I could be wrong, this is just from my eyes, but it appeared to me that Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 was the best attended race at the Kentucky Speedway since the inaugural event in 2011. Since that race, the crowd looked to steadily decline.
Parking nightmares caused that.
But, the crowd looked up in 2016 over 2015 and 2017’s race looked to be considerably up compared to the 2012 through 2016 races.
It’s great to see the demand back at such a great venue. The only problem is, did the action the fans were treated to this weekend make all those in attendance on Saturday night want to come back in 2018?
Martin Truex Jr. stole the show in winning all three stages en route to a dominating victory. He led 152 of the 274 laps. For most of the second half of the event, he held a lead of over 10+ seconds. If not for a late caution coming to the white flag, Truex would have won rather easily. He had a 16-second lead at that point.
Mix that with him and Kyle Busch leading all but 10 laps, and running 1-2 for most of the race, and it’s clear that maybe the racing wasn’t as good as fans may have liked.
The two recent repaves made the 1.5-mile track mostly a one groove circuit. It’s tough to pass when there’s one preferred groove and everyone is virtually going the same speed. Fans were treated by Kyle Larson coming the field twice and passing 78 cars on Saturday night.
But, for the rest of the field, track position was premium.
That can change in years to come as NASCAR and the track are working on avenues to better the product, but the main question is, did last night’s race make the huge crowd want to come back in 2018?
The jury is still out.