Sunday’s Quaker State 400 Race Preview

TRACK: Kentucky Speedway (1.5-mile Oval) DISTANCE: 267 Laps – STAGE 1/2 (80 Laps each), FINAL STAGE 107 LAPS, 400.5 Miles)
WEATHER: RAIN 40%, 89 degrees high

Favorites

Kyle Busch

Kyle is Mr. Kentucky. He’s raced in all nine Cup Series races there and has a top 10 finish in eight of them. He’s a two-time winner to go along with two runner-up results too. Busch, has six top five finishes in his last seven tries.

Denny Hamlin

No one has won as many times this season than Hamlin. Plus, while Hamlin has never won at Kentucky before, he does have three top five finishes in his last five tries.

Brad Keselowski

He’s a three-time Kentucky winner and has six top seven finishes in nine tries on the 1.5-mile track.

Joey Logano

This one is questionable but Logano also won on a similar 1.5-mile track at Las Vegas back in February. Logano, has six top 10 finishes in his last seven Kentucky tries.

Sleepers

Ryan Blaney

Worth a risk here. He’s had a ton of speed in his car this season and was runner-up in this race in 2018. He was also 10th in 2017 too.

Aric Almirola

Five straight top five finishes on the season. He’s confident. Go this direction.

Kurt Busch

He won this race last year and has four top 10 finishes in his last five tries on the race track.

Erik Jones

This is his chance to shine. Jones, was sixth in 2017, seventh in 2018 and third last year.

Quaker State 400 Race Preview

We have another race behind closed doors. It will be a busy weekend in Kentucky with five races in a span of three days, but this could also be the last time for a while that we have no fans coming through the gates too.

So, how will the race look? That’s what we’re after. Will it be another year of difficult passing and a track position race?

I honestly don’t think so. I have a feeling this could be one of the better Quaker State 400’s than we’ve seen in a while, if not ever.

First off, the race will run under day time conditions, not under the lights. Only the 2013 race was run under the sunshine and not under the lights and that’s the only year in the nine year history that the race winner didn’t come from a starting spot from inside the top 10.

Also, with the Kentucky hot sun and likely high humidity, it’s going to make the track hotter and slicker as a result. That could help in the sense that with the new repave, Kentucky has been a 1-groove race track.

Now, this could create another racing lane or even cause drivers to make mistakes since a one-groove track with high downforce and low horsepower didn’t seem to work in the past.

That could set up for another fun finish, especially if we have yet another late race caution.

Still, I think this race goes through Toyota. They’ve won two of the last three years and three of the last five overall.

Plus, some of the top drivers in the sport today have never won at Kentucky before. Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and other are all winless.

Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. have combined to win seven of the nine races. Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth won the other two. Will we see one of them win again, or a new winner in the Bluegrass State?

Key Stat

There’s been a different winner in each of the last six Cup races on 1.5-mile tracks, including all of them run in 2020. Among the last three years of races at Kentucky, none of which have won on a 1.5-mile track this season. In fact, in six of the nine years we’ve been coming to Kentucky, a race winner in those have not won on a 1.5-mile track this season either.

If we get another new winner on the season for 1.5-mile standards, then Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Cole Custer, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson or Alex Bowman are your best bets to do so.

They Said It

“It’s going to be tough,” Aric Almirola said of this weekend. “Kentucky is usually pretty hot in the summertime.  Kentucky in the middle of the day in the heat of the summer is going to be challenging.  The racetrack is probably going to be a lot slower, a lot slicker.

“But it will be fun.  I love those conditions.  The hotter the better, to be honest.  I feel like a lot of my training and stuff pays off in those conditions.  I don’t feel like I’m falling out of the seat.  I feel fresh, ready to go.  At the end of the race I feel as good as I do at the beginning of the race.  I enjoy it.  I know some people dread racing in the hot of the day.  I don’t mind it.  So I’m ready for Kentucky.

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