After a crazy Saturday night at Daytona, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway for the Seventh Annual Quaker State 400.
40 drivers are slated to arrive at Kentucky Speedway for the event.
There have only been six events at Kentucky. Only three times has the race had a different pole winner and a different race winner. Only two races have been won from the pole with Brad Keselowski being the last one to do so in 2014. In 2012, Keselowski set the race record at 145.607 mph. Keselowski also set the qualifying record in 2014 at 188.791 mph.
This is the first time in two years that NASCAR is not testing out a new aero package to be run for the next season at Kentucky.
Teams will have four seats of tires for practice, one set for qualifying, and eight sets for the race. Teams will run the same led-side tire code as last year, but will receive a new right side code. Goodyears goal is to provide more grip and introduce more tire wear.
Drivers are excited about returning to Kentucky Speedway.
“I’m really looking forward to Kentucky this weekend. It has been a good track for us in the past. We have made some gains on our intermediate program so I think our Fords should show some speed this weekend. We will carry our momentum from our win at Daytona and hopefully can leave Kentucky with another strong run in our Fifth Third Ford,” said last week’s winner, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
“I really enjoy racing at Kentucky and I’m looking forward to making my first-career Cup start there this weekend. We’ve had some good runs there in the truck and XFINITY series over the years, so hopefully some of that can translate over to this weekend. We are coming off a good weekend in Daytona, and while we didn’t get the finish I think we deserved, I feel like we really built some momentum as a team heading into this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting on the track on Friday and hopefully coming away with a good finish on Saturday night for everyone involved with this ARRIS team, “ said Daniel Suarez.
"We only go to Kentucky once a year so it's a little different from a lot of the other tracks that we go to. It's a little busier schedule this weekend because of the two-day show but we're excited to unload and get on track. Since the repave, Kentucky has changed a ton and really only has one groove. It's hard to race single file so we're going to have to make the most out of restarts and qualify as good as possible,” said Matt DiBenedetto.
Teams will have two practice sessions at 10:00 a.m. EDT and 1:00 p.m. EDT on the NBC Sports App. Teams will qualify at 6:15 p.m. EDT on Friday on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network. The Quaker State 400 will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
After a weekend at Daytona, the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Kentucky Speedway for the 17th Annual Alsco 300. The race will consist of stage lengths of 45 laps, 45 laps, and 110 laps.
44 drivers are scheduled to arrive at Kentucky Speedway. Notable names on the entry list include Paul Menard, Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick.
There have been 21 races at Kentucky Speedway. Only 16 races have had different pole winners. 13 drivers have found their way into victory lane at Kentucky Speedway. Only seven races have been won from the pole with Ky. Busch doing so in last year’s event. In 2012, Austin Dillon set the race record at 151.643 mph. In last year’s event, Ky. Busch set the pole winning speed at 187.318 mph.
Drivers are excited about returning to Kentucky.
“Kentucky is a track I can get around pretty good. They did add another layer of asphalt to the surface that we haven’t experienced yet. But I expect it to basically drive the same as last year, since no aging has happened yet. I’ll be on track in all three series, so there is plenty of time to check it out and hopefully get our NOS Rowdy Toyota Camry back into victory lane,” said Ky. Busch.
“I’ve always seemed to be able to get around Kentucky Speedway really well, and we’ve gotten some great finishes there. The Pilot Flying J team has been really putting things together and giving me awesome race cars, so I’m excited to get back there. After the good run at Iowa and an awesome run at Daytona before we got caught up in a crash, we’re building some steam for the second half and chasing the Playoffs, so we need another solid run this weekend,” said Michael Annett.
“Any time you have a repave it’s extremely noticeable, especially at a track like Kentucky, which is by far is the roughest race track we went to. You notice the banking a little bit, but overall you notice how much grip it has. I think we are pretty good at high grip race tracks. We were good at Texas this year and we have been good at Michigan and Kansas. I think Kentucky will be another place that we can have a really strong run. It’s a playoff track for us, so it will be important to go there and get a baseline with this new aero package,” said Ryan Reed.
Teams will have two practice sessions Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EDT and 6:00 p.m. EDT. The 6:00 p.m. EDT practice will be on NBCSN. Qualifying for the Alsco 300 will be at 4:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN on Friday. The race will also be on NBCSN beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
After a weekend off, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action at Kentucky Speedway for the seventh annual Buckle Up In Your Truck 225. Stage lengths will be 35-35-80 laps.
34 drivers are slated to compete on Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway. Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, JJ Yeley, and Brandon Jones are the only non-Truck series drivers competing in the event.
Teams had two practice sessions on Wednesday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway. In the first session, Grant Enfinger was fastest at 182.020 mph, Ky. Busch, B. Jones, Noah Gragson, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five. In the second and final practice session, Ky. Busch was fastest at 180.886 mph, Christopher Bell, Kaz Grala, Matt Crafton, and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five. Chase Briscoe will be in a backup truck during the race after smacking the wall in the final session.
There have been 19 races at Kentucky Speedway for the Truck Series. 16 of those 19 races have had different pole winners. There have only been 15 different race winners. Only three races have been won from the pole with Matt Crafton being the last driver to do so in 2015. Mike Bliss set the race record in 2002 at 143.515 mph. In 2016, Daniel Suarez set the qualifying record at 192.983 mph.
Drivers are excited about the return to Kentucky Speedway.
“I feel really good about where the No. 21 is at this point in the season and think that will carry over into Kentucky. It’s a track that has really been an all-or-nothing type of place for me, but we were able to kind of turn that around last year and pull out a top-five thanks to some good pit strategy earlier in the race. We’ve got the same truck that we ran at Kentucky last season and it’s done well for us this year, so I’ll just do my part and hopefully we’ll come out with another win on the other side,” said Johnny Sauter.
“I always look forward to getting back to the race track,” said TJ Bell. “We are still working hard every day at the shop to get our trucks better and better. I feel confident that we will have a strong Truck for this week’s race at Kentucky Speedway. I’ve made several starts at this track, so it’s some place I am familiar with, but I’m interested to get on track in this Truck since the repave. If we can keep our truck clean, we should have a chance at a solid finish.”
“We had a really good truck there last year and probably had a good shot of taking home a win, but we got caught up in a wreck that kept us from winning. I’m really looking forward to coming back to Kentucky with Banfield on board with us this weekend,” said Ky. Busch. “They’ve been with us on the Cup side at JGR, but this is the first time we get to welcome them to KBM. As far as running the triple, it always seems like a better idea when you plan it in the beginning of the year but, getting into the weekend, it’s usually hot there and it’s a lot of racing. Still, I’m up for the challenge of racing and learning what we can for the weekend, but also trying to win all three. I would like nothing more than to get Banfield its first win in its first race with KBM.”
Teams will qualify at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Fox Sports 1. The race will begin on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
In October 2016, Kentucky Speedway announced that they would be adding an additional layer of asphalt to their racing surface. This move was made after the previous repave, which happened before their July events, because the asphalt did not meet construction specifications.
"When our team examined the race track, portions of the paving performed earlier this year did not meet the construction specifications," said General Manager of Kentucky Speedway Mark Simendinger. "These deficiencies had no impact on this year's racing and would affect only the long term viability of the surface if left uncorrected. In order to remedy these issues, an additional surface course of asphalt will be applied. The track will cure over the winter and be fully in use in the spring."
With repaves, the surface takes a couple years to provide a higher quality of racing. However, Kentucky Speedway took the measures to help facilitate the aging of the surface as well as creating a groove.
After a brief stint at Texas Motor Speedway during its NASCAR weekends, the tire dragon made its voyage back to the grounds of Kentucky Speedway to begin preparing its surface.
The Kentucky Tire Dragon is already in full affect just over two months before the July 7-9 events at Kentucky Speedway.
The speedway released a video via Twitter to help showcase the work that is underway.
In just 71 days, Kentucky Speedway will host the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to kick off the second half of the season. Fans can purchase tickets by going to kentuckyspeedway.com/tickets or by calling (859)-578-2300.
Five practice sessions, two qualifying sessions, and one 300-mile event was not enough for officials at Texas Motor Speedway when it comes to a second racing groove on the newly repaved and reconfigured track.
Officials at Texas will run the Texas Tire Monster and the Kentucky Tire Dragon, which came overnight from Sparta, Kentucky to Fort Worth Texas, to help facilitate the movement of a second groove.
The Texas Tire Monster lays down rubber using heigh weight with highly cambered tires to put rubber on the track, but relies on the sun and heat for it to work. However, the Kentucky Tire Dragon creates heat through friction to grind the rubber into the track.
From now til race time, more rubber. pic.twitter.com/uW2hV0gg5F— Texas Motor Speedway (@TXMotorSpeedway) April 8, 2017
Officials will run both machines from 10 p.m. CST to 1:00 a.m. CST and then resume at 6:00 a.m. CST until the start of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Officials will also use the Team Texas Driving School, which is slated to run laps around the track from 6:30 p.m. CST to 10:00 p.m. CST, to help facilitate rubber lay down in the higher grooves.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 from Texas Motor Speedway will be live on FOX and Performance Racing Network at 1:30 p.m. EST. The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will consist of 334 laps broken down into two stages of 85 laps and the final stage consisting of 164 laps.