It’s time for some football and NASCAR fanatics to rejoice, as another exciting season is upon us. Las Vegas Motor Speedway plays host to the biggest races in the country, with numerous famous drivers taking to the track each year. The 2019 NASCAR season got underway earlier this year, with the IndyCar Grand Prix and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Duel. The latter was won by Scott Dixon, and the IndyCar race was won by Simon Pagenaud. It wouldn’t be a NASCAR season without a few surprising results, and the winners of Las Vegas Motor Speedway undoubtedly fit into this category. We take a look at some of the more prominent winners and runners-up from this year’s edition of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The most notable winner of Las Vegas Motor Speedway is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has won twice at the track in the 2019 season. The elder Earnhardt passed away in 2018, after which his brother took over his racing team. Earnhardt Jr. has won both of his races this year at Las Vegas, outpacing drivers such as Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Kyle Larson. His wins came at the IndyCar Grand Prix in May and at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Duel in October, with the latter being the most prestigious race of the season so far. It is certainly fair to say that Earnhardt Jr. delivered a big blow to his rivals in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season, winning 16 of the 24 races so far. It is also worth noting that he won two races on a single day, at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 in October. The most recent NASCAR race to be held at Las Vegas was the Ford EcoBoost 400. It is set to return in 2021, which means that more opportunities for Earnhardt Jr. to triumph lie ahead.
Last year’s rookie of the year, Kyle Larson, also took advantage of the unique racing atmosphere in Las Vegas to triumph twice. He won the CanAm Duels in June and October, which are the two big rivalry races in the IndyCar Series. In between those wins, Larson finished second at the IndyCar Grand Prix, and third at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400. His most recent victory at Las Vegas came in the CanAm Series in October, where he took the checkered flag ahead of Scott Dixon and Thomas Barrow. Larson only has one more win this year remaining, at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400. It’s pretty evident that he’s struggling to keep up with the big boys in the NASCAR world, especially with three wins this year compared to Harvick’s 26, but he will be looking to make up for this in the IndyCar Series championship race in November. The rookie has already won twice at Phoenix in the off-season, and he’ll be looking to build on that momentum as the season progresses.
The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Brantley Adams, won four times at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the 2019 season. Adams, who hails from Florida, took the checkered flag at the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the Clash at the Cornhole 400, the Food City Grand Prix, and the Toyo Tires Grand Prix. He also won at Phoenix in the off-season, which could be a sign of things to come in the championship race. Adams’ win at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 was especially memorable, as it was the day after he was involved in a multi-car crash on the last lap of the race. He walked away unharmed, and went on to win the championship the following week. It would be remiss of us not to point out that Adams has always been a force to be reckoned with on the track, having won 14 races in total prior to this year.
Another NASCAR driver who stood out this year was Brad Keselowski, who won two races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He took the checkered flag at the Clash at the Cornhole 400 ahead of Kyle Larson and the Toyo Tires Grand Prix, and he also won at the Food City Grand Prix. Keselowski has only three more wins this year left in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, which he’ll be looking to build on in the championship race in November. The recent addition to the NASCAR circuit has been nothing short of brilliant, having won 32 races in total, including five this year at Las Vegas.
The unique thing about these winners is that they all came from different racing series. While it’s great that Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Larson, and Brantley Adams came from different series to win at Las Vegas this year, it’s even more exciting that they did so within such a short space of time. The fact that they could all win at such a legendary track in just a few short months is proof of just how incredible this year of racing was. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for NASCAR to hold a championship race at Vegas, especially as it will be 10 years since the sanctioning body held their last championship race there. The track has changed remarkably over the years, and it would be great to see what the 2021 NASCAR season holds in store.