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The NASCAR report: Penzoil 400 preview in Las Vegas

The Monster Energy Cup returns to Las Vegas. Getty Images

This Sunday, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series makes its return to Sin City for the Penzoil 400. This begins their "West Coast swing" as they go to Phoenix next week and to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. the next. This is the part of the season where we truly begin to see who is for real and who is just a flash in the pan. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is another half-mile oval, but this track has character. At this track there are plenty of places to pass, but that doesn't mean we still don't see some beatin' and bangin' on and off the track. Last year Kyle Busch and Joey Logano had to be separated after Busch approached Logano and hit him in the face.

The track has also produced some of the most exciting finishes to date. Last year Brad Keselowski was two laps away from victory until an electrical issue dropped him to fourth, handing the victory to eventual champion Martin Truex, Jr. Three years earlier in 2014 Keselowski  was in the complete opposite position when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was leading the race but on the final lap, Jr. ran out of gas on the backstretch handing the victory to Keselowski, so it is fair to say the track is just as unpredictable as the city it's located in so on that note here are my predictions for the Penzoil 400:

The favorite going into this week would obviously be Keselowski. As I have mentioned above, the man has been up front here when it has counted and was also victorious in 2016 when he beat out Busch in the final six laps. While he is easily the chic pick for this race, I am going to go in a different direction, I think that this week Kyle Larson will come out on top. While yes, over his four starts at the track he has had a 15.75 average finish, I don't believe that they is indicative of how well he has been running beforehand. This track has not been kind to Larson in the past even in his time in the Xfinity series, when in 2013 he was leading early in the race before he was turned by Trevor Bayne.

The bad luck also extended to the Cup side as well, only gaining one top five last year when he finished second but this year I think it will all turn around for the 42 crew. This track caters to Kyle's driving style; he usually drives all the way up near the wall and with some of the passes we have seen here that should be perfect for him. My dark horse for this weekend's race is Ryan Blaney. While yes, he has been far from an underdog this season seeing how he is second in points currently, but he is still at 18/1 odds to win the race and has not been listed as one of the favorites to win. Blaney has run exceptionally well here. While he has only run here twice, in those two races he has finished sixth and seventh, so it is fair to say that this is one of his best race tracks. Look for Blaney to be up front for this week as he tries to navigate his Ford to victory lane.

Overall, in my opinion Las Vegas is always one my favorite races to watch and with nothing but sunshine in the weather forecast (unlike last week) I can't wait to see who comes out on top. This is going to be a race you won't want to miss.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at and the best website for all NASCAR stats).

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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