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The Backstretch Blog: Vegas is No Vacation

This week NASCAR is headed to Las Vegas. And while we all have visions of drivers hitting the casino and living up, they are gonna have to leave that for champions week this year. This weekend there is work to be done. Many of the drivers actually got the the track one day early for an open test, since this is the first time the new Generation 6 car will race on the all important mile and a half track.

"Everyone's anticipation of getting to Las Vegas and getting all of the cars on the race track at the same time is pretty high, just for the fact that no one can tell you exactly what's going on," said Kevin Harvick. "You really don't know what will happen until you get into 100 percent race conditions. It's going to be interesting and we'll see very fast, high speeds." 

Fast is obviously a word we will hear often at the mile and a half tracks thanks to the new car. With so many on the circuit, they seem to all get lumped together. But drivers will tell you the different tracks all have their own personality.

"What’s tough about Vegas is when we first get there the track is real dirty due to all the traffic in the parking lots," said Vegas native Kurt Busch. "On race day the track is really loose. Turns three and four are slick because of the sun beating down in that location while turns one and two are in the shade. It’s a challenge to keep up with the track conditions."

Tony Stewart won in Vegas one year ago, but he's not giving up any secrets to victory.

“You know, there’s really no key to it. It’s just like anywhere else you go. You just have to have a well-balanced car," said Stewart. "It seems like track position is really, really key there, but as long as you can get your car driving well and stay ahead of it, it seems like as the day changes, or the longer the day goes, the more the track changes and the more you have to stay up with it. You just can’t have any mistakes there because you cannot afford to lose the track position, and you have to be able to stay up with the changing track conditions as the day goes on.”

Other past winners at Las Vegas include last week's race winner Carl Edwards, who has two wins and points leader Jimmie Johnson who had four. Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton also have two wins each in Vegas, with Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Las Vegas native Kyle Busch holding a win as well.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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