Jun 27, 2014; Sparta, KY, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) after winning the pole during qualifying for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ice Picks - Kentucky Speedway


Move over thoroughbreds, a horse power of the mechanical type is taking over this weekend at the Bluegrass state, Kentucky.

Team Penske dominated the front row in qualifying with Brad Keselowski taking the pole and Joey Logano taking the second spot as Ford looks to take its first ever win at Kentucky Saturday night.

Keselowski unloaded fast, posting the fastest time during practice and by the time Happy Hour ended, Brad was second fastest on the board. Kez won the second Kentucky race in 2012 in a Dodge. His career stats are a win, one top 5 and two top 10s with an average finish of 13.7, which is respectable but with Team Penske riding high this year, Brad’s shot at winning Saturday night is likely with one out three winners coming out of the pole spot.

Joey Logano unloaded with the fifth fastest time during first practice and by the time the Happy Hour was over, Joey had the ninth fastest time.  Logano ranks just ahead of Brad with one top five, one top 10 and an average finish of 13.3.  Joey, to me, seems to have the edge over Brad in the bumps with the preferred racing groove he drives.

Kyle Larson leads the rookie pack as he unloaded fast topping the charts in his Chevrolet, and with a sixth starting position, looks very promising for a good finish. Larson is the real deal and should be on your fantasy teams as he should give you good points and maybe breaks through and gets his first win.

First Practice speeds:

#42-Larson 183.549
#2-Keselowski 182.143
#55-Vickers 182.143
#1-McMurray 181.318
#14-Stewart 181.287

Here’s today’s Happy Hour final practice speeds:

#2-Keselowski 183.101
#20-Kenseth 182.309
#42-Larson 182.088
#24-Gordon 181.941
#22-Logano 181.677

Toyota races very well at Kentucky winning two out of the three races. Kyle Busch won the first race and Matt Kenseth won last year. Kenseth has the better starting position among the Gibbs drivers with the 14 th spot and to me is a serious threat to take the checkers Saturday night.

Goodyear is using tire code left side D4556, right side D4440. It’s the same combination run since the inaugural race here in Kentucky. Drivers that tested on May 20 and 21 at Kentucky were Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski and Brian Vickers.

This is the toughest track the left turners face all season, there are a few 1.5 tracks on the schedule but none of the other tracks has the feel and bumps that Kentucky brings to the schedule. How tough is this track? It makes the drivers teeth chatter and some wear rubber protectors for this one race only. The only other track that is similar to Kentucky is the backstretch of California Speedway with its bumps according to Tony Stewart.

There isn’t much for stats at Kentucky with only three races. If you need more info, refer to my Kentucky Power Rankings – Fantasy Insider and the other stats articles on stockcarspin.com.

The weather for Sparta, Kentucky, doesn’t look to good as thunderstorms are in the forecast through the weekend so think about your fantasy lineups in case of a shortened race.

I never pick winners, my picks are based on who is going to give you the most points for your fantasy teams, if they win its a bonus

Here are my Ice Picks for Kentucky:

 

A List

 

Matt Kenseth- has the best average finish and a winner last year.

Jeff Gordon- has never won at Kentucky, the other being Homestead. He starts third and has the eight best driver rating at Kentucky.

Kevin Harvick- has been a stud at 1.5 track this season.

 

B List

 

Brad Keselowski- has won here before and with the pole makes him a bigger threat.

Joey Logano- has the second starting spot and prime for a win.

Jamie McMurray- has picked it up lately as he gets a top 10.

Paul Menard- has been quietly picking up the pace.

 

C List

 

Kyle Larson- you have to be nuts not to have him Saturday night.

 

Groupings are based on last year final points standings, A 1-10, B 11-25 and C 26 on up including rookies. Don’t forget to make your fantasy picks for a Saturday Night Special, Good Luck!

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@JoeIcemanNieves

 

 

 

Tags: Brad Kesekowski Kentucky Speedway Kyle Busch NASCAR