Must-see TV: Why the Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas can’t be missed

You can never be quite sure what's going to go down on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway track.

Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images

The third points race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is set for this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. And, oh yeah, the Kobalt Tools 400 will be run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, one of the faster 1.5-mile tracks on the circuit.

Here are five reasons this race qualifies as must-see TV:

IT’S VEGAS, BABY —  There’s always a special buzz whenever NASCAR pulls into Las Vegas. One of the most fan-friendly tracks on the circuit, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has all sorts of attractions in addition to cars on track. Where else are you going to find Elvis and Taylor Swift lookalikes, showgirls with giant flowered headgear or Stealth bombers at the adjacent Air Force base? This is a totally unique scene every year.

HAPPY TIME, PEOPLE — Kevin Harvick, the reigning Sprint Cup champ, is the hottest racer in NASCAR right now, having won or finished second in a mind-boggling five consecutive races. Harvick, who goes by the nickname "Happy," was freaky fast in practice Saturday, with the fastest 10-consecutive-lap average in the opening session.

RACERS ARE HAULING ASPHALT — Jeff Gordon set a new track record in qualifying, blistering the LVMS asphalt with a lap of 194.679 miles per hour. This is the year when cars are supposed to going slower, but Gordon crushed Joey Logano’s qualifying record of 193.278 mph, set last year.

PUNCH YOUR TICKET — By virtue of their victories at Daytona and Atlanta, respectively, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson are virtually guaranteed slots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup already. The other 41 drivers in the field would love to join them as early season race winners. The sooner a driver locks himself or herself into the Chase, the easier it makes the rest of the year.

SIX PACK — Six different drivers have won the last six Las Vegas races. The most recent victor here is 2014 winner Brad Keselowski. Before him came Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. That suggests we ought to see a highly competitive race and, perhaps, a seventh consecutive different winner.

VIDEO: Check out the Las Vegas odds for the Kobalt Tools 400