I wish that there were more than 24 hours in a day.  But even if there were 40 more, I wouldn't sleep a minute away.  There's blackjack, poker and roulette wheels.  Fortunes won or lost on a heavenly deal; all you need's a strong arm and nerves of steel.

VIVA LAS VEGAS!!

It is always a fun time when the premier motorsport in the country takes a step into a town that is filled with neon lights, and casinos at nearly every corner.  It makes taking gambles more fun beause it's not just done at the track, but instead can also be done at the hotels, or near the motorhomes.  Fans love coming here because it takes what makes The Strip famous and puts it around a 1.5-mile speedway, giving NASCAR fans a taste of what Las Vegas Boulevard has to offer, but still focused on what the sport brings to the city.

The year-end awards ceremony has become a popular time for fans plus the drivers, crews and their families.  But that happens in November, as right now it's all about the action on the race track.

Half the writers are already on a lucky streak, as seven writers already have wins after just two weeks.  So, many are hoping that kind of luck will spreak among everyone.  Picks are locked in, and all the chips are in the pot.  Here's who the 12 writers have chosen to cash in for victory in the Kobalt Tools 400:

 

Misan Akuya:  Jimmie Johnson

He thinks he is off despite two good finishes in a row?  What a charmed life.  I heard that Johnson and co are going to be trying some things.  Spells trouble for the competition.  Johnson has four wins here, three of which were in a row.

Rob Blount:  Kevin Harvick

Normally I don’t like to pick a guy who just won a race. Normally I wouldn’t pick Harvick at Las Vegas. But one quote changed my mind. Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief, told the Associated Press that the car for LVMS is even better than the car that completely decimated the field in Phoenix.

James Broomhead:  Kurt Busch

A little early season dice rolling for this peak. One of the winter’s big name moves the older Busch has had a quiet (and smoky in the case of Phoenix) start to his time at Stewart-Haas. However, a home race win this weekend would ignite his campaign and confirm SHR’s position back at the top table of the Sprint Cup.

Billy Fellin:  Matt Kenseth

Oh, look, a 1.5 miler. Kenseth won this race a season ago as he dominated these tracks last season. He exiled the demons of his race at Phoenix in the fall with a good finish and I think he'll get a win to celebrate.

Michael Hirshbein:  Kyle Busch

No reason.

Kara Martin:  Kyle Busch

No reason.

Ryan O'Hara:  Brad Keselowski

No reason.

Dustin Parks:  Kyle Busch

We all know Gibbs will be tough at the 1.5-mile tracks this year, but I'm not pulling the trigger yet on Kenseth as a pick, even as tempting as it is.  I just think it's long overdue that the hometown family gets a win.  So, hitting up some M&M's this week.  Rowdy it is.

Patti Rodisch:  Kevin Harvick

Going with Harvick  for second week in a row. The number 4 team is the team to beat right now. Harvick wins at Vegas.

Aaron Rosser:  Kyle Busch

I'm going Rowdy in this one.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Brad Keselowski

Second week in a row I'll be covering a race. So I'm going with the number two. Las Vegas here I come.

Rob Tiongson:  Jimmie Johnson

Gotta think Six Time wants to win now. He's been lurking and getting solid finishes - now is the time to get that fifth win in Las Vegas.

 

Standings after Phoenix:

Rob Tiongson (88) Kevin Harvick WON - 1

Patti Rodisch (86) Kevin Harvick WON - 1

Kara Martin (86) Jimmie Johnson finished 6th - 1

Dustin Parks (84) Kevin Harvick WON - 1

Ryan O'Hara (73) Denny Hamlin finished 19th - 1

Billy Fellin (69) Jimmie Johnson finished 6th - 0

Rob Blount (67) Denny Hamlin finished 19th - 0

Sal Sigala Jr (64) Jimmie Johnson finished 6th - 0

Michael Hirshbein (61) Kyle Busch finished 9th - 0

James Broomhead (57) Kevin Harvick WON - 1

Aaron Rosser (57) Kevin Harvick WON - 1

Misan Akuya (51) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd - 0

 

Final Remarks:  This week is a big test for the Sprint Cup Series as this is the first intermediate track with high speeds to test out the new rules that have changed the cars from a year ago.  It's also the first time the three-round qualifying format will be used.  Everything is different when NASCAR goes to Vegas, so it seems the perfect place to go all in, hoping to hit the big jackpot.

Find out who will hoist a title belt at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.

 

Summary of Picks:

Kyle Busch-4

Kevin Harvick-2

Jimmie Johnson-2

Brad Keselowski-2

​Kurt Busch-1

​Matt Kenseth-1