Fantasy Preview: Quaker State 400

June 25, 2014 No Comments

159334193CH00021_Quaker_StaBrian Wiggins, Senior Writer 

After a detour through the wine country of Sonoma,California, NASCAR hits back to their roots of the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.

While some may see Kentucky as another cookie-cutter, it’s far from that. With minimal banking and extremely rough pavement, it provides a unique challenge to both teams and drivers throughout the race.

The history of NASCAR racing at Kentucky Speedway is ever-growing. While trucks and Nationwide cars have been racing at the track since it’s inception, Saturday will mark only the fourth time Sprint Cup cars have raced at the venue.

However, the track is far from foreign to the drivers of the Cup Series as the track was used as a testing ground for teams for years due to the fact it didn’t count as an official test.,

Since the series has raced there, it’s been anyone’s game with three different winners in the first three races at the track.

One of the keys to the June weekend at Kentucky Speedway is having a stable car. With hot weather making for a slick track and the bumpy nature of the surface, comfort will get a driver far on Saturday night.

*This roster is set based on the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing system*

“A” Drivers 

Kyle Busch: There may be no more experienced driver in the field at Kentucky Speedway than Kyle Busch. With the amount of truck and Nationwide Series races Busch competes on, he’s been around Kentucky Speedway a few times. Busch won the inaugural race at the track in 2011 in dominant fashion. In each subsequent year, Busch has been up near the front. With his one win on the 2014 season coming at another worn out, bumpy racetrack (Auto Club Speedway), Saturday night’s race may just be in Rowdy’s wheelhouse.

Jimmie Johnson: The six-time champion has never won at Kentucky Speedway, however he’s a favorite. Johnson has been in the mix in all three Sprint Cup races at Kentucky, including last year when he was leading in the late stages before spinning on a late-race restart. Johnson has already proved this year that he can do things he’s never done before; wining at Michigan in June. It would be foolish to leave Johnson off your fantasy team given his past results and his success on 1.5-mile tracks.

“B” Drivers 

Brad Keselowski: The winner of the 2012 Kentucky race, Keselowski is once again a favorite for Saturday night. The Team Penske group is seemingly one of the best on the 1.5-mile tracks thus far in 2014. With one win already at another 1.5-mile track (Las Vegas), Keselowski should be a lock on your fantasy roster for the weekend.

Joey Logano: It’s hard to believe it, but Logano will make his 200th career Sprint Cup start on Saturday night. And, he has a very good chance to score a win on a milestone night. His best finish at Kentucky was a fourth-place effort last season, however Logano has won at Kentucky in the past in the Nationwide Series including his first NASCAR national touring win in 2008. Like Keselowski, he has won on a 1.5-mile track (Texas) and should be a lock on the initial roster for your team.

Jamie McMurray: Remember who finished runner-up in this race one year ago. That’s right, it was McMurray. Overall in 2014, Chip Ganassi Racing is much improved. McMurray has shown that he hasn’t forgot how to wheel it on the 1.5-mile tracks by winning the All-Star Race earlier in the year. This should be a weekend where you can expect McMurray to put that No.1 Chevrolet in the top-10, maybe even contend for the win if the cards fall right.

Brian Vickers: This is more of a risky pick, but Vickers did run well at Kentucky last year before a cut tire ended his day. Vickers has always been a driver that thrives at worn out race tracks. Michael Waltrip Racing scored a second-place finish last year in this race with Clint Bowyer, so they have a good package for Kentucky. Plus, it would make sense to have a Toyota in your lineup seeing how they have won two of the three Sprint Cup races at the track.

“C” Drivers: 

Austin Dillon: When he was racing in the Nationwide Series, there was nobody better at Kentucky than Dillon. Recording his first win at the track in 2012, Dillon comes to Kentucky with all kinds of confidence. He knows that this is one of the weekends he needs to produce if he wants to find his way back on the Chase Grid, so expect a strong night from the No.3.

Kyle Larson: Seriously, you can’t count this kid out anywhere. He’s been strong everywhere including an impressive showing last weekend at Sonoma. His best run this season came at Auto Club Speedway; a low-banked, worn out racetrack. Come Saturday night, the 21-year-old should be someone you will being keeping an eye on.

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