The list of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners at Kentucky Speedway is an exclusive club indeed, and Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. would prefer to keep it that way in Saturday’s Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Those are the only three active drivers with victories at Kentucky in NASCAR’s premier series, which headlines a tripleheader weekend that also features the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
But while Busch, Keselowski and Truex are already locked into the postseason Playoffs, a host of others would love to join the winning fraternity in the Bluegrass State and ascend to a spot on the Playoff grid at the same time.
In the relatively brief eight-race Cup history at Kentucky, only four drivers have found Victory Lane—Keselowski three times, Busch and Truex twice each and Matt Kenseth once. Truex has won the last two races at the 1.5-mile intermediate speedway.
That doesn’t mean, however, that we’re unlikely to see a breakthrough victory by a driver searching for a first win at the track. Though the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas and Team Penske Fords had a monopoly on the intermediate tracks for the first four months of the 2019 season, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver Alex Bowman ended that dominant streak in dramatic fashion June 30 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Coincidentally, JGR and Penske have also accounted for all eight wins at Kentucky, where Chevrolet has yet to taste victory.
In handicapping Saturday’s race, it would be difficult not to anoint Busch as the favorite, given his history at the track and the significant position it occupies in his career. In 2011, Busch won the inaugural race at Kentucky. In 2015, after missing the first 11 races because of injury, he claimed the first of three straight wins at Kentucky on the way to the series championship.
“I love Kentucky,” Busch said. “It was special there in 2011, when we were able to win the first Cup race there, and it stayed that way during our win there four years ago. I look forward to going back every year. It’s a pretty challenging race track. It used to be a place that lends itself to different kinds of setups because it was so rough.
“Fast lap times at Kentucky come from momentum. The place is so round that there’s not a ton of banking compared to some other 1.5-milers. It’s all about how round the corners are and just being able to maintain corner speed and stay on the gas. It’s a place we get excited about, for sure.”