RACE PREVIEW

 

COKE ZERO (Firecracker) 400

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

JULY 5th, 7:30PM on TNT-TV

2.5 MILES, 31 Degrees of Banking

If it is 4th of July it must be time for the Firecracker 400 – oops make that the Coke Zero 400. Whatever you call it, nothing says summer like this race. I remember many a 4th listening to this race on the radio wherever I was. I remember even more vividly sweating profusely in the stands at Daytona on a couple of very hot July race weekends. As much as I revere tradition, I fully supported the idea to change this to a night race. Not only does it add to any holiday weekend to have a Saturday night race, it makes it a much more comfortable race to attend. Under the lights this race shines. This is our third restrictor plate race of the year and we have ten different winners in seventeen races so far this year. There is a very good chance that we’ll have a first-time winner at this race – after all it was three years ago that Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in a partial season ride and David Ragan had his first win at the 400. The Hendrick Motorsports engine shop has the last four wins, Roush/Yates the three before that. Will we see an eleventh winner for the season or a return victor to victory lane? We’ll know Saturday night.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers on restrictor plate tracks in advance of the Coke Zero 400, Thursday we’ll rank the Top 30 drivers for that race.

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TOP 5 DRIVERS

QUAKER STATE 400 from KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

 

 

The #5 driver to watch won here in the Camping World Truck series, the Nationwide series, AND was the first driver to win here in the Sprint Cup series, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle won Kentucky Speedway’s debut Sprint Cup race and finished 5th here last year. In fact all three of his races have been Top 10’s. Kyle is also shooting for a sweep as he plans to race all three races here this weekend. Kyle has had three finishes 30th or worse in the last six weeks, but he is hoping to turn things around here.

 

My #4 driver to watch has also won here before, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad won the Cup race here two years ago. Brad has also won in the Nationwide Series and is another driver running all three races here to get a little more track experience. Brad comes in here #4 Hottest over the last six weeks and #4 ranked on tracks like this.

 

My #3 driver to watch is the third driver to win here, #20 Matt Kenseth. He is #1 ranked on tracks like this, and he is the defending champion of this race.  Matt also has a 6th and 7th place finish here. After a tough day in Sonoma he is happy to be back in the south.

 

My #2 driver has won at every track on the circuit but this one, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff may not have won in the three races held here but he did finish in the Top 10 in all three races. Jeff finished #2 at Sonoma Sunday and that helped make him #2 hottest over the last six weeks.

 

My #1 has never won here either, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie is Top 5 ranked on tracks like this, sits #2 in points and with three wins in the last six races sits #1 hottest over the last six weeks.  Will he continue to be red hot in the Bluegrass State? We’ll find out Saturday night.

 

 

 

Monday look for our preview of the COKE ZERO 400 from Daytona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 30 DRIVERS

Quaker State 400 from KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY  

 

1. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

2. JEFF GORDON #24

3. MATT KENSETH #20

4. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

5. KYLE BUSCH #18

6. KEVIN HARVICK #4

7. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88

8. KASEY KAHNE #5

9. CARL EDWARDS #99

10. JOEY LOGANO #22

11. CLINT BOWYER #15

12. RYAN NEWMAN #31

13. MARTIN TRUEX #78

14. DENNY HAMLIN #11

15. KURT BUSCH # 41

16. PAUL MENARD #27

17. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1

18. TONY STEWART #14

19. KYLE LARSON # 42

20. MARCOS AMBROSE #9

21. AUSTIN DILLION #3

22. ARIC ALMIROLA #43

23. GREG BIFFLE #16

24. A.J. ALLMENDINGER #47

25. DANICA PATRICK #10

26. RICKY STENHOUSE #17

27. CASEY MEARS #13

28. BRIAN VICKERS #55

29. DAVID RAGAN #34

30. DAVID GILLILAND #38

 

 

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch in the Quaker State 400.

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST SONOMA

1. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

2. TEAM PENSKE

3. STEWART HAAS RACING

4. CHIP GANASSI RACING

5. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

6. JOE GIBBS RACING

7. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING

8. ROUSH/FENWAY RACING

9. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

10. FURNITURE ROW RACING

 

Hendrick Motorsports remain at #1 this week. Team Penske stay in the #2 spot. Stewart/Haas Racing move up a place to #3. Chip Ganassi Racing also move up a place, they are at #4. Richard Childress Racing return to the Top 5 this week from #6. Joe Gibbs Racing coming off a disappointing day in Sonoma drop three spots to #6. Michael Waltrip Racing stay at #7, Roush/Fenway stay at #8, and Richard Petty Motorsports remain at #9. keep a great climb going and land at #3, up a spot. Furniture Row Racing have a great road course week and return to the Top 10 at #10. JTG/Daughtery Racing drop out of the Top 10 after a very disappointing day in wine country.

 

These are the Top 10 Teams, Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers at Kentucky Speedway.

TOP TEN by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: DOWNFORCE TRACKS

1. MATT KENSETH #20

2. KEVIN HARVICK #4

3. CARL EDWARDS #99

4. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

5. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

6. KASEY KAHNE #5

7. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88

8. CLINT BOWYER #15

9. MARTIN TRUEX #78

10. TONY STEWART #14

Top 10 drivers on Downforce tracks, Thursday look for our Top 30 for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway.

QUAKER STATE 400
KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY
June 28th, 7:30 PM Charlotte Time TNT TV
1 ½ Mile, 14 Degrees of Banking

For 13 years NASCAR has been running races at Kentucky Speedway. The Camping World Truck series, and the Nationwide series have both run here and we saw the Sprint cars debut here three years ago. In the last thirteen years we have seen seats continually added to keep up with fan demand – now boasting well over 100,000 seats. We have run three Sprint cup races so far and two of the winners had won here previously in another series, so it does appear experience on this tack is beneficial. Greg Biffle #16 and Carl Edwards #99 have won here in the Truck series. Kevin Harvick #4, David Gilliland #38, Carl Edwards #99, Joey Logano #22 and Brad Keselowski #2, have won here in the Nationwide series. Carl Edwards #99 has won here in both series. Does that mean those are the only drivers that can win come Saturday? Not really, but it does give those drivers a bit of confidence going into the race. The two drivers to keep an eye on will be Kyle Busch #18 who won here in ALL three series, and Brad Keselowski #2 who has a Cup win and a Nationwide series win. What will happen this year? Will we see a new name in victory lane like Matt Kenseth #20 last year or a repeat winner from another series? Well find out Saturday night.

Tuesday look for our top 10 Teams in advance of the Quaker State 400.

TOP 5 DRIVER

 

TOP 5 DRIVERS TO WATCH: INFINEON RACEWAY

My #5 driver has come very close to winning here in the past, #9 Marcos Ambrose. Marcos is known for his road course skills in his native Australia. Marcos almost won this race four years ago when he was leading but got caught out when he shut off his motor to save fuel and then couldn’t re-fire. That cost him the win and gave Jimmie Johnson his first road course win. Marcos is my #1 rated road course driver and has two wins at the other NASCAR road course, Watkins Glen. Marcos has six starts here in wine country, five of those Top 10’s and two of which are Top5’s.

 

The #4 driver won here two years ago, #15 Clint Bowyer. Clint is not usually thought of as a Top 5 road course driver, but his history racing on dirt tracks has helped him to be successful here. Clint has eight starts, one win, and five Top 5’s.  Add to that he is the 6th hottest driver over the last six weeks.

 

My #3 driver to watch has never won here either, #4 Kevin Harvick. Like Marcos, Kevin has won at Watkins Glen but not in his home state at Sonoma.  He has 12 starts and three total Top 5 finishes. Kevin is #2 hottest over the last six weeks and a very fierce road course competitor.

 

My #2 pick won here four years ago, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 12 starts here, one win, and four Top 5’s, which is why Jimmie has the #3 best average finish. Jimmie is #1 hottest over the last six weeks. I probably should pick him #1 but I also like his teammate….

 

The #1 driver to watch is another former winner – a five-time former winner, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has five wins here with the last coming in 2006.  He has 21 starts, those 5 wins, and 13 Top 5 finishes. Jeff’s last eight races here were all Top 10’s and five of those were Top 5’s. Jeff also has the #1 best average finish AND he sits #1 in points.

 

Monday look for our preview of the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway.

Dave Ross
818-585-1818

 

 

TOP 5 DRIVERS TO WATCH: INFINEON RACEWAY

My #5 driver has come very close to winning here in the past, #9 Marcos Ambrose. Marcos is known for his road course skills in his native Australia. Marcos almost won this race four years ago when he was leading but got caught out when he shut off his motor to save fuel and then couldn’t re-fire. That cost him the win and gave Jimmie Johnson his first road course win. Marcos is my #1 rated road course driver and has two wins at the other road course Watkins Glen. Marcos has six starts here in wine country, five of those Top 10’s and two Top5’s.

 

The #4 driver won here two years ago, #15 Clint Bowyer. Clint is not usually thought of as a Top 5 road course driver but his history racing on dirt tracks has helped him to be successful here. Clint has eight starts a win and five Top 5’s.  Add to that he is the 6th hottest driver over the last six weeks.

 

My #3 driver to watch has never won here either, #4 Kevin Harvick. Like Marcos, Kevin has won at the other road course but not here in his home state.  He has 12 starts and three total Top 5 finishes. Kevin is #2 hottest over the last six weeks and a very fierce road course competitor.

 

My #2 pick won here four years ago, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 12 starts here, a win and four Top 5’s, which is why Jimmie has #3 best average finish. Jimmie #1 hottest over the last six weeks. I should pick him #1 but I also like his team mate….

 

The #1 driver to watch is another former winner – a five-time former winner, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has five wins here with the last coming in 2006.  He has 21 starts, those 5 wins, and 13 Top 5 finishes. Jeff’s last eight races here were all Top 10’s and five of those were Top 5’s. Jeff also has the #1 best average finish AND he sits #1 in points.

 

Monday look for our preview of the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway.