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Nextel in Las Vegas -- Nascar Hits The Desert by Max
After a bye week the Nextel boys are back at it this week. This race will conclude the early west coast swing, with the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 taking place on Sunday. This is one of the most popular stops during the season because of the nightlife that Las Vegas has to offer. It is also an important race for numerous drivers who have gotten off to bad starts this season. The following will recap the start of the season and preview what lies ahead for numerous drivers for Sunday's race.
The most desperate driver coming into this race is the defending champion Matt Kenseth. Kenseth has struggled early this season and has yet to finish a race. He currently sits in 36th place and needs to get it turned around quickly. This is a perfect situation for him as he won here last season and traditionally runs well at this track.
This is a track that belongs to the Fords, as they had six finishes in the top 13 last year. The Ford cars seem to run better on small tracks and this one fits that bill to a "T." This race is set for 400 miles and 267 laps.
After two races this season, last year's Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch sits atop this season's leader board. Busch has finished in the top five in both races and appears to be the man to beat this season. However, he can only get so far ahead as once the postseason starts, his point lead will be diminished. Therefore it is just imperative to be in the top 10 as any one of these drivers can win the points title.
The new format allowed Busch to beat Jimmie Johnson last season. Johnson struggled early in the playoffs and his late charge fell just short. This goes to show one that one will not be able to recover from a crash during the last ten races. Each driver must come ready to race when the playoffs start and failure or bad luck at one track can wipe a driver out of the race for the championship.
Looking ahead to this week's race, I believe the Fords will dominate the oval once again. My mid-week prediction has Kurt Busch as the man to beat. Busch has been around the lead all season and I believe he will break through and record his first victory of the 2005 season. Other drivers that you may want to keep an eye out for are Matt Kenseth and Elliot Sadler.
Be sure to check back on Sunday, as Doc's will release its top driver match-up for the UAQ-Daimler Chrysler 400. Doc's is coming off of a big win in California and will follow that momentum up with another victory in the Nextel Las Vegas race.
One E-mail A Week Is All You Need! Our weekly newsletter is loaded with exclusive free picks,insight and advice from our expert handicappers