ThatsRacin

NASCAR Quaker State 400 preview: Kyle Larson on pole at Kentucky

Kyle Larson will start the race from the pole in Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway after qualifying was canceled on Friday due to rain. The lineup was set primarily by practice speeds.
Kyle Larson will start the race from the pole in Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway after qualifying was canceled on Friday due to rain. The lineup was set primarily by practice speeds. Getty Images

Everything you need to know about Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. Brad Keselowski, who starts second Saturday night, has won two of the past three Sprint Cup races at Kentucky.

2. NASCAR debuts this weekend the first of at least five track-specific aerodynamic rules packages it plans to use this season in hopes of improving the racing.

3. Jeff Gordon has won on 22 of the current 23 tracks on which the Cup series competes. His only missing victory is Kentucky, and this will be his last chance.

Observations

▪  The one common denominator between the catchfence incident at Daytona on Monday and the one Thursday night in the Truck race at Kentucky is the vehicles getting airborne. Clearly, that should be the focus of NASCAR’s work and perhaps it will quiet the crowd that thinks these incidents are somehow relegated only to Daytona and Talladega. There is a bigger issue here that needs serious study.

▪  Danica Patrick will make her 100th career start in the Cup series this weekend, the first female driver to reach that milestone. She has six career top-10 finishes and is 20th in the series standings.

▪  The Wood Brothers don’t run a full schedule, and when bad weather eliminates Cup series qualifying the teams that suffer the most are the ones who don’t show up at the track each week. Typically, it’s something that may not happen even once in a season. Unfortunately for the Wood Brothers and driver Ryan Blaney, it has happened two weeks in a row.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Brad Keselowski: A big proponent of the new rules package and a two-time winner at Kentucky provides a potent one-two punch.

Kevin Harvick: He doesn’t have a great starting position (15th) but he has been outstanding on 1.5-mile tracks such as Kentucky.

Kyle Larson: Larson’s been fast in the abbreviated practice sessions that have taken place and will start from the pole. Plus, he needs something to spark his difficult sophomore season.

He said it

“This place is ... a little treacherous and kind of tricky.” – Kyle Busch

Notes

Kyle Larson starts from the pole: A fast lap in an abbreviated practice session on Friday was good enough to put Kyle Larson on the pole for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

The practice that ended up setting the starting lineup when qualifying was rained out was only 48 minutes long, but Larson led the way with an average lap speed of 182.537 mph.

Brad Keselowski will start second, Jeff Gordon third, Joey Logano fourth and Martin Truex Jr. fifth.

Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil failed to make the field based on owner’s points and qualifying attempts.

‘Jeff Gordon Day’ rescheduled: Because of weather delays this week in Kentucky and the rescheduling of a NASCAR test session, the “Jeff Gordon Day” and parade scheduled for this past Thursday in Pittsboro, Ind., has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 23, at noon.

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

Quaker State 400

Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky.

Track type: 1.5-mile paved, banked oval.

Race distance: 267 laps, or 400.1 miles.

Green flag: 7:45 p.m.

Weather: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. High in the mid-80s.

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

  Comments