If you’re going anywhere near Sparta, Kentucky, be on the lookout for big colorful trucks carrying race cars. With all of Nascar’s Divisions competing in this weekends events, The Kentucky Speedway will be a busy place with qualifying, practice, and plenty of racing. The action begins Thursday night with the Camping World Truck Series, with the finale Saturday night with the big boys. The Nationwide Series will be on tap for Friday Night.
After two months of good racing on some of Nascar’s more exciting tracks, we will be returning to the 1.5 mile D-Oval in Kentucky. Ground was broken on the Kentucky Speedway in the summer of 1998, and the track opened for business in June of 2000. The track surface is asphalt and has 14 degree banking in the corners, 1-10 degrees in the tri-oval and 4 degrees on the straights.
Several racing events were held early on at the track including ARCA Series racing, Indy Cars(IRL), and a Craftsman Truck Series race. In the second year, Kentucky was awarded a Busch Series race which was won by Kevin Harvick.
Track owners filed a law suit in an effort to land a Nextel Cup race later in the 2002, stating that Nascar was violating Anti-Trust regulations by not giving the track a Cup date on the calendar. The law suit was dropped after a three year run and the judge cited that the track owners had failed to make their case. The track was purchased by Bruton Smith and the Speedway Corporation . The speedway continued to carry the Trucks, the Nationwide cars, and the Indy Cars, and after increasing the capacity of the grandstands from 66,000 to 107,000, re-configuring pit road was eventually given a Sprint Cup date in 2011.
Kyle Busch is your defending champion in this race after winning the inaugural race with a race speed of 137.319 miles per hour. There is no Sprint Cup qualifying speed record, as qualifying was rained out last year. Sarah Fisher holds the track speed record of 221.190 mph from the IRL.
The Camping World Truck Series is up first Thursday night with the UNOH 225 at 8:00PM EDT on The Speed Channel. The broadcast begins at 7:30PM EDT for this 150 lap event.
The Nationwide cars are up Friday evening on ESPN2 with the broadcast at 7:00 PM EDT and the green flag around 7:20 PM EDT. The Feed The Childeren 300 is 200 Laps.
Saturday night the broadcast for the Quaker State 400 will begin at 6:30 pm EDT on TNT with the green flag in the air for this 267 lap race at around 7:30 pm EDT.
Look for the Roush Fenway Fords to have a good night here in Kentucky. They typically thrive on these low banked mile and a half ovals. Greg Biffle, currently second in the points standings to teammate Matt Kenseth, posted the team’s most recent intermediate win earlier this spring in Fort Worth. The team’s three drivers have combined for 11 of 12 possible top-10 finishes in this season’s four intermediate races run to date.
Carl Edwards was the top RFR finisher in 2011 at Kentucky, where he was joined in the top 10 by Kenseth. Biffle’s 21st-place finish was just one lackluster part of a lackluster season, the memory of which has been erased by this year’s turnaround in which the Vancouver, Wash., driver has led the points 11 times and never ranked lower than third.
If history means anything, we are probably in for a snoozer on Saturday night. These drivers are too good to mismanage this venue. The track is low banked, and at the lower speeds the banking dictates, I wouldn’t look for too many cautions. The trucks and the younger guys will probably provide the bulk of the weekends excitement. If I had time for only one of the races, I would sit down for the trucks.
This is the venue that Nascar gave us instead of the spring race at Atlanta. I don’t see this race being as good as what we were used to having at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Enjoy!
Image Courtesy Getty Images For Nascar
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