The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, and headed into the third race of the season, there are already plenty of storylines to follow.

Can Matt Kenseth make it three in a row? The odds look pretty good for the Roush Fenway Racing driver, who has already racked up wins in the Daytona 500 and again last weekend in the Auto Club 500.

Kenseth's California win was his third one at the track, and Las Vegas looks just as promising. The 2003 series champion has two Las Vegas victories at the 1.5-mile track.

Kenseth isn't the only driver itching for a trip to victory lane. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon comes to Vegas second in points -- 81 behind Kenseth -- after a runner-up effort at Auto Club Speedway. Gordon is eager to break his winless streak, now at 43 consecutive races -- not counting his non-points victory two weeks ago in one of the Daytona 500 qualifying races.

The 2008 Vegas stop wasn't a great one for the driver of the No. 24 Dupont Chevy. Late in last year's event, Gordon was running fourth on a restart when he lost control exiting turn 2. He slid into the inside retaining wall and made hard impact in an area that had no SAFER wall. But that hasn't scared him off.

"I can't wait to get to Las Vegas," Gordon said. "I heard the track installed a SAFER barrier there. I'm sure at some point during the weekend I'll glance over at the new wall when I'm driving down the backstretch to see what they've done.


Gordon has one victory and five top-fives in 11 starts at the Nevada track.

But anyone checking out the odds for this weekend's race would be a fool not to consider the Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle.

The Las Vegas natives would love to snag a win in their hometown, and neither has won a NASCAR national series event there. Kurt comes into Vegas third in the series standings while younger brother Kyle is fresh off winning both the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck races at Auto Club Speedway.

Defending series champion Jimmie Johnson is another driver to watch this weekend. Currently sitting 19th in points, Johnson has had great success in Sin City. He won the Las Vegas race three consecutive years from 2005-07.

And as usual, lots of eyes will be on fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. His tough start to the season brings him to Las Vegas 35th in points.

That's territory he needs to leave behind if he wants a guaranteed starting spot each week.

Earnhardt has never missed a race since becoming a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver in 2000, and he certainly doesn't want to start now.

Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dispatch. She can be reached at Read her blog, "Pitting Outside the Box," at the Blogzone at