The Sprint Cup Series will be making its annual visit to Kentucky Speedway this Saturday night for the running of the Quaker State 400. This will be the third Cup race at the speedway that first hosted a NASCAR event in 2000 with the running of the Kroger 225 in the Camping World Truck Series.
The track hosted its first Nationwide race the following year with the Outback Steakhouse 300. Since then the track has played host to both the Nationwide and Camping World Series each season and in 2011 began hosting all three of NASCAR’s premier series.
This weekend the track will again welcome all three series for a tripleheader of NASCAR racing. The trucks start it off on Thursday night with the UNOH 225, followed on Friday night with the Nationwide Series’ Feed the Children 300. Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 will wrap up the weekend.
The tripleheader will not only give fans the opportunity to see plenty of racing, it will give at least two drivers the chance to race in all three series during the same weekend. Sprint Cup drivers Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch will take the green flag for all three races. Both drivers are no strangers to running three races in the same weekend, as both have done it in the past and both have actually done it before at Kentucky.
Two drivers competing in three races at the same track on the same weekend is not a common occurrence in the sport. There have only been 26 times that two drivers have competed in three races during the same weekend. The last time that Keselowski and Busch attempted the tripleheader in the same weekend was at Bristol in 2010, and Busch took the checkered flag in all three races.
This may be the weekend that Busch will make another sweep of all three races, as Kentucky Speedway is one of the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s best tracks. He is no stranger to the track’s victory lane as he has notched four victories in four different series. Besides winning in all three of NASCAR’s major series, he also has posted a win in the ARCA Series in 2003.
In his career, Busch has raced in 11 races at Kentucky and has posted six top fives and nine top 10s to go along with his wins. The stat that may show just how dominate he has been at the track is that he has led 36 percent of all the laps that he has raced on the mile-and-a-half tri-oval.
Of course, Keselowski will have a big say on whether or not Busch will make any trips to victory lane this weekend. Kentucky is one of his best tracks and like Busch he also has the results to back it up. He comes into the Quaker State 400 on Saturday night as the defending champion. He also has a Nationwide win at the track and has a runner-up finish in the trucks.
Both drivers will face three nights of intense competition as there is nothing that a Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series driver would like better than to beat a Cup driver. It’s a tough task indeed as each driver will be in three different vehicles with three different crew chiefs and crews. There is nothing easy about what lies ahead for these two drivers, but it will make a great story line to follow from the time the first hauler unloads until the last picture is taken in victory lane.
SONOMA NOTES: Martin Truex Jr.’s win at Sonoma ended a winless streak of 218 races that stretched back to June 4, 2007 at Dover. The win set a record for the longest number of races between a driver’s first and second victories. The win also has the distinction of being the second longest streak between any two Cup wins. Only Bill Elliott posted a longer streak of races between Cup wins with his win at Miami in 2001 that put a stop to a streak of 226 races without a victory. The win also gave Truex a much needed boost in the standings as he moved up three positions to 10th, the last position in the points that receives an automatic spot in the Chase. He also now finds himself as a player for one of the wild card spots if he falls out of the top 10 in the weeks ahead. Only Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart are in the top 20 with wins, which is what it will take for one of the two spots.
Event: Quaker State 400
Track: Kentucky Speedway (1.5
mile tri-oval, 14 degreesof banking
in the turns)
Date: June 29, 7:30 p.m.
Defending Champion: Brad Keselowski