One thing that is very common among many tracks in NASCAR is that over time, they start to show age, or as many drivers say they begin to get a "character" as the years pass. But often whn that happens, many track owners look to give it a new surface to make it last longer, and thus also increasing the speeds. Sometimes it is done by necessity, as in Daytona after the 2010 season.
But NASCAR this week is going to a track that despite being the most common size of track on the circuit, it is one of the hardest to get a handle on.
The simple reason is because of the character of the track. Even though this is only the fourth Sprint Cup race ever held at the track, all the drivers agree it should not change simply because of the age of the racing surface. NASCAR this week is in Kentucky, which is more known for a race of the four-legged kind rather than four wheels and eight cylinders.
The Kentucky Speedway has many bumps all around the track, making it a challenge for the drivers to get a handle as the conditions change. A year ago, it was a day race due to rain causing a postponed event. This year, it's back under the lights to determine a winner.
Our writers are ready, and are hopeful for a win after a lot of success a week ago. Here's the picks for the Quaker State 400:
Misan Akuya: Jamie McMurray
McMurray was close last week. His speed this year has been impressive as Ganassi has upped their game. Jamie Mac finished second here last year. He can only go up.
Rob Blount: Matt Kenseth
Won this race last year. It’s about time he breaks into victory lane this year and it may as well happen this Saturday night.
James Broomhead: NO PICK
No pick submitted.
Billy Fellin: Matt Kenseth
Kenseth has an average finish of 4.7 at Kentucky...where better to get his first win of the season?
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Won the first race here.
Kara Martin: Kevin Harvick
It's go time!
Ryan O'Hara: Jamie McMurray
Dustin Parks: Matt Kenseth
I have been in freefall for the last few weeks, and somehow barely squeeked out a top-10 last week. I need a win, and yes I admit this is a gamble. Sure Kenseth won this race a year ago, but conditions were a lot different. He got punted into the wall by Dale Jr. a week ago, and you can bet he didn't forget. I hope he plays it smart and doesn't go after payback, because the best payback is getting the victory.
Patti Rodisch: Jeff Gordon
This is a Gordon type track and his success this season puts him as a favorite. Gordon completes the sweep at Kentucky.
Aaron Rosser: Joey Logano
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
Gotta like that JG and Team 24 are going to bring their Kansas car to Kentucky. While this track is far bumpier, this is the best chassis in their stable and I anticipate a historical moment come Saturday night in SPARTAAAAA!
Standings after Sonoma:
Kara Martin (605) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 3
Sal Sigala Jr. (583) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 5
Ryan O'Hara (581) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 4
Patti Rodisch (546) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 2
Rob Tiongson (543) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 2
Rob Blount (503) Tony Stewart finished 19th - 1
Billy Fellin (499) Jeff Gordon finished 2nd - 1
Dustin Parks (493) Tony Stewart finished 19th - 2
Michael Hirshbein (483) Marcos Ambrose finished 8th - 1
Misan Akuya (483) Tony Stewart finished 19th - 1
James Broomhead (468) Marcos Ambrose finished 8th - 2
Aaron Rosser (463) Tony Stewart finished 19th - 1
Final Remarks: As was said before, Kentucky is the same size track as places like Kansas, Texas, Las Vegas and Charlotte, but is a completely different track than any of them. Even the television cameras showcase the cars bouncing in the corners and even down the straightaways, meaning that each driver feels those bumps on each lap, and will upset the car.
Whomever can handle the bumps the best will make it to victory lane in the Bluegrass State. Find out who beginning at 6:30 p.m. on TNT.
Summary of Picks: