Crunching The Numbers: Kentucky

By David Morgan On Wed, Jun. 26, 2013

QS400

After a weekend of turning left and right at the road courses at Sonoma and Road America, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series, joined by their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series counterparts, head back east to the 1.5 mile Kentucky Speedway for the second tripleheader of the season. This time around all three races will be under the lights of this oval that is a relative newcomer to the schedule, having only hosted all three series for the past two years.

Sprint Cup Series – Quaker State 400

As the Sprint Cup Series heads into Kentucky Speedway for a Saturday night showdown under the lights, the series reaches an important milestone for the season. This weekend’s race marks the beginning of the 10 races before the start of the “Chase for the Sprint Cup”. The so-called “Race for the Chase” sets off a mad dash for drivers trying to accumulate wins and rack up points to either make the Chase or improve their position in the standings for a better seed once the Chase starts. There are also a couple of unknowns surrounding this race since the teams have a slim notebook on setups for this track since it has only been on the schedule since 2011 and the Gen6 makes its Kentucky debut this weekend as well.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Brad Keselowski 2 1 1 2 0 147 7.0 4.0
Jimmie Johnson 2 0 1 2 1 21 3.0 4.5
Kyle Busch 2 1 1 2 0 243 1.5 5.5
Matt Kenseth 2 0 0 2 0 0 16.5 6.5
Denny Hamlin 2 0 1 1 0 63 14.5 7.0
Kasey Kahne 2 0 1 1 0 1 11.5 7.5
Jeff Gordon 2 0 1 2 0 0 11.5 7.5
Carl Edwards 2 0 1 1 0 0 16.0 12.5
Martin Truex, Jr. 2 0 1 1 0 1 13.0 13.0
Kevin Harvick 2 0 0 0 0 0 11.5 13.5

Who To Watch: As one of the only two winners at Kentucky and the defending race winner, Brad Keselowski has found a way to get around the 1.5 mile oval better than anyone else, with his one win, one top five, two top tens, 147 laps led, and an average finish of 4.0. Five-time Sprint Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson, comes in right behind Keselowski with one top five, two top tens, one pole, 21 laps led, and an average finish of 4.5. Kyle Busch, the inaugural race winner at Kentucky, falls in just behind Keselowski and Johnson with one win, one top five, two top tens, 243 laps led, and an average finish of 5.5.

Others who run well at Kentucky include: Matt Kenseth, with two top tens and an average finish of 6.5; Denny Hamlin, who could really use a win to boost his Chase hopes, with one top five, one top ten, 63 laps led, and an average finish of 7.0; Kasey Kahne, with one top five, one top ten, one lap led, and an average finish of 7.5; and Jeff Gordon, with one top five, two top tens, and an average finish of 7.5.

Nationwide Series – Feed The Children 300

As the second half of the weekend tripleheader, the Nationwide Series has been running at Kentucky since 2001 and moved to two races per year at the track last season. Only two Sprint Cup Series regulars will be running on Friday night and if the Nationwide Series regulars can get past those two drivers then a Nationwide Series regular should find their way to Victory Lane. For even more incentive for a Nationwide regular to run well in this race, this is the qualifier for the first “Dash 4 Cash” race at Daytona. The top four finishers among Nationwide Series regulars at Kentucky will have a shot at a $100,000 bonus in the race next week at Daytona.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Austin Dillon 2 2 2 2 2 257 1.0 1.0
Brad Keselowski 5 1 4 5 0 132 11.0 3.6
Sam Hornish, Jr. 2 0 1 2 0 5 3.5 4.0
Elliott Sadler 3 0 2 3 1 101 7.0 6.3
Justin Allgaier 5 0 2 4 0 29 6.2 9.0
Kyle Busch 5 1 3 3 0 311 12.2 9.8
Cole Whitt 2 0 0 1 0 0 12.5 10.0
Trevor Bayne 3 0 0 0 0 0 10.0 11.3
Michael Annett 5 0 1 4 0 5 13.0 11.8
Brad Sweet 2 0 0 1 0 0 16.5 13.0

Who To Watch: Austin Dillon made his first two starts at Kentucky in 2012 and has a perfect record thus far at the track with two wins, two top fives, two top tens, two poles, 257 laps led and an average finish of 1.0 in his two starts. If Dillon can continue his Kentucky magic, the No. 3 Chevrolet will be tough to beat Friday night.

Others to keep an eye on include Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, who will be running all three races during the weekend, with one win, four top fives, five top tens, 132 laps led, and an average finish of 3.6 in five starts; Sam Hornish, Jr., with one top five, two top tens, five laps led and an average finish of 4.0 in two starts; Elliott Sadler, with two top fives, three top tens, one pole, 101 laps led, and an average finish of 6.3 in three starts; Justin Allgaier, with two top fives, four top tens, 29 laps led, and an average finish of 9.0 in five starts; and Kyle Busch, who is always a threat in these Nationwide Series races, with one win, three top fives, three top tens, 311 laps led, and an average finish of 9.8 in five starts.

Camping World Truck Series – UNOH 225

For the first time in three weeks, the Camping World Truck Series heads back to the track to kick off the weekend tripleheader with their race on Thursday night. As in the Nationwide Series race, a couple of Sprint Cup regulars, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, will be running this race to try and complete the tripleheader weekend. With that in play, we will see a battle between the up and comers that are regulars in this series and the Sprint Cup regulars that have reached the upper echelon of the sport. Who will win out between the two? Tune in Thursday to find out.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Kyle Busch 3 1 1 3 0 177 4.7 4.7
James Buescher 6 2 3 5 0 188 10.5 7.3
Joey Coulter 4 0 1 3 1 47 8.0 7.8
Ty Dillon 3 0 2 2 0 3 7.3 8.0
Ryan Blaney 1 0 0 0 0 13 16.0 11.0
Ron Hornaday, Jr. 10 3 3 6 1 141 10.9 11.6
Matt Crafton 14 0 4 9 1 36 11.2 11.6
Johnny Sauter 6 0 1 3 1 50 6.7 12.3
Timothy Peters 9 0 2 3 0 13 14.3 15.7
Brad Keselowski 3 0 1 1 0 4 22.7 16.7

Who To Watch: Kyle Busch leads all active drivers at Kentucky with one win, one top five, three top tens, 177 laps led and an average finish of 4.7 in three starts at the track. 2012 Truck Series champion James Buescher comes in just behind Busch with two wins, three top fives, five top tens, 188 laps led, and an average finish of 7.3 in six races. Joey Coulter, driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports, is next with one top five, three top tens, one pole, 47 laps led, and an average finish of 7.8 in four starts. Ty Dillon also has a good record with two top fives, two top tens, three laps led, and an average finish of 8.0 in three starts.

Others to keep an eye on include rookies Jeb Burton and Darrell Wallace, Jr, both of whom have never raced at Kentucky and Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who will be driving his own team’s truck and trying to capture the Truck Series win that has eluded him thus far in his career.

David Morgan (42 Posts)

David Morgan is a native of Raymond, MS and has been a NASCAR fan since the early 90's. Learning to love the sport from his father and after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993 at the age of 7, he has been hooked ever since. David has attended and covered races all across the country at tracks such as Talladega Superspeedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Daytona International Speedway and hopes to continue to add to that list in the years ahead. David is a graduate of The University of Mississippi and besides NASCAR, is a fan of Ole Miss athletics, as well as the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts of the NFL. Follow on Twitter at @damorgan86


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