This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
As we leave Florida in the rear view mirror, the 2021 schedule takes us out West for the fourth race of the season. The NASCAR Cup Series makes its early season visit to Sin City for the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Last season, the intermediate oval in the desert played host to the second event on the schedule, but NASCAR has returned Las Vegas to its more traditional slot in the schedule.
With this being the second race on an intermediate oval for the season, we need to get our notebooks handy. This race, as well as the one last week at Homestead, will be a good example of what we can expect going forward for many of the drivers on similar style ovals. Those who perform well at Las Vegas are set up to run well at upcoming facilities like Atlanta, Kansas and Texas. This style of track makes up a vast percentage (28 percent) of the ovals that the Cup Series races on, so this 400-mile event will be an early season barometer for what's to come. The drivers that succeed this week will be ones to watch in the coming weeks.
LVMS is the second of our many intermediate ovals on the Cup Series schedule. While the banking and configuration varies a bit from the other cookie cutter tracks, Las Vegas should be a good indicator of what to expect for most of the drivers early in 2021 on these style ovals.