LAS VEGAS, NV — Denny Hamlin won the 2019 Daytona 500. During Monday night’s rain delayed Daytona 500, Hamlin won again. Then, Joey Logano won last year’s Pennzoil 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and reached victory lane again on Sunday afternoon at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Two races down in 2020, both have the same winners as 2019. That bodes well for Lyle Busch next week in Fontana right?
Busch, earned his 200th career NASCAR victory last year at the Auto Club Speedway and if trends hold, he will win again next Sunday right?
Well, I don’t like the way that the Toyota’s are running so far. Yes, the 2020 racing package is widely similar to the 2019 one. Toyota, took three of the four Championship 4 spots in NASCAR’s premiere series to go along with 19 wins in 36 tries, a series record.
But, through two races, yes Toyota won the Daytona 500, but in Vegas, a race that will run like a lot of others, they struggled. The cars struggled in inspection too which I have to wonder how much that cost them in pace and setups.
The cars were deemed illegal on the front ends twice. Is that where their advantage is? Was that now negated?
I know it cost Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell as they all lost their starting spots due to L1 penalties and had to come from the back. Their cars didn’t have a ton of speed and they were also marred back in dirty air. They’d finish 15th (Busch), 21st (Bell) and 22nd (Hamlin) in the first stage. For the second stage, they’d finish 10th (Busch), 24th (Hamlin) and 27th (Bell).
Throw in Martin Truex Jr. who started on the front row and had clean air for most of the race and you’d see he finished second and third respectively in the two stages. He had enough speed to hang but not enough to lead. Truex, only led one lap all day.
Busch, only led one lap himself to give Toyota two laps led out of 267.
Busch, has finished 34th and 14th this year, Truex 32nd and 20th and Erik Jones 18th and 23rd. Hamlin, was first and 17th.
I know it’s early and we have plenty of time, but JGR/Toyota isn’t off to as quick as a start.