Updated: often, leading up to the race
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Race: Sunday, March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV
Title Sponsor: Lowe's / Kobalt Tools
Scheduled Green Flag (approx): 3:16pm/et
NASCAR Pre-Race: FOX - 2:30pm/et
Television Race Coverage: FoxSports, 3:00pm/et
In the Booth: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds
Pit Reporters: Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum, Krista Voda
Hollywood Hotel: Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip
Virtual Garage: Jeff Hammond
FoxSports1's NASCAR Raceday Pre-Race Show: 1:30pm/et with John Roberts, Kyle Petty & Kenny Wallace
Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM Satellite NASCAR Channel 90
Times are local to the Track
Wednesday, March 5
6:00 pm NSCS Hauler parade on Las Vegas Blvd.
7:00 PM NSCS HAULERS ENTER
Thursday, March 6
10:30 AM NSCS GARAGE OPENS
12:00 PM 4:00 PM NSCS TESTING
7:00 PM NSCS GARAGE CLOSES
Friday, March 7
6:00 AM NSCS GARAGE & INSPECTION BEGINS
10:00 AM NSCS ROOKIE & SPOTTER MEETINGS & RANDOM DRAWING
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM NSCS PRACTICE
3:40 PM NSCS QUALIFYING
5:30 PM NSCS GARAGE CLOSES
Saturday, March 8
7:00 AM NSCS GARAGE OPENS
8:30 - 9:20 AM NSCS PRACTICE
11:30 AM 12:30 PM NSCS FINAL PRACTICE
4:00 PM NSCS GARAGE CLOSES
Sunday, March 9
6:00 AM NSCS GARAGE OPENS
8:30 - 9:30 AM Speedway Children's Charity Track Walk
10:00 AM NSCS DRIVER / CREW CHIEF MEETING
11:30 AM NSCS DRIVER INTRODUCTIONS
12:00 PM NSCS RACE
NSCS = Sprint Cup Series
SUBJECT TO CHANGE
All times above are listed in LOCAL / Pacific Standard Time
Thursday, March 6, 3:00 - 7:00 pm/et, TV-none scheduled
Friday, March 7, 2:00 - 3:30 pm/et, TV-FS1
Saturday, March 8, 11:30 am - 12:25 pm/et, TV-FS2
Happy Hour 'Final' practice: Saturday, March 8, 2:30 - 3:30pm/et, TV-FS2
Qualifying: group qualifying for positions 1-36, Friday, March 7 at 6:35 pm/et, TV-FS1, no re-air scheduled.
Track/Race Length: 1.5 mile oval, 267 laps, 400.5 miles
Front straight: 2,275 feet
Back straight: 1,572 feet
Banking after reconfig 2007: Corners:20°, Front Straight: 9°, Back Straight: 9°
Banking before config 2006: Corners:12°, Front Straight: 9°, Back Straight: 3°
Grandstand Seating: 142,000
Pace Car Speeds: Pit Road - 45 mph; Track 55 mph
Opened: 1996 (First Cup race held in 1998)
Grand Marshal: Jonathan Goldsmith
Command to start engines: Jonathan Goldsmith
Honorary Starter/Wave Green Flag: TBA
Invocation: Kurt Schulke, LVMS Chaplain
National Anthem: Million Dollar Quartet
Flyover: US Air Force Thunderbirds
Track Websites and Social Media:
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Facebook
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Twitter
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Instagram
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Flickr
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - YouTube
March 2013: see the Las Vegas Race Info page
2013 Pole Winner: none, rained out, set by rules book, 2012 owners points
Current Track Config Qualifying Record: Kasey Kahne, 3/9/2012, 190.456
Old Track Config Qualifying Record: Kasey Kahne, 3/5/2004, 174.904mph
Oldest Pole Winner: Dale Jarrett, 44 years, 3 months, 6 days, 3/04/2001
Youngest Pole Winner: Kyle Busch, 22 years, 10 months, 0 days, 3/02/2008
2013 Race Winner: #20-Matt Kenseth, 146.287, started 18th
Track Race Record: Mark Martin, March 1998, 146.554mph
Slowest Race Record: Kyle Busch, 2009, 119.513mph
Worst Starting Spot to Win: Matt Kenseth 2004, started 25th
Oldest Winner: Sterling Marlin, 44 years, 8 months, 1 days, 3/3/2002
Youngest Winner: Kyle Busch, 23 years, 9 months, 29 days, 3/1/2009
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas:
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr................88.2
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races(9 total) among drivers at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.(NASCAR)(3-4-2014)
Las Vegas Notes & Facts:
• The construction to build the superspeedway known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998.
• The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on Nov. 2, 1996.
• The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998, won by Mark Martin.
• In 2006, the track was reconfigured to include progressive banking.
• There have been 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• 128 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas; 97 in more than one.
• Four drivers have participated in all 16 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin.
• Dale Jarrett won the inaugural pole with a speed of 168.224 mph (32.773 secs.).
• 10 drivers have poles at LVMS, led by Kasey Kahne, who posted his third last season (2004, 2007 and 2012).
• Kyle Busch is the only driver to win consecutive poles at LVMS from (2008-'09).
• Nine different drivers have won at LVMS, led by Jimmie Johnson (four). Three other drivers have multiple wins at Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth (three), Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards (each have two).
• Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Las Vegas with seven, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five.
• Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch became the first and only Only two LVMS races have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); and Carl Edwards, 2008 (second-place).
• Three of the 16 races (18.7%) have been won from a top-five starting position at Las Vegas.
• Seven of the 16 (43.7%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position at Las Vegas.
• Four of the 16 races (25%) at Las Vegas have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
• The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 25th, by Matt Kenseth in 2004.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart lead the series in runner-up finishes at Las Vegas with two each.
• Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart lead the series in top-five finishes at Las Vegas with six each.
• Mark Martin has 10 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. His average finish is 13.4.
• Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finish at LVMS with a 9.5; Carl Edwards (9.6) is the only other active driver with an average finish in the top 10.
• There has been one green-white-checkered finish at Las Vegas: 2006 (270/267).
• Kyle Busch made his first start and Kasey Kahne won his first pole at Las Vegas, in the same event (2004).
• Aric Almirola made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007.
• Three drivers have won consecutive races at Las Vegas: Jeff Burton (1999, 2000); Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the three to win three consecutive races (2005, 2006 and 2007).
• Eight of the nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Las Vegas participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Mark Martin (1998; inaugural event) is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in his first appearance.
• Tony Stewart competed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 13 times before winning (2012); the longest span of any of the nine winners. Stewart is the only driver to have made 10 or more attempts before his first win at LVMS.
• Bobby Labonte leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas without visiting Victory Lane with 16.
• Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas was the March 12, 2006 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.045 second.
• No driver has won the first three races of the season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The five drivers that have won the first two events of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season are: Matt Kenseth (2009), Jeff Gordon (1997), David Pearson (1976), Bob Welborn (1959) and Marvin Panch (1957).
• Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson is the only one to do it multiple times (2007, 2010) and Tony Stewart (2012).
• Three drivers have won at Las Vegas and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010).(NASCAR)(3-4-2014)
For news, stats, records and more about this race track, see: Jayski's Las Vegas Motor Speedway Track News/Rumors/Links page
Keselowski wins at Las Vegas: #2-Brad Keselowski won the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2014, his 1st at Las Vegas and his 11th career win.
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was leading on the final lap, but ran out of gas on the backstretch to finish 2nd. He now has a win and two 2nd place finishes in the first 3 races of the season. They were followed by #27-Menard, polesitter #22-Logano, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #31-Newman, #5-Kahne, #24-Gordon, and #20-Kenseth.
After running near the front through much of the race, Phoenix race winner #4-Harvick lost a front left hub and finished 41st.
The top rookie of the race was #3-Dillon, who finished 16th.
#88-Earnhardt, Jr. continues to hold the points lead, 1 point ahead of #2-Keselowski.
There were 20 lead changes among 10 drivers and there were 4 cautions for 18 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 154.633mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Las Vegas Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Las Vegas Penalty Report (pdf).(3-9-2014)
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Las Vegas Race & Points Report (pdf)
Race Fast Facts - Las Vegas:
Brad Keselowski won the 17th Annual Kobalt 400, his 11th victory in 164 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2014.
This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 15 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2014.
Paul Menard (third) posted his third top-10 finish in eight races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Austin Dillon (16th) was the highest finishing rookie.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the point standings by 1 points over Brad Keselowski.
Brad Keselowski becomes the first driver to sweep both the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the same weekend since Jeff Burton did it in 2000. Burton and Keselowski are the only two drivers to accomplish the feat at LVMS.(NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-9-2014)
2014 Sprint Cup Driver Chase Championship Points Standings:
[after Las Vegas, race 3 of 36]
1) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [1 win], 133
2) #2-Brad Keselowski [1 win], 132, -1
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 117, -16
4) #22-Joey Logano, 116, -17
5) #24-Jeff Gordon, 115, -18
6) #99-Carl Edwards, 105, -28
7) #20-Matt Kenseth, 105, -28
8) #11-Denny Hamlin, 101, -32
9) #31-Ryan Nemwan, 97, -36
10) #18-Kyle Busch, 95, -38
14) #4-Kevin Harvick [1 win], 83, -50
See UNOFFICIAL drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf).
See the UNOFFICIAL owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Las Vegas Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-9-2014)
Las Vegas Sunoco Rookie of the Year Race Results & Points:
#3-Dillon, finished 16th, 11 rookie points
#42-Larson, 16th, 10
#7-Annett, 29th, 9
#51-Allgaier, 31st, 8
#83-Truex, 35th, 7
#26-Whitt, 36th, 6
#23-Bowman, 37th, 5
#30-Kligerman, 40th, 4
Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Las Vegas: (and their finish)
Caution 1: #33-Hill, 38th
Caution 2: #83-Truex, 35th
Caution 3: #1-McMurray, 15th
Caution 4: #47-Allmendinger, 18th
Race Coverage of the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, March 9, 2014.
Television (TV): FOX at 3:00 pm/et; Pre-Race show at 2:30 pm/et; green flag approx. 3:16pm/et
Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
Scheduled Race Re-Airs: none scheduled
Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been made.
Pole sitter #22-Logano chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
Outside pole sitter #2-Keselowski took pit stall 15, with an opening front of it.
#15-Bowyer, who starts 3rd took the 31st pit stall, also with an opening in front of it.
The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #1-McMurray, who starts 7th.
To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-8-2014)
Links to results, practices, qualifying PDF's: (will be added as available)
Official Race & Points Report
Happy Hour Practice Speeds
Practice 2 Speeds
Practice 1 Speeds
Thursday Test Speeds
Thursday test speeds
NASCAR Green-White-Checkered Race Procedure: NASCAR allows a maximum of three restart attempts prior to the White Flag under NASCAR's Green-White-Checkered flag finish. If the leader has taken the White Flag and the caution flag is displayed, the field is frozen and the race will not be restarted. Previously, there was only one restart attempt. The procedure applies to all three national series. See rule and notes on the Green-White-Checker rule page.
See Jayski's - 2014 Sprint Cup Race Results Page for pole winner, race winner with speed and starting/finishing position, links to race results, drivers & owners points, pit stall selections, qualifying results/starting lineup and practice speeds as well as link to race track and race information page for each race
Final practice: for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 64 minutes. The top 5, slowest, and notes:
slowest: #33-Hill 178.968 & #26-Whitt 175.718.
All 43 cars practiced.
Notes: #30-Kligerman blew an engine at the end of the session. He will have to start the race from the rear of the field.
See the speeds, laps run, 10-lap averages on the Las Vegas Practice 3 speeds page.(3-8-2014)
First Saturday practice: for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 50 scheduled minutes. The top 5, slowest, and notes:
slowest: #7-Annett 182.322 & #33-Hill 180.886.
All 43 cars have practiced.
See the speeds, laps run, 10-lap averages on the Las Vegas Practice 2 speeds page.(3-8-2014)
Logano wins Ls Vegas pole: #22-Joey Logano won the pole for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with TRACK RECORD speed of 193.278mph for his 1st pole of 2014, 1st pole at Las Vegas and 8th of his career.
#2-Keselowski is on the outside pole, followed by #15-Bowyer, #3-Dillon, #48-Johnson, #17-Stenhouse, Jr., #1-McMurray, #43-Almirola, #55-Vickers, #31-Newman, #99-Edwards, and #78-Truex, Jr. Logano was also fastest during the second session with a speed of 192.905mph
The fastest driver during the first session was #55-Vickers at 192.995mph.
Missing the race were: #35-Koch, #40-Cassill, #77-Blaney, #87-Nemechek, #44-Yeley.
See the full starting lineup, qualifying results & order on the Las Vegas Starting Lineup / Qualifying Page.(3-7-2014)
Qualifying Fast Facts - Las Vegas:
Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 17th Annual Kobalt 400 with a lap of 27.939 seconds, 193.278 mph.
This is his eighth pole in 186 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his first pole and second top-10 start in 2014.
This is his first pole in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Brad Keselowski (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2014 and his second in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Clint Bowyer (third) posted his third top-10 start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . It is his first in three races this season.
Austin Dillon (fourth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-7-2014)
Coverage of Group Qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, March 7, 2014 at 6:35pm/et.
Television (TV): FoxSports1, 6:30pm/et
Radio: Live online at Performance Racing Network (PRN)
Scheduled Qualifying Re-Air: none
Friday practice: for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 90 scheduled minutes. The top 5, slowest, and notes:
#17-Stenhousr, Jr. 190.873
slowest: #44-Yeley 182.902 #87-Nemechek 182.143.
All 48 cars have practiced.
Notes: #78-Truex, Jr. had an oil line come loose on his first lap of the session. #17-Stenhouse, Jr. got his right rear into the wall late, but only suffered cosmetic damage.
Qualifying is this evening at 6:40pm/et and will be shown on FoxSports 1
See the speeds, laps run, 10-lap averages on the Las Vegas Practice 1 speeds page.(3-7-2014)
Qualifying Order for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted. 48 cars/drivers are listed. This is the order drivers can go through inspection and can go off pit road for the first session of group qualifying.
The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #11-Hamlinr.
The final driver scheduled to go out is #9-Ambrose.
Fastest in Friday practice, #99-Edwards, can go out 30th.
Qualifying order is set by a random draw, held about an hour before the first practice.
See the full qualifying order on the Las Vegas Qualifying Page.(3-7-2014)
Teams test intermediate track rules package at Las Vegas: Forty-eight drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series turned laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Thursday to further build upon the 2014 intermediate-track rules package that was formalized late last year. Serving as the first official NASCAR test with the new 2014 rules package in place, the four-hour session allowed teams to prepare for Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - the series' first visit to a 1.5-mile track in 2014 - and beyond.
Included in the new intermediate track rules package are various physical changes to the car that were determined after much collaboration between NASCAR, the teams and the manufacturers. Based in part on two lengthy test sessions at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October and December, NASCAR implemented chassis and aerodynamic adjustments into the setup specifications to encourage more green-flag passing and side-by-side racing. Changes to the package include statically setting the race car ride height, a square leading edge on the splitter, side skirt and rear fascia adjustments and an eight-inch rear spoiler. A 43-inch by 13-inch radiator pan rounded out changes for 2014.(NASCAR). See the speeds, laps run, and 10-lap averages from the test on the Las Vegas test speeds page.(3-7-2014)
Thursday test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 4 hours. The top 5:
Slowest: #36-Sorenson 177.713 & #44-Yeley 174.441. All 48 drivers were on track.
See the speeds, laps run, 10-lap averages on the Las Vegas test speeds page.(3-6-2014)
Cup teams testing at Vegas Thursday: On-track action will start a day earlier than usual this week, with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing the 2014 rules package on the cars on Thursday. Testing will run from 3:00-7:00pm/et. Changes to the rules package include statically setting the race car ride height and eliminating the pre- and post-race front height rules and inspections. Additionally, the 2014 package includes a square leading edge on the splitter, side skirt and rear fascia adjustments and an eight-inch rear spoiler. Finally, a 43-inch by 13-inch radiator pan will round out changes for 2014.(NASCAR) There will be no TV coverage.(3-6-2014)
Entry List for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted, 48 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including: #21-Bayne, #33-Hill, #35-Koch, #44-Yeley, #66-Jeff Burton, & #87-Nemechek. With 48 cars entered, 5 drivers will miss the race.
#41-Busch has no owners points (until the 4th race), so he must qualify on speed or he could use a past champions provisional as long as #14-Stewart or #2-Keselowski do not need to use it. Four drivers must qualify via speed and do not have a provisional available: #26-Whitt, #44-Yeley, #77-Blaney, and #95-McDowell. See the full entry list at my Jayski's Las Vegas Entry List
For the new group qualifying rules and format, see the Qualifying Rules page
How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph
2014 Sprint Cup Driver Chase Championship Points Standings:
[after Phoenix, race 2 of 36]
1) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [1 win], 90
2) #2-Brad Keselowski, 84, -6
3) #24-Jeff Gordon, 80, -10
4) #4-Kevin Harvick [1 win], 79, -11
5) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 78, -12
6) #22-Joey Logano, 75, -15
7) #20-Matt Kenseth, 70, -20
8) #11-Denny Hamlin, 68, -22
9) #99-Carl Edwards, 65, -25
10) #16-Greg Biffle, 64, -26
11) #13-Casey Mears, 64, -26
12) #1-Jamie McMurray, 64, -26
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Phoenix Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-2-2014)
Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post them] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials
Sprint Cup: 5 sets for Thursday test day, 5 sets for remaining practice/qualifying and 9 sets for the race;
Nationwide: 7 sets for the event
Left-side -- D-4524; Right-side -- D-4528
Left-side -- 87.4 in. (2,220 mm);
Right-side -- 88.6 in. (2,250 mm)
Technical Inspection Inflation:
Left Front -- 34 psi; Left Rear -- 34 psi;
Right Front -- 62 psi; Right Rear -- 58 psi
Minimum Recommended Inflation:
Left Front -- 30 psi; Left Rear -- 30 psi;
Right Front -- 58 psi; Right Rear -- 54 psi
Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Las Vegas this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that these teams have run at Las Vegas since 2012 . . . this is the only track at which these two tire codes are scheduled to be run in 2014 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
(this is not to promote gambling but to offer readers odds and ideas on what the 'experts' think about the upcoming race and the Sprint Cup series season)