Each week, Greg Atkins and I examine our hot takes from the previous weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and any burning topics leading up to the next week’s event.
Four takeaways from the Cobalt 400 at Las Vegas:
Biggest takeaway from Las Vegas?
Atkins – Martin Truex, Jr. and his No. 78 team are fortunate enough to steal a win when the deck was stacked against them. Brad Keselowski‘s misfortune was lucky for Truex as he becomes the first driver to sweep all three stages.
Painter – Kyle Larson continues to impress with his second-consecutive runner-up finish. The young driver seems ready to reach the next step in his MENCS career and looks to be a threat to win several races this year.
Is this year’s Ford last year’s Toyota?
Atkins – It appears that way so far. The Ford contingent has brought fast cars to the track each week and could potentially be three for three if not for Keselowski’s reported mechanical failure in the final laps.
Painter – Ford has definitely done their homework during the off-season and is poised for a strong season. With the addition of SHR as Ford team, the case can be made that they are a step ahead of Toyota. Only time will tell.
With the early win, is this Martin Truex, Jr’s year to win the championship?
Atkins – It’s hard to say at this point. Team Penske has looked extremely fast and the Toyota’s as a whole seem a step behind their performance last year.
Painter – It’s way too early, but I wouldn’t rule him out. Furniture Row Racing is strong through it’s affiliation with Joe Gibbs Racing and appears ready to take the next step towards a championship. Truex will need more than just luck to make a legitimate championship run this year.
Was Kyle Busch’s reaction to the incident with Logano, validated?
Atkins – At this point in the season, no. It’s too early in the year to get involved in such a raucous argument. If it were to have occurred during the playoffs then the answer would be yes.
Painter – Absolutely not, to me, it seemed to be “one of those racing deals”. Both drivers could have approached that differently, but it’s the last lap and you’ve got to dig for the best possible finish.
Fuel (bold prediction or statement) – Will we see another outburst from Kyle Busch this season?
Atkins – Probably not, but crazy things happen when the playoffs roll around.
Painter – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyle express displeasure with someone, but not to the extent of what we saw this past weekend.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff (apertureone.net)