The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its inaugural visit to Kentucky Speedway for the 18th race of the 2011 season, the Quaker State 400. Rotoworld.com's Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Saturday.When:
Saturday, June 9, 2011; 7:48 p.m./et.Weather:
Partly cloudy with a high of 88; wind out of the East at 5 mph. There is a 20% chance of precipitation on race day.The Track:
Kansas is a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It has 14 degree banking in the corners, 10 degree banking in the tri-oval and four degree banking on the straight-aways.Key to Race:
WHO CAN FIGURE OUT THE SPEEDWAY FIRST?
Kentucky is another 1.5 mile oval which favors teams like Roush-Fenway and Hendrick Motorsports. Joey Logano
is one of the few Cup drivers to have raced at the track and he has three consecutive Nationwide Series wins. Based on this past experience on the speedway he is a great choice. Since there are very little statistics to base our predictions on we compared tracks intermediate length tracks like Kansas and Las Vegas that have similar configurations to help give a glimpse of Saturday's race. Qualifying Procedures:
48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2011 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by a two lap qualifying run on Friday, July 8 at 5:10 pm/et.Fantasy Cheat Sheet:Top 5
No. 99 Carl Edwards
: Edwards is always a good-shoe on 1.5 mile ovals. He is our pick to take home the inaugural checkers in Kentucky.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin
: Hamlin is awesome on intermediate tracks. He is one of our top picks.
No. 20 Joey Logano
: Logano has won the past three Nationwide Series races at Kentucky. He is a great pick.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth
: Kenseth has been one of the top intermediate track drivers this season. He is a terrific pick.
No. 16 Greg Biffle
: Biffle has been really fast at Kansas during his career. With the similarities between the two tracks we love his chances. 6 to 10
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
: Johnson has eight top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at Kansas. He will be in the lead pack all day.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick
: Harvick has been great on intermediate tracks this season. He should have the No. 29 back inside the top 10.
No. 5 Mark Martin
: Martin has been the "king" of intermediate tracks during his career. He will drive his usual smart race and should finish near the top 10.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski
: Keselowski won at Kansas and has averaged a top 15 finish in the other six intermediate length track races this season. Use him in all leagues.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer
: Bowyer has averaged a 12th place finish on intermediate length tracks this season. He will take the checkers right around this average.11 to 20
No. 24 Jeff Gordon
: Gordon has cracked the top 10 just once in seven 1.5 mile ovals this season. He isn't a terrific option.
No. 18 Kyle Busch
: Rowdy has had mixed results at Kansas and Las Vegas. Look for him to just miss the top 10 this weekend.
No. 22 Kurt Busch
: Busch is a decent pick this year. He should have the No. 22 inside the top 15 when the checkers fly.
No. 39 Ryan Newman
: Newman has cracked the top five in two of the seven races on intermediate tracks this year. He is an interesting pick.
No. 14 Tony Stewart
: Stewart is just a top 15 choice this weekend. He hasn't been terrific on 1.5 mile ovals this year.
No. 6 David Ragan
: Ragan is on fire. He is worth using this weekend as a fourth driver in deep leagues.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
: Junior has struggled the past few races and his frustration showed after Saturday's race at Daytona. We think he will just miss the top 15 once again.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne
: Kahne has been very average on intermediate tracks this year. He isn't someone to use unless you are in a deep league.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
: Montoya has been mediocre at best on medium length tracks this season. He isn't much of an option.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. is usually a top 20 driver on medium length tracks. This is a good weekend to sneak The Dinger onto your roster.21 to 30
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
: Ambrose has driven surprisingly well on intermediate speedways this year. He is a sleeper option.
No. 83 Brian Vickers
: Vickers has actually driven well at intermediate speedways this season. This is a good weekend to get the No. 83 on your roster.
No. 27 Paul Menard
: Menard is a decent value choice. He is worth using in deep leagues.
No. 31 Jeff Burton
: Burton has been shutout of the top 10 in intermediate length track races this season. He isn't an option.
No. 78 Regan Smith
: Smith has two top finishes on intermediate tracks this season. We like him.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.
: Truex Jr. has been very inconsistent at Kentucky length tracks this year. There are a few better sleeper options.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray
: McMurray has been very average on tracks with similar distance to Kentucky. We predict more of the same from him.
No. 00 David Reutimann
: Reutimann has had quite a few issues on intermediate tracks so far this season. He isn't much of a pick.
No. 13 Casey Mears
: Mears has been awful this season on intermediate tracks. Avoid him.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
: Labonte's isn't an option. He has struggled at intermediate length tracks this year.Field Fillers
No. 15 Michael Waltrip
No. 37 David Gilliland
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 50 T.J. Bell
No. 37 Tony Raines
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 77 Scott Wimmer
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 81 Scott Riggs
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 95 David StarrBrownie's PicksTop Four:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Joey Logano
4. Matt KensethSleepers:
1. Marcos Ambrose
2. Brian VickersBust of the Week:Jeff Burton