After the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway there were more than a few drivers who were looking to get out of Las Vegas, quickly.
The four day stop in the Nevada desert was sure to show who really has a handle on this new car. The track conditions were nothing like the first three days of the weekend.
Every team was struggling with a loose race car but with limited cautions the opportunity to fix the race car was limited.
For these four drivers and teams they have some work to do on the mile and half.
Of all the drivers, Jeff Gordon has been the most vocal about his "love" for this car. His 25th place finish at Las Vegas though was unimpressive.Even though this was just the first race on the intermediate size tracks this season, Gordon and his team have work to do.
They never could get the handling right on his car and it cost them. The pace of this race was much quicker than last year. The opportunity to work on his car were limited with only a few cautions.
The good news for Gordon is his decent start to the season has him sitting 13th in the standings. Also, with how his teammates ran the data is there for this team. Still, Gordon and his team have work to do if they want to be a factor not just for the Chase but for wins.
If there is any driver who would like a do-over for the start of the season it has to be Ryan Newman. After two consecutive weeks of troubles on the track, Newman is 31st in the points.
They never really had the car underneath him on Sunday. The goal for them was to finish the race. They were already off the lead lap but were in position on multiple occasions for the lucky dog but engine troubles ended their day early.
This team is not thinking Chase right now. From here on out they need points and wins if they want to have a shot at making the Chase in 2013.
The race didn’t even get 10 laps in and Clint Bowyer was dropping like a rock at LVMS. Bowyer was so loose that they actually brought the car down under green thinking he had a flat tire. Bowyer lost two laps and never could get back on the lead lap. Bowyer who started second on Sunday finished 27th after many expected him to challenge for the win.
Bowyer and his team have some work to do. It is not often we have seen this team miss a setup at an intermediate track. His frustration early on in the race was evident but I don’t think this team will be down for long.
Jeff Burton was coming off a solid finish at PIR last week but a very ill handling race car saw this team playing from behind early on in the race. Similar to Gordon, Burton’s teammates were running well and have run well so the information and data is there for him and his team.
Burton who has been a non-factor for the Chase the last couple seasons can ill afford to have many races like this that will take them out of Chase contention.
Intermediate tracks make up majority of the Sprint Cup schedule and if you want to be a contender in the Chase let alone the championship, you are going to have to run well on tracks like LVMS.
For these four drivers, Sunday made one thing clear; they have work to do. The good thing for them is it is only week three of the season. Still time and opportunity to not only build up the notebooks but also to figure out what went wrong.
For Gordon, Burton and Bowyer they are well within or near the top 12 in points but for Newman this team has used up their mulligan and can ill afford any more problems on the track.
The first test for them comes in two weeks at Auto Club Speedway but first up they need to survive the bull ring, known as Bristol.