Las Vegas Kicks Off Round Of Twelve

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

The Round of Twelve kicks off at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway tonight. They say Vegas is a place for gamblers and this could be the time for some to try something different. You know, take some chances. Maybe even gamble big time. What better place than Las Vegas to go for broke…

But wait a minute… there is only one in the round of twelve that hasn’t won this year. All of the others have at least one win; Kevin Harvick still has the big goose egg in the win column. Not that he wouldn’t like to have won and not that he hasn’t come close. That was proven last weekend at Bristol and showed just how intensely he wants a win. Yes… you know I’m talking about Kevin Harvick; the driver sitting twelfth in the points with the reset and Kevin Harvick a former NASCAR Cup Champion and multiple winner last season.

So, what of all the hype surrounding his faceoff with Chase Elliott last weekend at Bristol and how many think he is going throw a little payback Elliott’s way. Of course, there is good reason to think he might look for opportunities this weekend to make an impression but, I really don’t think that will happen. It doesn’t mean Chase won’t be looking over his shoulder if Harvick is close behind. It could mean there might be some extra tension if the two get into close quarters.

From this fan’s view, I believe there is absolutely too much on the line for both of them to let this drag on in this important round. We all saw how they talked about it after the fact at the track and it was not a short conversation. Both of them were fired up at the end of the race and it was obvious their emotions were running on high-test. In my opinion, there just isn’t a lot of wiggle room for either of them and one bad move could put both of them in jeopardy for moving on to the round of eight. Once again, and this is my opinion; I think this is over for now, unless… Well, I’ll leave it up to you to fill in the blank of the “unless…”

I don’t know about you but does it seem that not a lot of things in the first round have been as predictable as some thought they might be? I’m wondering how the Round of Twelve will go after witnessing the “partial” mayhem of the Round of Sixteen. No, I’m not saying the first round was completely out of control and yielded totally unexpected results. What I’m saying is, this round is even more pressure packed and I do believe the desperation level has jumped quite a few notches even in the last week since Bristol.

I admit, before last weeks race, I had kinda/sorta written William Byron and Alex Bowman from possibly advancing into this round. Not that I expected Alex to underperform but that I didn’t expect Kurt Bush to have such a bad race. As for Byron, well, sitting where he was at minus eighteen points to the cut line, I thought he would just about have to win. He did drive his heart out and finished third, clearing the cutline by two points. That put him in above Almirola and Reddick.

So, that brings us to what might happen in Vegas considering the drivers looking to win this weekend. I’m not going to make a long dissertation of how I think the rest of the drivers will fare tonight. You’ve all heard the taking heads make their predictions and assumptions. Some I agree at least partially with but, I do have my own opinion of how I think the South Point 400 will go.

Even though several of the drivers have won at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and some are heavily favored to win. I’m just not so sure that there might be an unexpected winner. Lately, stranger things have happened, or at least came close to happening and this could be the night for a non-playoff driver to take the victory. It could be one of the four that didn’t make the cut last weekend or it could be someone like Austin Dillon or Ross Chastain. Neither have been running all that bad lately and, if that old nemesis, Racing Luck shines on them instead of dumping on them, either of them or others could end up in Victory Lane.

Yeah, it’s been that kind of year to make this fan a little leery of choosing the obvious. It is easy to look at the Top Twelve and pick a winner from them, but I just can rule out someone surprising us all with an unexpected victory. After all… This is Las Vegas Motor Speedway and one of the gamblers just might run the table. Not saying they will but, I am saying they could…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
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Rusty Norman, and
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