racing: Las Vegas

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 26 2010

Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday February 28, 3PM ET, Fox

Official Shelby American Logo LVMSWhat We Learned Last Week: The Richard Petty cars aren’t necessarily going to be forces on intermediate tracks just because they’ve got Roush cars and Roush-Yates horsepower… Hendrick dominance is still the name of the game, except if you’re driving the #88 car… Ryan Newman has more DNFs this year than he did last year… Speaking of bad luck, Marcos Ambrose is 41st in the owner’s points. Yeah, we’ve only run two races but he and Newman are in a pretty big hole.

Five to Drive:

Mark Martin: Since 1998 Martin has had two engine failures and a 30th place finish. But when he stays out of trouble, he’s pretty darn good at both Vegas’s old and new configuration, posting top 10s in every other race. If Auto Club is any indication, Martin’s a great bet for another top 10.

Jeff Burton: Burton won the inaugural Vegas race and has also been pretty good at the new configuration, finishing no lower than 17th (when you subtract his 39th place finish in 2001). Of course, this probably means that Burton will be the third best RCR car this week, a la Clint Bowyer last week.

Brian Vickers: With Vickers and Team Red Bull, past history isn’t a great indicator given the rapid improvement that this team has made. Vickers won’t be in contention for a win, but should hang around the top 10 all day.

Martin Truex Jr.: This is based solely on Truex’s performance last week at ACS before an equipment failure put him out of the race. This may be the rare case that a driver improves when he goes to another team and the driver that replaces him also improves.

David Reutimann: Reutimann finished fourth at Vegas last year and had a competitive car at California. Michael Waltrip Racing has become a pretty decent intermediate track team, and instead of being the clear-cut best team at MWR, Reutimann now has Truex on his heels.

Two to Boo:

AJ Allmendinger: The same edict goes for Elliott Sadler as well. Don’t play Allmendinger until the other three RPM cars can show that they’ll be close to the same level as Kasey Kahne on intermediate tracks.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior wasn’t running well before the axle problem and needs to become more relevant at non-superspeedway tracks. And now I promise not to beat this dead horse any more.

Stone Cold Lock of the Week:

Kyle Busch: His brother Kurt has struggled in his hometown, but Kyle hasn’t. He’s the defending champ and is still in the honeymoon period with new crew chief Dave Rogers. Look for Busch to be up front most of the day and take the checkered flag.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, February 26 2010
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