By Walker Polivka
The NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue today with the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the race, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Driver to Fade: Brad Keselowski- 2022 has been a struggle for Keselowski, with just 1 top 5 and 6 top 10 finishes. A former Las Vegas winner, Keselowski has had success here lately, with 3 wins, 8 top 5’s, and 12 top 10’s in his last 14 starts. Nevertheless, the speed just hasn’t been there for Keselowski on mile and a half tracks this season, with an 8th place finish at Texas three weeks ago being his best result this season, to go along with just 1 other top 20 finish. Ranking 27th in Practice and Qualifying in 25th, Keselowski will have a long day ahead of him today and finish outside of the top 20.
Dark Horse: Erik Jones- Jones has put together a solid 2022 campaign, with 1 win, 4 top 5’s, and 13 top 10 finishes. Las Vegas has not been that good of a track for Jones in his career, with just 3 top 10’s and 5 top 20’s in 10 career starts. Jones has shown some pace though at the mile and a half tracks, including a 6th place finish at Texas 3 weeks ago and top 15 runs at Nashville and Charlotte earlier in the season. Jones showed solid pace in Practice yesterday, but will start today’s race from the 22nd position. Jones won’t be a threat to win, but another top 15 finish is certainly doable.
Top 10: Ryan Blaney- Blaney has had about as good of a season as you can have without a win, racking up 11 top 5’s and 16 top 10 finishes. He has yet to win at Las Vegas, but Blaney has had a lot of success here so far, with 5 top 5’s and 8 top 10’s in 12 starts. Blaney showed a lot of pace on both the short run and the long run in Practice yesterday and he will start today’s race from the 4th position. Blaney has finished in the top 10 at both mile and a half tracks in the Playoffs and appears to be heating up at the right time. Blaney will certainly be a threat to win today, but a top 10 finish is a lock.
Winner: Ross Chastain- Chastain is in the midst of a career season, with 2 wins, 12 top 5’s, and 18 top 10 finishes. Mile and a half tracks have been a strength for Chastain this season, with 4 top 10 finishes and 6 top 15 finishes, highlighted by a 3rd place finish in the Las Vegas spring race, where he led 83 laps. Chastain was fast in Practice yesterday and will start today’s race from the 11th position. We predict that Chastain will make his way to front the quickly and claim his spot in the Championship 4 with a win in Las Vegas!