The Daytona 500 was memorable, but had nothing to do with the rest of the NASCAR season. Last week's Phoenix race offered perhaps a few more hints as to how the Sprint Cup Series schedule will unfold, but the 1-mile oval somewhat stands on its own.
That's why this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is so important. The majority of the tracks in NASCAR are 1.5-mile venues, and this is the first such "intermediate" race of the year.
Will Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards be able to pick up where they left off? Or have others made gains? Who will be the surprises this year?
We'll know much more about who the Chase contenders really are after Sunday's race.
Here's the Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR weekend schedule (all times Eastern; track is on Pacific):
1:30 p.m. – Nationwide Series practice (1 hour, 20 minutes)
3 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series practice (1 hour, 30 minutes)
5 p.m. – Nationwide Series final practice (1 hour, 30 minutes)
6:40 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series qualifying
12:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series practice
1:35 p.m. – Nationwide Series qualifying
3:20 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series final practice
5 p.m. – Nationwide Series race (200 laps, 300 miles)
3 p.m. – Sprint Cup Series race (267 laps, 400.5 miles)