Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Today’s race review is the Quaker State 400 held at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at this track, on Saturday evening into night. The bumps on this 1.5 mile track give it character.
Qualifying was rained out on Saturday, so they line up according to practice speeds, with 18 Kyle Busch starting from the pole and 42 Juan Pablo Montoya next on him on the front row. 30 David Stremme, 15 Michael Waltrip, 50 T. J. Bell, 95 David Starr and 77 Robby Gordon were slowest in practice and did not make the race.
Since this is the inaugural Sprint Cup race, there are no previous Sprint Cup winners. 20 Joey Logano has won the last three Nationwide races here from the pole. Can he take that experience and win the Sprint Cup race? 2 Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide race here on Friday. Can he do it again on Saturday night? 18 kyle Busch won the Camping World Truck race on Thursday here. Can he win this one? Jeff Gordan has won three inaugural races. Can he make this his fourth? Twelve of the Sprint Cup drivers raced in the Nationwide race Friday night, including 5 Mark Martin, his first time on the track. Can any of them win, or will it be a new winner this time?
So, here we go! 22 Kurt Busch pulls in front of brother kyle to lead the race. 39 Ryan Newman and 24 Jeff Gordon get too close, but they both recover. A competition caution comes out after lap 30 because of the rain. 66 Michael McDowell gets back onto the lead lap. 4 Kasey Kahne comes out of the pits first to lead and the Green Flag is thrown on lap 35. 18 takes the lead. 22 gets by 4 for second. 48 Jimmie Johnson gets by 4 for third. 4 gets back by 48.
00 David Reutimann starts Green Flag Pitting on lap 72. 51 Landon Cassill leads when 18 pits. 83 Brian Vickers is too fast entering pit road and has to make a pass through. 33 Clint Bowyer almost looses it. 48 has a long pit stop. 18 retakes the lead after it all. Another round of Green Flag Pitting starts with 4. (Now mind you, I can only report what the TNT crew is covering and showing me. And while Kyle is leading, nothing else is being shown.) 32 Mike Bliss is too fast on pit road. And 18 is back in the lead.
The second caution is for debris. 31 Jeff Burton stays on the lead lap. 5 Mark Martin gets his lap back. 18 and 22 take fuel only, while 2 and 14 Tony Stewart stay out to lead the way. 2 chooses the outside and takes off. 4 and 00 race side by side for seventh. 00 and 17 Matt Kenseth get by 4.The third caution is for oil on the track. 18 got by 14 for second. 2 can’t hear his crew. The drivers who got the wave around on the previous caution make pit stops, while the leaders stay out. (And they show the moon in all it’s glory!) 18 takes the lead. 14, 18 and 2 are three wide for the lead and 2 takes the lead. 14 gets by 18. 48 and 22 race side by side, back and forth. 14 pits to start another round of Green Flag Pitting. 42 gets by 00 for fifth. 2 pits and 18 leads. 18 pits (and they show his pit stop) and 11 Denny Hamlin leads.
The fourth caution comes out when 1 Jamie McMurray blows the engine with much smoke and fire. He has to stop, as he couldn’t see anything. 6 David Ragan is leading. 11 is in the pits when the caution comes out but beats 6 to the Line in the pits to stay on the lead lap. 2 leads at the restart and takes off. 48 makes it three wide for second, as 18 spins the tires and stacks the bottom row up.
14 makes a final pit stop. 18 pits from second. 2 pits and 22 leads. 00 leads during this round. The fifth caution comes out for 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who blows a tire. He made a pit stop for fuel only and ran over something. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets his lap back. Six cars are on the lead lap. 2 and 22 pit. 18 and 17 lead the way.
The sixth caution comes out with six laps to go. 33 blows a tire and the carcass lands on 9 Marcos Ambrose. 18 Kyle Busch wins the Quaker State 400, the inaugural race at Kentucky Speedway. This is his third win this year and twenty-second career win. David Reutimann finished second and Jimmie Johnson was third, followed by Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin for the top ten. Kyle takes the points lead, moving up two spots. Kevin Harvick falls two spots to third. Carl Edwards stays in second, Kurt Busch stays in fourth. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth swap fifth and sixth. Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. swap seventh and eighth. Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin each move up a spot to make up the top ten in points. There were ten different leaders, although the coverage didn’t show all ten leaders.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR racing.