Capacity: 107, 000
Length: 1.5 miles
Banking: Turns: 17°
Weather: Clear evening skies
The Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway saw an aero package on the cars that took an inch off the spoiler and two inches off the splitter with a resized deck fin. As well, the track itself featured a fresh repave. Turns 1 and 2 were narrowed by 20 feet (from 76 to 56 ft) and banking was changed from 14⁰ to 17⁰. With the combination of aero package and track changes, it’s safe to say that fans as well as drivers expected a wild race on Saturday night… but no one expected just how wild it would get.
As it turned out, there were 11 cautions during the race, which tied the track record. Three of those were during the first 34 laps of the race. Notable cautions included Jimmie Johnson who spun himself into the wall after exiting turn 4 (ironically, he did the same thing during practice), Joey Logano, who blew a right-front tire and slammed into the wall and the rookies (Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney) who spun each other out on Lap 88. There was also a multi-car wreck on Lap 92 where Brian Scott got loose and was turned by Kyle Larson. Scott was then T-boned by Chris Buescher. The wreck collected A.J. Allmendinger, Ty Dillon, Danica Patrick, and a few others.
Martin Truex Jr was issued a pit penalty when he passed then-race leader Kevin Harvick on Pit Road, causing Truex to fall from 2nd to 22nd position. Unfairly, fans seemed to focus more on the penalty rather than his impressive driving to get back up into the top three. Within 57 laps, Truex had moved up 19 spots and was running third. He was making passes that no other driver could make. Unfortunately, a pit stop for fuel with only 10 remaining laps caused him to finish 10th. Regardless of the finish, Martin Truex Jr gave an incredible performance.
After trailing Brad Keselowski for at least 20 laps, Matt Kenseth finally passed him on Lap 4… only to pit for gas and debris on the grill and sadly relinquishing the win.
Ironically, the focus had been on Keselowski running low on fuel and it wasn’t looking as though he could go the distance. Luckily he’d managed to save and found the bit extra he needed to clinch the win. Unfortunately for fans, it was a bit anti-climatic considering he wasn’t able to celebrate with a burnout and had to be pushed off the track and into Victory Lane. This is Keselowski’s third win at Kentucky, his second consecutive win and his fourth this season, which puts him at the top of the chase grid for the championship. In Keselowski’s 9 years in the Sprint Cup Series, he has won one championship in 2012 with 5 wins throughout the season. Seeing as he is only 1 win away from tying his 2012 season, could Keselowski be this year’s champion? Only time will tell.
Although the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will not be back at Kentucky this season, they will come close on July 24th for the Crown Royal Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. Get your tickets HERE: