The Backstretch Blog Race Day: The Penzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 02: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, drives through the garage during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 2, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Via Las Vegas! This week NASCAR is in the city of high rollers. And for all talk of young guns there have been a bunch of old familiar names at the top of speed chart.

"it is always fun to come back to Vegas and see family and friends and familiar surroundings," said Kurt Busch who is from Las Vegas.

This is also the first of three races out west, know as "the West Coast Swing." It's a long three weeks on the road for these drivers, many of which will not go back to Charlotte in between. But most of them still look forward to spending some time on the left coast.

“I don’t necessarily think dialed-in, but everybody can kind of get an idea of who is going to be your top 10 cars roughly throughout the next handful of months," said Kyle Larson. "It seems like, you know last year, myself and the No. 78 after the West Coast swing everybody pointed to us as being the two best cars and it kind of stayed that way the rest of the year."

Larson won Saturday's Xfinity series race and will start fifth today. Ryan Blaney starts on the pole.

"It is nice to know we have some good speed and now it is about getting it racing well," Blaney said after qualifying. "We will work on that tomorrow. Hopefully we will be set up for Sunday.”

Kevin Harvick will start second with Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. joining Larson to round out the top five.

Tennessee native Trevor Bayne will start 24th. Virginia natives Denny Hamlin and Gray Gaulding start 19th and 35th respectively.

The Penzoil 400 green flag drops at 3:36pm. You can watch the race on our sister station FOX Tri-cities WEMT.

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