THE STORY BREAKDOWN
Needless to say, the major story line that will bear watching, during the course of the Las Vegas race, will be the too close to call championship points battle. Austin Dillon, and his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, will arrive in Las Vegas as the points leader. However it's only a very slim lead of three points over James Buescher and his Turner Motorsports team. Chasing the young guns is series' veteran Johnny Sauter, and Thorsport Racing, who are only 19 points away. Timothy Peters, Red Horse Racing, and four time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr, Kevin Harvick Inc, completes the top five and are 40 and 42 points away respectively.
Hornaday will be seeking his first ever trip to the Las Vegas victory lane Saturday night. He will be riding on the momentum of winning the last series race at Kentucky. That element of momentum is even higher because Kentucky marked Hornaday's amazing 50th series win. Despite his 42 point separation from the top of the standings, Hornaday hasn't completely written off the possibility of a fifth championship this year and said "if I keep getting trucks from Kevin Harvick Inc like the one I drove at Kentucky then it's doable."
Driver Ricky Carmichael will have a very busy schedule this Saturday in Las Vegas. First off, he will be driving his Monster Energy/Turner Motorsports Chevrolet in the Smith's 350. Carmichael will be making this third start at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he has a personal best ninth place finish.
Right after the race Carmichael will be moving on to downtown Las Vegas where he will provide commentary on the SPEED Channel for the Monster Energy Cup motocross race at the Sam Boyd Stadium. This unique motorcycle event will be held on a special course that was designed by Carmichael and fellow motorcycle racing legend Jeremy McGrath. The Monster Energy Cup features a $250,000 purse with $100,000 going to the winner. There's also the possibility of a $1 million bonus to any rider who can win all three main events.
There's an entertainment philosophy that says "motorsports and Las Vegas simply belongs in the same sentence." That's very true and will always be the case. Las Vegas will be rolling out the red carpet for the fans of NASCAR truck racing as well as the fans of the Indy Racing League who will be racing there on Sunday.
A prime example of this is a special autograph session, featuring NASCAR's truck drivers, that will be held Friday night, from 730 to 9 pm, at the Le Bistro Lounge located in the Riviera Hotel and Casino. Drivers who be on hand for the special fan meet and greet includes Todd Bodine, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, David Starr, Timothy Peters, Miguel Paludo, Dakota Armstrong and Butch Miller.
THE RACE BREAKDOWN
The Smith's 350 is 146 laps/219 miles around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The race has 31 posted entries.
Despite it's massive appearance, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is categorized as an intermediate track. The facility is a 1.5 mile, D shaped, oval. The track presently has seating for 137,00 fans.
The defending race champion is Austin Dillon who won last year's event from the pole position.
The Smith's 350 will be broadcast live by the SPEED Channel with the pre race show beginning at 3 pm eastern time. Dave Grayson