A quick rule of thumb concerning tracks at the NASCAR level:
If drivers like it, there's a pretty good chance that you won't. So does it come to any surprise that Las Vegas Motor Speedway is universally praised by almost every driver in the garage as their favorite stop on the tour?
The speedway is fast, wide and lengthy, providing tons of room for two-and-three-wide racing without the risk of contact, which is fantastic for drivers but probably dreadful for you. Side-by-side racing is great but just isn't likely when competitive cars get spread out across the high-banked 1.5-mile speedway.
That was the case for most of Sunday until Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne thrilled us with one of the better duels of recent memory, with Kenseth eventually pulling away in lap traffic to win his first race since joining Joe Gibbs Racing during the off-season.
The dramatic ending will mask what was largely a lackluster and uneventful race, with cars getting spread out to the tune of roughly three seconds between each of the leaders for most of the race.
Appearing as a rebuttal to the controversy surrounding the Denny Hamlin fine and the Gen-6 car's performance at Phoenix, NASCAR touted a statistic about the passing that occurred in Sunday's race. There were 2,342 green-flag passes in the Cup Series race, up from 1,301 in 2012. The race also featured a record 31 passes for the lead - the most since NASCAR began compiling loop data in 2005.
What NASCAR failed to mention was the asterisk that surrounds most of those passes and lead changes - the fact that the race opened with two very long green flag runs of 65 and 90 laps respectively and that most of the passing occurred as a result of drivers pitting under the green.
But don't blame the new car - it actually fared pretty well in its first true speedway test since debuting at the start of the season. As Jeff Burton pointed out to SB Nation on Thursday, the sport doesn't have a sudden downforce problem - that's been present since NASCAR moved away from tight corner and short track racing in the 1990s.
NASCAR will never be able to reproduce constant side-by-side racing like they had ‘back in the day' because they are not touring the same circuits they were during that era. Side-by-side racing became a thing of the past the moment the Sprint Cup Series left North Wilkesboro Speedway and took a date away from Darlington and Atlanta respectively.
But what the new car has to offer is exactly what it delivered on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
When a victory is on the line, two or three drivers can give it everything they have. The car, flush with mechanical grip is going to stick to the ground better than it ever has before and elite stars like Kenseth and Kahne can put on finish that will have fans talking for days.
And even with Cup races that last up to three hours, all fans will remember is the finish anyway. So in that regard the new Cup car passed its first true test with flying colors.