You would think the start of the NASCAR Playoffs would mean the best would come to the front and showcase exactly what they can do.
Turns out, it is also the time when some freaky things will happen to make people wonder if there is something in the water. In this case, something in the water could be a benefit. This year’s playoffs began in Las Vegas instead of Chicago, and it was a much different feeling…weather-wise that is.
In March, when NASCAR made its first trip to Vegas, the weather was a bit on the cooler side of things. The temperature was at a relatively low 58 degrees, average for that area is at least 10 degrees warmer.
Then come September, apparently the summer solstice decided to hit really late because the high temperature hit an unbearable 101 degrees, in mid-September no less. It was so hot, media on pit road doing the NBC broadcast actually were flying blind because all their electronic devices from phones to iPads were overheating, and they weren’t able to be used.
The drivers themselves had to be boiling like pasta in a pot of water. Some cage readers were reading 150 degrees, and some actually got so hot they may not have been working correctly.
All the heat must have made something seem off because when it came to the playoff drivers, 11 of the 16 had some kind of incident on track, with a pair of them having to finish at the exact back of the pack. Sure in some ways the points did not seem to be effected very much. But, in essence those that were involved in incidents suddenly feel behind, because they have only three races to make an impression. Now, it’s just two races to make that impression and having a second straight week as 11 drivers had almost will ensure a big challenge, especially since the third race of the first round is at a track not ran before. Well, it’s at a familiar track, but a new twist.
All I know is everyone is glad to be leaving Las Vegas without losing a whole lot. Many just didn’t gain a whole lot. Then again, any time you leave Vegas without losing everything, it’s a good thing.
STAGE 1: Martin Truex Jr.
STAGE 2: Brad Keselowski
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Larson 3-Truex Jr. 4-Logano 5-Blaney 6-Almirola 7-Kyle Busch 8-Suarez 9-Newman 10-Menard
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Dillon 19-Bowman 21-Kurt Busch 22-Johnson 23-Bowyer 32-Hamlin 36-Elliott 39-Harvick 40-Jones
CAUTIONS: 12 for 59 laps. Lap 82-87 (End of Stage 1); 90-93 (#17 Incident-T2); 112-115 (#13 Incident-FS); 149-156 (#4, 20 Incident-T1); 162-166 (End of Stage 2); 184-187 (#24 Incident-T3); 213-222 (#1, 9 Incident-T4); 234-237 (#18 Spin-T4); 248-250 (#11 Incident-T4); 253-256 (#17 Incident-BS); 263-265 (Debris-T3); 267-270 (#34, 15, 32, 41, 38 Incident-T3 [Red Flag 10:37]).
LEAD CHANGES: 23 among 9 drivers. J. Logano 1-33; K. Harvick 34-37; Kyle Busch 38; D. Hamlin 39; R. Smith 40-49; K. Harvick 50-59; M. Truex Jr.60-112; B. Keselowski 113-124; M. Truex Jr. 125-150; B. Keselowski 151-161; J. McMurray 162-166; K. Larson 167-177; B. Keselowski 178-183; K. Larson 184; B. Keselowski 185-201; M. Truex Jr. 202-218; B. Keselowski 219-221; J. Logano 222-234; B. Keselowski 235-237; K. Larson 238-239; B. Keselowski 240; K. Larson 241-250; B. Keselowski 251-272.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 28 Mins, 15 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 111.849 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.276 Seconds.
PLAYOFF STANDINGS (Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]): 1. Truex Jr, 2087 ; 2. Kyle Busch, -2 ; 3. Keselowski, -18 *; 4. Harvick, -27 ; 5. Logano, -31 ; 6. Kurt Busch, -41 ; 7. Blaney, -45 ; 8. Larson, -46 ; 9. Almirola, -543 ; 10. Dillon, -56 ; 11. Bowyer, -58 ; 12. Bowman, -59; 13. Johnson, -65; 14. Elliott, -68 ; 15. Jones, -78 ; 16. Hamlin, -79 .
*Advanced into Round 2