NASCAR has returned to Kentucky motor speedway this week for an unusual daytime race due to this season jumbled schedule. The cup series last daytime race at the venue was won by Matt Kenseth in 2013. Unfortunately for Kenseth, him and Martin Truex Jr. would start from the rear of the field after failing pre-race inspection.
Kyle Busch was this week’s lucky winner, drawing the pole for the race. Busch would hold on to his lead for a dozen laps before Aric Almirola moved into the lead, hold it through the lap 25 competition caution, and dominate the remaining laps of the initial stage.
Almirola maintained the lead into stage two, with Logano and Matt DiBenedetto keeping pace. Towards the end of the stage it was Blaney working his way through the top five to quickly take the lead from Almirola before green flag pit stops started with ten laps to go.
The stops had almost cycled through, but with seven laps left in the stage Kenseth had a tire go down a spun out, binging out a caution. Brad Keselowski was the last car to pit, and with great luck from the caution was able to maintain the lead. Keselowski hung on to win the stage after a restart with one lap to go where teammate Blaney gave him a drag race to the green and white checkered.
Stage three would start with Blaney in the lead, but soon Truex Jr. would find himself out front. While the track had comers and goers it seemed difficult for drivers to move through the field.
Green flag stops started with less than 60 laps left in the race. With 38 laps to go the yellow flag flew after Brendan Poole had a tire go down. Austin Dillon also spun as he avoided entering the suddenly closed pit road.
On the restart it was Truex Jr. and Blaney dueling out front of a chaotic field of competitors jockeying for position. Jimmie Johnson, who missed last week with Covid19, made it from ninth to third and was chasing down the two leaders before John Hunter Nemecheck slammed the wall bringing out another caution with 23 laps to go.
The field didn’t make it too far after the green flag dropped as Johnson went spinning through the infield off the bumper of Keselowski. In that short run Blaney was able to take the lead and control the next restart, but it was Kevin Harvick with the power move to make it three wide to take the lead.
It was not over there as the caution came out again for Kenseth spinning with seven laps to go. The ensuing restart was one of the most chaotic in NASCAR as they race three wide for the lead over the final several laps. Blaney made a hard charge for the lead before making contact with Harvick and it was Cole Custer on the outside from fourth to first on the last lap to pull off the most unexpected win of the season.
Top five: Cole Custer, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch
The cup series will return to action on Wednesday at 7:00 PM for the All-Star race at Bristol.