Quaker State four hundred conferred by Walmart

Kentucky Speedway - metropolis, KY

Saturday Gregorian calendar month fourteen, 7:30 p.m.

Eastern Time on NBCSN

1.5 Mile Tri-Oval

Weather: part Cloudy, 87°F

Previous 5 Winners and Pole Sitters

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the American state Saturday night with the Quaker State four hundred conferred by Walmart at Bluegrass State Speedway. a complete of thirty-nine cars square measure regular to enter the event. once last week's demolition hat at Daytona, NASCAR another time returns to the acquainted range of the "cookie-cutter" one.5 mile track. WHO can have the power unit to say the checkered flag within the rolling hills of Kentucky?

The Favorite(s)

Last week's race at Daytona marked the halfway purpose of the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season. What have we tend to learned to date this year? ejection the mental disease of restrictor-plate sport, the NASCAR Lord of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. square measure dominating the game. The 3 drivers have combined to win thirteen out of fifteen non-plate races this season, with Busch and Harvick having a clean sweep on the cookie-cutters. All 3 competitors have to be compelled to be thought of co-favorites in the week.

Kevin Harvick has won 0.5 the races run on cookie-cutters this season and finished within the top-five in 2 others. solely a blown tire at Charlotte has slowed him down on the one.5 mile tracks this year. However, his career record at Bluegrass State is not spectacular within the least. In seven starts, he has zero wins and nil top-five finishes.

"We’ve truly run rather well there the last few years and junction rectifier heaps of laps," Harvick aforementioned. "I’m undecided it's anybody issue that produces Bluegrass State difficult to be honest, only for the actual fact that they’ve recently repaved it and it extremely could be a distinctive track that's laborious to urge everything good."

Harvick's worst career end at Bluegrass State is sixteenth and he has 2 Xfinity Series wins here, Harvick is aware of means to|a way to} vie on this track and with the way he has been running this season it may translate into his 1st career triumph at Bluegrass State.

Kyle Busch has won the opposite 3 same races not won by Harvick this season and in contrast to his counterpart he features a sparkling career record at Bluegrass State. In seven starts he has 2 wins, 5 top-five and 6 top-ten finishes. he's conjointly the uncomparable track leader in laps junction rectifier with 549.

"I have many favorite (Kentucky) moments, actually," aforementioned Busch. "The 1st time sport within the Arca Series, I won that race a protracted time past. so simply many years past after I was ready to win the race at Bluegrass State in 2015 throughout my championship season, simply coming from injury, which was the primary of 3 races we tend to won during a row. we tend to were ready to pass Joey Logano that year late within the race and continue to win – that was a fun one, too. The track that year was extremely wide. we tend to were running four lanes off all-time low which ne'er happened before."

Martin Truex Jr. has 3 wins this season, however none of them have come back on a one.5 mile track. Last season Truex was the king of the cookie-cutters, winning seven out of 11 races on his thanks to the Cup Series championship. He won this race last year in dominating fashion.

"To return there once what happened (in 2016) and obtain our 1st win at Bluegrass State was awe-inspiring," Truex aforementioned. "It was the type of win that is a true confidence booster and gave U.S. heaps of momentum for the remainder of the year. obtaining your automotive to figure in (turn) 3 is that the real challenge. Cars square measure going quick out of (turn) 2 and carrying heaps of speed going into (turn) 3. It’s positively difficult – not optimum as so much as however you'd desire a track discovered."

Until another drivers intensify to the plate, the massive 3 square measure reaching to be serious favorites hebdomadally. the sole question is that one can cross the destination 1st.

Other Drivers to observe

Brad Keselowski continues to be checking out his 1st Cup Series checkered flag of the season and he must like his probabilities to say it in the week in Bluegrass State. Keselowski has won 3 of the seven races run in Bluegrass State and is second behind Kyle Busch in uncomparable laps junction rectifier with 483. He has had some success on the cookie-cutters this season with a fourth place end in Charlotte and a second place end in Atlanta. Keselowski is that the biggest threat to the massive 3 in the week, Bluegrass State represents his best shot at winning a race and securing a competition spot for the Chase.

Aric Almirola turned a corner at the last cookie-cutter race in Chicagoland by leading a race-high 70 laps and dominating the early parts of the race. Unfortunately for him, a series of loose wheels forced him to make several unscheduled pit stops and he fell out of contention. Almirola is a Stewart-Haas Racing teammate of Kevin Harvick and most likely Harvick's team has been sharing notes on setups. If the No. 10 team can take another step forward this week, Almirola could be a surprising contender at the end.

It wouldn't be surprising if Chase Elliott felt a little envious watching Erik Jones celebrate his first Cup Series victory last week. Elliott has been close so many times, including a third place finish in Kentucky last year. He showed serious speed by taking the pole at Daytona last week and at some point he will break through for that elusive first win.

News Around the Track

Hendrick Motorsports announced this week that they have extended their partnership with Mtn Dew through 2020 to remain a sponsor of the No. 9 car driven by Chase Elliott. In the deal which began this season, Mtn Dew will be the primary car sponsor for four races annually and an associate sponsor for the rest of the races on the schedule.

"Like the Elliott family, Mtn Dew has a tremendous legacy in racing," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Chase's performance on the track, lifestyle off the track and popularity with the fans make him a perfect fit for the brand. This new agreement will take our association with PepsiCo into our 24th season together. We're extremely proud of our partnership and look forward to the many great opportunities ahead."

Mtn Dew owner PepsiCo has been partners with Hendrick Motorsports since 1997. Previously the Mtn Dew brand was a sponsor of the recently retired Dale Earnhart Jr. Apparently the marketing department of Mtn Dew loves second generation drivers.