NASCAR heads west for the next two weeks with Las Vegas Motor Speedway getting things started and all three national series in action. Ford has had a great deal of success at the 1.5-mile facility, which includes the first NASCAR Xfinity Series win for local driver Riley Herbst last season.

FORD UP FRONT

The new Ford Mustang Dark Horse has been a fixture at the front of the pack in the first two NASCAR Cup Series races of the 2024 season. In fact, Ford has the top four drivers in laps led and five of the top six. Todd Gilliland leads all drivers with 74, including a race-high 58 last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He’s followed by Joey Logano, who topped all drivers with 45 laps led in the Daytona 500, with 72. Austin Cindric (45) and Ryan Blaney (43) round out the top four with Michael McDowell sixth at 33. Overall, Ford has led 281-of-460 laps (61%) with 10 different drivers leading at least once in the first two events.

GILLILAND GOING STRONG

As noted above, Todd Gilliland leads all drivers in laps led after two races with 74. Unfortunately for the Front Row Motorsports driver, he has been involved in on-track incidents in both events and finds himself 32nd in points after finishes of 35th and 26th at Daytona and Atlanta, respectively. Going into this season, Gilliland had led only 11 laps total in his first 72 starts, but he’s been a fixture there to open the 2024 season, leading 16 laps in the Daytona 500 and then a race-high 58 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

VEGAS ONE OF LOGANO’S BEST

Joey Logano has three career victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and those wins have helped make the track one of his best statistically on the circuit. Logano sports a 10.0 average finish in 21 career starts, which is the same average he has in 29 appearances at Richmond Raceway. Besides his three Vegas victories, Logano has 7 top-5 and 12 top-10 finishes since joining the series in 2009.

THE LAST TIME

Ford has been on the pole in each of the first two races this season with Joey Logano and Michael McDowell flip-flopping front row starting spots at Daytona and Atlanta. The last time Ford captured three straight poles in which qualifying was conducted came in 2022 when Ryan Blaney went on a tear and did it at Phoenix, Circuit of the Americas and Richmond. Qualifying was postponed at Atlanta in the middle of that streak due to weather.

JOEY LOGANO: “Some of the big things at Las Vegas are just understanding the bumps down in one and two. What’s OK and what’s too much? Even three and four a little bit there. Restarts have changed drastically than how we used to restart there to what it is now as a driver, and really just the balance of where the car goes on the long run compared to what it used to be is different too. The details of where the car goes on the long run and all those things is quite a bit different.”

CHASE BRISCOE: “I’ve never been so excited to go to a mile-and-a-half in my life just to see where we’re actually gonna stack up. That was the weird thing with this year with just how the schedule lined up. We don’t really know where we stand as far as a company or anything until we get through Vegas. It’s one that I’m really looking forward to just knowing what I think we have going into that race, so it’ll be the first real test to see where we need to go to work.”

AUSTIN CINDRIC: “It’s kind of the first test on all of the work we did over the offseason, whether that’s within us just at Team Penske but also everyone at Ford with all the preparation that’s gone into bringing this new package this year. It’s really the first real competitive test for it.”

JOSH BERRY: “Las Vegas has just been a good track for me and I think just the first intermediate of the year is one we always have circled to try and see how we come out of the gate and perform. Going there and having a little Next Gen experience, having a couple wins in the Xfinity car, I think should be a really good opportunity for us.”

ROUSH RULES

There have been two RFK drivers who have posted consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton won in 1999 and 2000 while Matt Kenseth did it in his championship season of 2003 and 2004. In fact, RFK has been a force in both the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series at the 1.5-mile facility. The organization has posted seven NCS wins and six NXS victories for a total of 13 overall, which includes back-to-back weekend sweeps in 1999 and 2000. In addition, RFK has three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series triumphs.

SWEEP DELIGHT FOR KESELOWSKI

Brad Keselowski completed a weekend sweep in 2014 after taking the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series events on consecutive days. Even though Keselowski led the most laps in the NCS race, he needed a little bit of luck and got it on the final lap when Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was in conservation mode, ran out of gas on the back straightaway. That enabled Keselowski to win going away and post the first of his six victories that season.

MARTIN LEADS FORD CHARGE IN INAUGURAL VEGAS CUP EVENT

Ford took the checkered flag at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the inaugural race at the 1.5-mile facility on March 1, 1998 as Mark Martin led a manufacturer runaway that saw 13 of the top 14 finishers driving a Taurus. The win was the first for Taurus, which became the first full-time four-door entry in NASCAR, after Ford decided to use it in the NASCAR Cup Series starting with the 1998 season. Martin bested Roush teammate Jeff Burton by 1.605 seconds to win the Las Vegas 400 with Rusty Wallace, Johnny Benson and Jeremy Mayfield rounding out the top-five. The only non-Ford to finish in the top-10 was the late Dale Earnhardt, who was eighth.

HERBST RETURNS TO HOME TRACK

It was a storybook ending the last time Riley Herbst raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as he captured the first victory of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career in front of his hometown fans. Herbst dominated the latter half of the event as he won Stage 2 and led 96 of the final 97 laps to win by a whopping 14.959 seconds. That sparked a season-ending surge that saw Herbst post one runner-up and a pair of fourth-place finishes to close out the year.

MAJESKI MAGIC

Ty Majeski is off to a solid start in 2024 with ‘start’ being the key word. That’s because the Seymour, Wisconsin native has been on a qualifying roll since the end of last season when he started fifth or better in seven of the final eight races. That includes a poll at Richmond and second-place efforts at Indianapolis Raceway Park and Phoenix. This season has continued that qualifying streak as Majeski sat on the pole at Daytona and was third last week in Atlanta before leading Ford with a second-place finish. That gives Majeski nine top-five starts in the last 10 events, including the last seven in a row. He’ll look to continue that streak this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he qualified fourth and finished fifth last year.

Ford Performance PR