Sunday, Sep 24

The ARCA Racing Series thunders into Kentucky Speedway for the penultimate race of the 2016 season, the Crosley Brands 150. ARCA is the most raced series at Kentucky Speedway. The series has been coming to Kentucky since the tracks inception in 2000. The race will be 100 laps.

35 drivers are scheduled to compete in the race. Some notable drivers in the race are Matt Tifft, Brandon Jones, and John Wes Townley.

This will be the 23rd ARCA race at Kentucky Speedway. Brian Ickler set the qualifying back in 2009 at a speed of 179.247 mph. In 2013, the race record was set by Corey LaJoie at 124.138 mph. Four races have been won from the pole. 17 different drivers have won at Kentucky. Frank Kimmel has the most wins at Kentucky with four.

ARCA had two test sessions earlier in the week. In the first session, Austin Cindric was the fastest with a speed of 180.409 mph, Kyle Weatherman was second with a speed of 180.246 mph, Myatt Snider was third at 178.672 mph, Dalton Sergeant was fourth at 178.477 mph, and John Wes Townley rounded out the top-five in the first session at 176.806 mph. In the second session, Tifft topped the chart at a speed of 182.322 mph, Cindric was second at a speed of 182.205 mph, Zane Smith was third at 180.349 mph, Bret Holmes was third at 179.904 mph, and Snider rounded out the top-five at a speed of 179.021 mph.

Drivers are excited about returning to a new Kentucky Speedway.

"You know I’ve been here a couple of times with the old track so this is my first time getting on the new surface. Earlier this year I was supposed to do the truck race here so it’s my first time. To go on the new pavement...that was a little bit of learning curve. But joining Ranier Racing for the first time is pretty cool to be out here for the ARCA Series and then we’re racing with Joe Gibbs Racing the next day in the Xfinity Series, too, so a big weekend for us,” said Tifft.

"We've got a good package for Friday night...proud of our effort as a team and how the test went. Kentucky is now a really tricky race track with two completely different corners which made it a little tough at the beginning but thankfully because of this extra time we figured it out. Looking forward to the race on Friday night and excited to navigate traffic and compete against a really solid field,” said Sergeant.

“They did an awesome job repaving the track here at Kentucky Speedway. It’s super smooth; there’s one little bump here and there but…tons of grip…really fast. I feel like the groove will widen out a little bit here when we race. You saw it with some of the other series that raced here earlier this year. The track’s very, very different. The shape’s the same...a little more banking at the one end...but the track was really rough before and you kind of raced a little bit off the bottom and now it’s a lot of throttle and you can stay tight to that yellow line,” said Tom Hessert.

ARCA Racing Series will have one more practice session on Friday before qualifying. Qualifying for the Crosley Brands 150 will begin at 4:40PM EST. The race will be on Fox Sports 2 beginning at 8:00PM EST.

NASCAR wraps up a triple header weekend at Kentucky Speedway. William Byron won in Thursday night’s Buckle Up in Your Truck 225, Kyle Busch won Friday’s Alsco 300, and Brad Keselowski won Saturday’s Quaker State 400. Here are five takeaways from this weekend in Kentucky:

1.    Tires: Tires were a main concern coming into this weekend’s events at Kentucky Speedway after blistering was found in a tire test in June. Although tires were not a main issue in the Sprint Cup Series race, they were an issue in the Xfinity Series. Whenever the drivers came down to change tires on pit stops, the tires were blistering. This is probably due to the fact that the Xfinity cars have more downforce than the Cup cars. If Goodyear had an ample amount of time to reconfigure the tire after the June test, tire wear would probably not have been an issue. Teams were asked by Goodyear to scuff the tires during practice to help with tire wear
2.    Repave/Reconfiguration: The repave and reconfiguration was a great collaborative effort from SMI and NASCAR. I applaud the organizations for making the effort to make sure that the track will not be like any other repave with only one groove. The repave and reconfiguration also brought new strategy to the race. The speedway spent two weeks running tires on the track to help “age” and widen the groove. If the speedway had time to get the whole racetrack, we probably would have seen a multi-groove repave.

3.   Fuel mileage: The Quaker State 400 ended in fuel mileage. I personally don’t mind fuel mileage race, but would not want to see them every week. Fuel mileage adds another element to the multi-element event in NASCAR.

4.    Low downforce package: The “2017” lower downforce package provided another element into the weekend’s event in Kentucky. According to drivers, it had significant impact on how they raced. The question is, Does NASCAR have enough data to sift through to continue on with this package.

5.    Race Weekends: Race weekends need to be shorter. The NASCAR Xfinity Series had four practice sessions on Thursday. Instead of making this a four day weekend, three days would have sufficed if NASCAR would have combined the Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series races into one day, like Atlanta. I know this has been a topic for NASCAR and the Driver’s Council. It will be interesting to see what happens after those discussions.

What are your takeaways from this weekend at Kentucky Speedway?

Brad Keselowski steals the show by saving enough fuel to win the Quaker State 400. Carl Edwards finished second followed by Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart. This is Keselowski’s third win at Kentucky. Keselowski continues the streak of winning at Kentucky in even numbered years. 

"I’ve got to give credit to my guys, the Roush Yates Engine shop, and everybody at Ford.  We knew the fuel mileage.  We went out and we set a really fast pace there on that restart and was just using fuel, and then it became obvious that you were gonna have to save fuel at the end, but I already used so much.  It’s a testament to our guys to have the fuel mileage that we did to be able to get back what I burnt early in the run and get the Miller Lite Ford in Victory Lane.  It’s number four this year.  Gosh, that’s great.  Usually these repaves are kind of my Achilles heel, but to get a win here at Kentucky.  I know it’s been a good track for us in the past, but this isn’t the same Kentucky, I can tell you that.  These cars were tough to drive today, but a good tough.  This was a hard-fought battle and I’m really proud of everybody on the 2 crew to get win number four and take that first place,” says Keselowski in victory lane.

The Quaker State 400 experienced 16 lead changes among nine different drivers. Kevin Harvick led the most laps at 128 followed by Brad Keselowski with 75, Martin Truex Jr. with 46, Kurt Busch with 10, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan, and Danica Patricl all led two laps, Austin and Ty Dillon both led one lap. 

The caution flag flew 11 times to tie the record set last year for 53 laps. The first caution flew for an accident by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in turn three. The second caution was the competition caution. The third caution was for an accident by Jimmie Johnson off turn four. Joey Logano brought out the fourth caution with an accident in turn three. Matt Dibenedetto caused the fifth caution with an accident in turn three. The rookies of Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott brought out the sixth caution for a spin in turn three. The ‘Big One’ involved Danica Patrick, Regan Smith, Chris Buescher, Kyle Larson, Brian Scott, AJ Allmendinger, Ty Dillon, and Cole Whitt to bring out the seventh caution. The eighth caution was brought out by Smith. Patrick and Clint Bowyer brought out the ninth caution with an accident in turn four. Allmendinger brought out the 10th caution. Landon Cassill brought out the final caution with an accident in turn two.

Kevin Harvick maintains the points lead. Keselowski is four points behind Harvick followed by Kurt Busch (-16), Carl Edwards (-33), and Joey Logano (-66).

Keselowski retakes the top seed in the Chase Grid with four wins. Kyle Busch is currently seeded second with three wins followed by Johnson and Edwards who have two wins, and Hamlin, Harvick, Kenseth, Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Logano, and Stewart. 

The average speed of the race was 128.580 mph. The time of race was 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 55 seconds. The margin of victory was .175 seconds. 

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series packs up from Kentucky Speedway to head to the flat one-mile oval, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, for the New Hampshire 301. Performance Racing Network and NBCSN will have coverage from New Hampshire beginning at 1:30 pm eastern on July 17.

Despite Kentucky Speedway being a relatively new track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Circuit, it has produced some amazing statistics.

Since 2011, the average amount of lead changes has been 14.6. There have been on average 7.4 cautions for 36.2 laps. An average green flag run is about 27.5 laps. 

Team Chevy currently has no victories at Kentucky. Toyota leads with three wins, and Dodge and Ford have one win. 

In order to win at Kentucky, starting in the top-10 is crucial. The Quaker State 400 has an 80% advantage of winning if the driver starts in the top-10. 40% of the races have been won from a driver who started in the top five. Matt Kenseth, who won in 2013, holds the worst starting spot for a race winner when he qualified 16th. 

Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske are the dominant teams in Kentucky Joe Gibbs Racing has three wins and Team Penske has two.

In all five of the races, Kyle Busch has an average finish of 3.8, followed, by, Matt Kenseth (4.6), Jimmie Johnson (7.4), Brad Keselowski (9.6), and Joey Logano (10.2). 

Michael McDowell has the worst finish at Kentucky with an average finish of 39, followed by, Josh Wise (37), David Gilliland (29.2), Landon Cassia (28.8), and Brian Vickers (28).

Due to rain at the Kentucky Speedway, NASCAR has announced that  qualifying has been cancelled. The field will be set by the rule book. Owner points will determine the starting lineup.

Once the track is dry, Sprint Cup teams will practice until 4:25 pm. Xfinity Series teams will qualify at 4:45. Final Sprint Cup practice will be from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. 

Kevin Harvick will start from the pole. Brad Keselowski will start second, followed by, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Carl Edwards round out the top-five. 

NASCAR has opted to give teams more practice time on the newly repaved and reconfigured Kentucky Speedway. It will take NASCAR less than 90 minutes to dry the track. 


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