The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its second visit to Kentucky Speedway for the 17th race of the 2012 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 30, 2012; 7:46 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high of 94; wind out of the WNW at 7 mph. There is a 10% chance of precipitation on race day.
The Track: Kentucky Speedway
Kansasis 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, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports. Kyle Busch dominated last season’s inaugural race at the track, but 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.
46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy dominated the Kentucky race last year. He should be cranking again this visit to the Bluegrass State.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has eight top 10 finishes in 11 career starts at Kansas and finished third last year. He will be in the lead pack all day.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has been down-right dominant on intermediate tracks so far this season. Get him active this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards is always a good-shoe on 1.5 mile ovals. He is one of our picks to take home checkers in Kentucky.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth, even though on the way out at Roush Fenway, has been one of the top intermediate track drivers this season. He is a terrific pick.
6 to 10
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle struggled last year at Kentucky, but he is usually a great pick on this type of track. He will just fail to crack the top five this weekend.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne is another driver that has been flying on intermediate tracks this season. He should be used in most leagues.
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. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has won at Kansas and has averaged a top 20 finish in the other six intermediate length track races this season. Use him in all leagues.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has cracked the top five three times in seven 1.5 mile ovals this season. He is a great option.
11 to 20
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has won three Nationwide Series races at Kentucky. He is a great pick.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin is awesome on intermediate tracks. He is one of our top picks.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has averaged a 15th place finish on intermediate length tracks this season. He will take the checkers right around this average.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman always qualifies well on intermediate tracks like Kentucky and he finished fourth last 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. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has been awesome at mid-distance tracks this season. Get him on your team this week.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has driven very well on intermediate speedways this year. He is a definite option.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard is a decent value choice. He is worth using in deep leagues.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith finished 17th at Kentucky last year. We like him.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Double-A has averaged an 18th place finish on intermediate tracks so far this year. He should finish about his average this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 22 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. has been a disappointment on medium length tracks this season. This is a good weekend to avoid The Dinger.
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. 51 Kurt Busch: Busch has just one top 20 finish on intermediate length tracks this season. There are far better 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. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been shutout of the top 10 in intermediate length track races this season. He isn’t an option.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan was great at Kentucky last season. He is a sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 10 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 isn’t an option. He has struggled at intermediate length tracks this year.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip is back in the No. 55 this weekend. His best is WAY behind him.
No. 33 Stepehn Leicht
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 49 J.J. Yeley
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 52 Mike Skinner
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 74 Stacey Compton
1. Kyle Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Carl Edwards
1. Marcos Ambrose
2. Martin Truex Jr.
Bust of the Week: