The economy's impact on big time auto racing is perhaps best illustrated by the entry lists for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in Las Vegas. Usually the events draw decent car counts, leaving a number of drivers to miss the show, but that is not the case this weekend. There are 45 Cup teams attempting the Kobalt Tools 400, while 43 Nationwide teams are entered in the Sam's Town 300.
After not attempting the Phoenix event last week, the Wood Brothers and Trevor Bayne are back for their second of about 14 races they intend to compete in this season. The other 44 teams all tried to race last week, including the No. 37 Ford of Timmy Hill which was the lone car to miss the show. There is one driver change, as beloved veteran Kenny Schrader makes his season debut in Frank Stoddard's No. 32 Ford. Mike Bliss drove the car in Phoenix.
The only Georgian entered in the event is again Unadilla's David Ragan, driving the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford.
While most of the drivers will be the same, there are plenty of different paint scheme combinations to look for. Matt Kenseth is debuting a light blue and cyan ZEST paint scheme on his No. 17 Ford. Jeff Gordon is paying homage to the 20th anniversary of his association with DuPont this season with a bold black paint scheme that also debuts this weekend. Kurt Busch, meanwhile, is back in the TAG Heuer colors he ran in the Bud Shootout last month. Finally, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing teammates Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya will be sporting a red McDonalds and blue Clorox scheme, respectively.
On the Nationwide side, there are plenty of different driver/team combinations for Saturday's 300-miler. The highlight is likely defending Sam's Town 300 champion Mark Martin, making his Joe Gibbs Racing debut in the team's No. 18 Toyota. Martin was the all-time wins leader in the series until Kyle Busch, who is driving his own No. 54 Toyota this weekend, took the mark last season driving the same car Martin will wheel this weekend.
Canton's Chase Miller will be driving the No. 46 Key Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend. The car has been used as a start and park in the past to fund the team's primary No. 40 car, however, and Miller will likely see limited action. Casey Roderick of Lawrenceville is not entered in the No. 08 Ford Mustang he piloted in the season's first two races, as Kyle Fowler is making his debut in that car.