After a crazy and frightening end to the Daytona 500 last week that saw the second-closest finish in the history of the race give the trophy to Denny Hamlin, the Cup series heads to Sin City for the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Vegas is a 1.5-mile track that fits squarely in the intermediate length of track, though this track is banked more steeply than most of those. The turns are tilted at 20 degrees and the front and back stretches are banked at at least nine degrees as well. The steepness of the track makes track position very important at this race as three of the last five runnings have seen at least three top-five starting spot drivers finish in the top-five at the end of the race. Last year, however, only two of them pulled that off and two of the other three spots were filled by drivers starting P19 or worse. Despite the track being located in the desert and in year-around hot temps, the track surface isn’t terribly tough on tires as tire wire isn’t a big...