Many sports have teams or players that simply dominated in their era or their time. Boxing will forever have Muhammad Ali as it's greatest man to step between the ropes and glove up, while in basketball many will always consider Michael Jordan the greatest player to ever dribble the ball on the court. Baseball has it's dominant players, like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and others, and the same goes for football with players like Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Tom Brady.
Racing is different as even though a team can dominate for most of a season, some races it's someone else taking away from the headlines.
That was definitely the case at the Kentucky Speedway. For the last couple months the focus was always on Hendrick Motorsports and their dominating performances since Kansas. The team had combined to win five of six races, and were coming to a track size that ultimately they had figured out ahead of many others. But, from the moment qualifying began, it was clear the Hendrick teams had competition.
Penske Racing not only swept the front row, they nearly had a sweep of the entire night. Of the race's 267 laps, the duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano led all but 31 of those laps. Had it not been for an engine losing power late in the run, it possibly could have been Penske's second 1-2 sweep since 2008, and the first time since 2011 that two team cars started on the front row and finished in the same spots.
In the end, there was no doubt who stole the headlines at the Kentucky Speedway, as Keselowski shot out to the front to start, and stayed there to the finish. The only thing that slowed down the celebration was him cutting his hand open on a broken champagne bottle in victory lane.
There were very few cuts and scrapes this week with the picks. No victories to speak of, however all but three participants scored top-10 runs. Another strong showing this season for everyone.
Here's the standings after the Quaker State 400:
Kara Martin (642) Kevin Harvick finished 7th - 3
Sal Sigala Jr. (617) Jimmie Johnson finished 10th - 5
Ryan O'Hara (588) Jamie McMurray finished 37th - 4
Patti Rodisch (584) Jeff Gordon finished 6th - 2
Rob Tiongson (581) Jeff Gordon finished 6th - 2
Rob Blount (543) Matt Kenseth finished 4th - 1
Billy Fellin (539) Matt Kenseth finished 4th - 1
Dustin Parks (533) Matt Kenseth finished 4th - 2
Michael Hirshbein (526) Kyle Busch finished 2nd - 1
Aaron Rosser (499) Joey Logano finished 9th - 1
Misan Akuya (490) Jamie McMurray finished 37th - 1
James Broomhead (468) NO PICK SENT - 2
Next Race: It was just a few weeks back when NASCAR marked the halfway point in the run to the Chase. The next race officially marks the halfway point of the season. It also means NASCAR makes the halfway point by going back to where it all began.
This week's race is almost a mirror image of how the season began, with a couple slight differences. Instead of being 500 miles in length, it is the same distance as Kansas, Chicagoland, Las Vegas and Kentucky. It's not occurring on a Sunday afternoon, leading into a Sunday night, but rather it is a Saturday night party. But the one thing that remains constant, is the race track.
NASCAR makes it's first return trip of the 2014 season as it is back to Daytona for their annual summer classic on the Fourth of July weekend. Writers, this is always a challenge because of it being a crapshoot. Have your picks locked in by Thursday, July 3, at 10 p.m. ET for the Coke Zero 400.
Author Note: Deadline is critical as article will be posted Thursday evening, due to me covering an event on Friday night.