Tha Sports Junkies 101

Quaker State 400 At Kentucky Speedway Preview


This weekend, NASCAR’s finest head to Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 Presented By Advance Auto Parts. This is the 18th race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. In last year’s race, Kyle Busch beat out Joey Logano to mount his charge for the Sprint Cup.

Halfway Home: As noted above, this is the 18th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. With this race hitting the overall halfway point of the season, fans and drivers are clamoring over the rules package creating more excitement for the second half and all the way to the Chase. Also, the experimental low downforce package that debuted at MIS last month makes it’s return this weekend, adding to the second half hype.

New Surface, New Attitude: Kentucky Speedway underwent a full repave during the offseason and its new surface debuts from this weekend when all three of NASCAR’s national series head to The Bluegrass State. In addition to the repave, Turns 1 and 2 had their banking increased from 14 to 17 degrees. The racing groove also narrowed in the process.

600th Start For Smoke: This weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway marks #14-Tony Stewart’s 600th Sprint Cup start, which is the 24th-most in the sport’s history. If Stewart can win, he will tie NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson for 11th on all-time wins list. But, it should be dully noted that Stewart is winless at Kentucky, although one would bolster his Chase chances big time.

Kyle Busch Fights Back: After recording a finish of 30th or worse in four straight races, Kyle Busch has rebounded with two top 10’s in the last 2 races. The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion looks to continue his recent success at Kentucky Speedway, one of his strongest tracks. In five starts in the Bluegrass State, Busch boasts two wins, four top fives and five top 10s. He leads active drivers at Kentucky in driver rating (129.1), average finish (3.8), average running position (4.6) and laps led (437).

Closing Time Part 1: 9 races remain in the regular season, and a number of drivers can lock up a top-30 spot this weekend. Any driver who has multiple wins and leaves Kentucky with a 361-point lead on 31st place is guaranteed to be among the top-16 winners and top 30 in points, thereby locking up a Chase spot. Those who can do it at Kentucky goes as follows: Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.

Closing Time Part 2: And finally, several winless drivers are trying to change their luck with time running out. Below is a list of drivers seeking for a win this season at past tracks where they have won.

  • Kentucky: None
  • New Hampshire: Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne
  • Indianapolis: Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman
  • Pocono: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman
  • Watkins Glen: AJ Allmendinger
  • Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne
  • Michigan: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne
  • Darlington: Greg Biffle, Regan Smith
  • Richmond: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman

Below is some NASCAR Fantasy advice for the Quaker State 400 and the drivers to consider and to avoid:

Drivers To Consider: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Ryan Newman

Drivers To Avoid:  Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and A.J. Allmendinger

Potential Sleepers: Trevor Bayne, Paul Menard, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Austin Dillon

The Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway starts Saturday night at 7:30pm EST on NBCSN.