NSCS Quaker State 400 Preview

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rounds out a triple-header weekend at Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400. 40 drivers will be competing for 40 spots on the Saturday night showdown. This is the 18th race of the 2016 season for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 

The top drivers to watch in the Quaker State 400 are Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Joey Logano. 

There have been 5 races held at Kentucky Speedway. Three different drivers have won a pole at Kentucky. Brad Keselowski, who won the pole in 2014, is the youngest pole winner and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the pole in 2013, is the oldest. There have been only three different race winners at Kentucky; Kyle Busch, who won in 2011, is the youngest winner, and Matt Kenseth, who won in 2013, is the oldest winner. Only two races have been won from the pole. The last driver to win from the pole was Brad Keselowski in 2014. Keselowski holds the race record with a speed of 145.607 mph set in 2012, and the qualifying record with a speed of 188.791 mph set in 2014. 

Matt Kenseth discusses his expectations for the Quaker State 400. “I haven’t been on the track yet since the repave, but Kentucky used to be the roughest track on the circuit and it is a very unique track that is tough to get around. Typically with repaves, the track will obviously be really smooth and the groove usually at the bottom of the pavement, and the track will also usually be very forgiving. You’ll have a lot of grip until you don’t and then it can be really hard to catch cars usually on new pavement, so you’ll want to keep up as much momentum and your track position as much as you can after they repave a track. I’ve always thought that the racing has been really good at Kentucky over the years, so I’m looking forward to going there and seeing what it’s like now.”

Kyle Busch, last years winner, talks about the challenge of the turns at Kentucky. “It’s going to be interesting. I think the biggest thing that I saw in the test is that the groove goes from being so wide coming out of turn four and down the front straightaway, it kind of narrows up getting into turn one and the racetrack width narrows up, not to mention the groove is probably only one car wide. Then, on the other end getting into turn three, the track kind of widens out down there and you have plenty of room, but again it narrows down and there’s only one groove. We tried our best to get it rubbered in during the test. It seemed in turns one and two, the rubber laid down well, but it was more of a challenge in turns three and four. We’ll see how it is this weekend.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will have one practice session on Thursday at 2:30 pm on NBCSN, and will have two more practices on Friday. The first practice on Friday that begins at 11 am will be tape-delayed on NBCSN noon. Qualifying for the Quaker State 400 will begin at 6:45 Eastern on NBCSports.com. The race will begin at 7:30 pm eastern on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network.

Caleb Whisler
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