The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series invades the Kentucky Speedway this weekend for the seventh annual Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN). There’s no one as excited for this upcoming race than both Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Both have been stellar on the 1.5-mile northern Kentucky track, with each winning the last three years there.
In fact, other than Matt Kenseth’s triumph at Kentucky in 2013, the five other Cup trips to Kentucky have been won by either Keselowski or Busch.
Keselowski, has finished seventh, first, 33rd, first, sixth and first respectively in his six Kentucky starts. He’s also started on the front row the last three consecutive years there.
On 1.5-mile tracks this season, Keselowski has finishes of first (Atlanta), fifth (Las Vegas), sixth (Texas), second (Kansas) and 39th (Charlotte). With this track racing a lot like Vegas or Kansas, I’d expect another strong result out of the No. 2 Ford on Saturday night.
But, Busch will be there too. Outside of a 12th place run at Kentucky last year, he’s had a top 10 in his first five races there. His average finishing spot is 5.17. His Kentucky Speedway finishes are first, 10th, fifth, second, first and 12th respectively. Counter in his improvement on 1.5-mile tracks this season, and you have a reason to believe the No. 18 Toyota can reach victory lane for the first time all year.
Busch, struggled on 1.5-mile tracks to start the year off with finishes of 16th, 22nd and 15th respectively. But, in the two races since, Busch has finished fifth and second respectively.
He’s led 100 or more laps in three of his six Kentucky starts, so if Busch isn’t on his game on Saturday night, we may need to start exploring whether he will win or not before the regular season ends. He does have four top fives and six top 10’s over his last eight starts on the season too.