NASCAR Cup SeriesNASCAR Truck SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series

Kevin Harvick, Myatt Snider, Ben Rhodes on poles for Las Vegas

5 Mins read
Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

For the second Las Vegas Motor Speedway race in a row, Kevin Harvick will start on the pole via qualifying formula as he leads the NASCAR Cup Series field to green in Sunday’s Pennzoil 400. At the lower series, last week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series winner Myatt Snider will do the same for his series’ Alsco Uniforms 300 on Saturday while Ben Rhodes and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series return after a week off in Friday’s Bucked Up 200.

Cup: Harvick gets Pennzoil 400 pole

After points leader Denny Hamlin finished eleventh in last Sunday’s race at Homestead, the list of drivers with top tens in all three races so far was whittled down, and Harvick is one of them. Harvick, who scored a series-high nine wins in 2020, began his 2021 campaign with a fourth in the Daytona 500, sixth at the Daytona road course, and fifth at Homestead. He also started on the pole for the fall Las Vegas race in 2020 and is seeking his third win at the track.

William Byron won his second career Cup race when he took the checkered flag at Homestead, enabling him to jump sixteen positions in the standings after an abysmal start to the season at Daytona in which he did not finish higher than twenty-sixth. Sunday will be his second front-row start of 2021 after starting second in the 500. In six Cup starts at Vegas, he has one top ten with a seventh in the 2019 fall race, but finished outside the top twenty in the two rounds last year.

Michael McDowell starts fifth as his Cinderella start to the season continues. The fourteen-year Cup driver sits a career-best fourth in points and is the only other driver to have a top ten in all three races, including his Daytona 500 win. At Las Vegas, he has never started in the top ten in fourteen career starts, while an eighteenth in 2017 is his lone top twenty at the Nevada circuit.

The lone driver change from Homestead comes from Rick Ware Racing as Joey Gase takes over the #15 from James Davison and will start thirty-seventh. It will be Gase’s second start of the season after running the 500 in the team’s #53, which Garrett Smithley drove to a thirty-first-place finish last week.

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
14Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord
224William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
35Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
419Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota
534Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord
611Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
71Kurt BuschChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
89Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
948Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
102Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord
118Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
123Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
136Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFord
1418Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
1522Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord
1620Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
1747Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
1817Chris BuescherRoush Fenway RacingFord
1937Ryan PreeceJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
2041Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord
2142Ross ChastainChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
2299Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet
2323Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
2414Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord
2577Justin Haley*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet
2612Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord
2738Anthony AlfredoFront Row MotorsportsFord
2810Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord
2943Erik JonesRichard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet
3021Matt DiBenedettoWood Brothers RacingFord
3153Garrett Smithley*Rick Ware RacingChevrolet
3251Cody Ware*Rick Ware RacingChevrolet
337Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
3478B.J. McLeod*Live Fast MotorsportsFord
3552Josh BilickiRick Ware RacingFord
3600Quin HouffStarCom RacingChevrolet
3715Joey GaseRick Ware RacingChevrolet
3866Timmy HillMBM MotorsportsFord
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Cup points
Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Xfinity: Snider’s win rewarded with pole

In last Saturday’s Homestead event, Snider won his maiden Xfinity Series race in overtime, which shot him from fifth in points to second behind reigning champion Austin Cindric. It will be Snider’s sixth career front-row start and fifth from the pole; his series debut at Daytona in 2020 also saw him win the pole.

Cindric is one of two drivers to have top-five finishes in all three races so far and will start on the front row for the third straight weekend. Interestingly, his second-place starting spot also continues a pattern in which he either began on the pole or second as he was the pole-sitter at races 1 and 3 and second for 2 and 4.

Joe Gibbs Racing team-mates Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones comprise the second row. Jeb Burton, the other driver with a 100% top-five rate in 2021, starts fifth alongside Kaulig Racing team-mate Justin Haley.

Cup regular Tyler Reddick will start last in his second Xfinity start of the season. With his #03 Our Motorsports car once again excluded from the grid with zero owner points, he took over RSS Racing‘s #23 at Homestead and finished second, but was disqualified after failing post-race inspection; the #23 was officially prepared by Our Motorsports while the entry remained RSS’s. Andy Lally was officially listed in the #03 and is thus recorded as failing to qualify; a road course ringer who has exclusively run on such tracks in the Xfinity Series, the DNQ technically marks his maiden entry in an Xfinity oval race and first in NASCAR’s national series since the 2011 Cup fall race at Phoenix. Lally had also been shut out from the Daytona road course event in Our’s #03 but found a ride with B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

Ronnie Bassett Jr. (#77 Bassett Racing) and Jordan Anderson (#31 Jordan Anderson Racing) continue to be the other DNQs.

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
12Myatt SniderRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
222Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord
318Daniel HemricJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
419Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
510Jeb BurtonKaulig RacingChevrolet
611Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet
702Brett Moffitt*Our MotorsportsChevrolet
851Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet
98Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet
1016A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet
1139Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord
1298Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord
131Michael AnnettJR MotorsportsChevrolet
144Landon CassillJD MotorsportsChevrolet
1517J.J. YeleyRick Ware RacingFord
1690Dexter BeanDGM RacingChevrolet
1736Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet
1866Timmy HillMBM MotorsportsToyota
1947Kyle WeathermanMike Harmon RacingChevrolet
2054Ty DillonJoe Gibbs RacingChevrolet
2144Tommy Joe MartinsMartins MotorsportsChevrolet
2220Harrison BurtonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
2326Santino FerrucciSam Hunt RacingToyota
2492Josh WilliamsDGM RacingChevrolet
2568Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet
2607Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingChevrolet
2748Jade BufordBig Machine RacingChevrolet
2813David StarrMBM MotorsportsToyota
2961Chad FinchumMBM MotorsportsToyota
300Jeffrey EarnhardtJD MotorsportsChevrolet
315Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet
3278Jesse LittleB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet
3399Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet
349Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet
356Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet
3652Gray GauldingJimmy Means RacingChevrolet
377Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet
3815Colby HowardJD MotorsportsChevrolet
3974Bayley CurreyMike Harmon RacingChevrolet
4023Tyler Reddick*RSS RacingChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Xfinity points
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Truck: Rhodes on pole for second straight week amid Camping World-dominated grid

Rhodes enters Vegas as the only Truck driver to win in 2021 after sweeping the two Daytona races to kick off the seaon. For the second straight race, he will start on the pole for his first front-row start at Las Vegas. Rhodes won the 2017 race.

Sheldon Creed, the Daytona RC runner-up, starts second for the second time in 2021 after doing so for the Daytona oval. The defending champion has recorded top tens in all four of his Truck starts in Vegas, battling with Cup regular and the Truck Series’ winningest driver Kyle Busch for much the spring race and finishing second in the fall event.

Driver changes from the road course include David Gilliland returning to his team’s #17 after Riley Herbst drove it (starting fourteenth), rookie Kris Wright coming back to Young’s Motorsports #02 following a substitute role by Kaz Grala (fifteenth), Grant Enfinger in CR7 Motorsports‘ #9 usually piloted by Codie Rohrbaugh (eighteenth), Tyler Hill in the family-owned #56 Hill Motorsports truck that brother Timmy ran to start the year (twenty-fifth), Busch in his #51 that ringer Parker Chase ran at the road course (twenty-ninth), Conor Daly taking over Niece Motorsports‘ #44 from Jett Noland (thirt-sixth), Jesse Iwuji and B.J. McLeod respectively replacing Jason White and Lawless Alan in Reaume Brothers Racing‘s #33 (thirty-seventh) and #34 (thirty-ninth), and Parker Kligerman returning to Henderson Motorsports‘ #75 that Sam Mayer ran on the RC (fortieth). Bret Holmes, the defending ARCA Menards Series champion, will début his family operation at the Truck level has he starts thirty-eighth.

Of the forty entrants, nine will be sporting Camping World sponsorship after a mass endorsement effort by company CEO Marcus Lemonis: Creed, Raphaël Lessard (thirteenth), Enfinger, Dawson Cram (twwenty-third), Anderson (twenty-eighth), Norm Benning (thirty-fifth), Iwuji, McLeod, and Kligerman.

StartNumberDriverTeamManufacturer
199Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota
22Sheldon CreedGMS RacingChevrolet
34John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota
488Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota
598Christian EckesThorSport RacingToyota
638Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord
718Chandler SmithThorSport RacingToyota
819Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingToyota
952Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota
1042Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet
1113Johnny SauterThorSport RacingToyota
1222Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet
1324Raphaël LessardGMS RacingChevrolet
1417David GillilandDavid Gilliland RacingFord
1502Kris WrightYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet
1626Tyler AnkrumGMS RacingChevrolet
1745Brett MoffittNiece MotorsportsChevrolet
189Grant EnfingerCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet
1925Timothy PetersRackley WARChevrolet
2012Tate FoglemanYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet
2123Chase PurdyGMS RacingChevrolet
2215Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord
2341Dawson CramCram Racing EnterprisesChevrolet
2440Ryan TruexNiece MotorsportsChevrolet
2556Tyler HillHill MotorsportsChevrolet
2630Danny BohnOn Point MotorsportsToyota
2704Cory RoperRoper RacingFord
283Jordan Anderson*Jordan Anderson RacingChevrolet
2951Kyle Busch*Kyle Busch MotorsportsToyota
301Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord
3116Austin HillHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota
3221Zane SmithGMS RacingChevrolet
3320Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet
3410Jennifer Jo CobbJennifer Jo Cobb RacingChevrolet
356Norm BenningNorm Benning RacingChevrolet
3644Conor DalyNiece MotorsportsChevrolet
3733Jesse IwujiReaume Brothers RacingChevrolet
3832Bret HolmesBret Holmes RacingChevrolet
3934B.J. McLeod*Reaume Brothers RacingToyota
4075Parker KligermanHenderson MotorsportsChevrolet
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Truck points
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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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