Surprise, surprise! Here are 5 head-turners from Sin City weekend
The No. 20 Toyota of driver Matt Kenseth trails smoke after getting involved in a race-changing incident while the No. 21 Ford of driver Ryan Blaney and others scoot on by during Sunday's race in Las Vegas.
It was a truly bizarre weekend at Las Vegas, where the winds hit 50 miles per hour and drivers battled rain, dust storms and all manner of calamities in the Kobalt 400.
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano finished 1-2 after running down hometown favorite Kyle Busch in the closing laps, their Fords showing great pace from the time they rolled off their trailers on Friday.
Here are the five biggest surprises from a windy weekend in Sin City:
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s performance — While Stenhouse isn’t yet contending for victories, he’s an excellent 11th in points, well ahead of his Roush Fenway Racing teammates Trevor Bayne (20th) and Greg Biffle (21st). Stenhouse was a solid 12th on Sunday at Las Vegas.
4. Ryan Blaney’s run — The Wood Brothers have a working relationship with Team Penske, so it’s not shocking that the No. 21 was fast. In bad weather at a fast track, the rookie Blaney looked like a seasoned veteran, finishing up with a strong sixth-place run.
3. Denny Hamlin off the pace — When he won the season-opening Daytona 500, Hamlin gave Toyota its first victory in NASCAR’s biggest race and Joe Gibbs Racing its first 500 win since 1993. But in the two races since, Hamlin hasn’t finished in the top 15 either time.
2. Austin Dillon’s speed — After two mostly lackluster seasons, it appears that Richard Childress Racing has found some speed in its cars, and Dillon has benefitted tremendously as a result. He was an excellent fifth at Las Vegas and already has tied his top-five total for all of 2015.
1. Matt Kenseth’s luck — Think about this for a second: A little more than two weeks ago, Kenseth was half a lap away from winning his third Daytona 500. Since then, his luck has been rotten, culminating with a spinout at Las Vegas. Kenseth is a past champion and one of the greatest drivers of this generation, but he’s 23rd in points after three races.