Sprint Cup Makes First Visit to Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA, KY - JUNE 12: Joey Logano #20 driver of the GameStop Toyota leads the field to the green flag to begin the NASCAR Nationwide Series Meijer 300 presented by Ritz at Kentucky Speedway on June 12, 2010 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. - For the first time since 2001, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series welcomes a new track to its schedule, and NASCAR Ranting and Raving will be live at Kentucky Speedway to deliver the latest as it happens.

It's another Saturday night race for the Sprint Cup Series and the race to the Chase has only amped up excitement for the inaugural Quaker State 400.

Kentucky Speedway - a 1.5-mile oval in Sparta - opened in 2000, but its original owners never received a Sprint Cup date despite regularly drawing over 70,000 fans for Nationwide and Truck Series events. The track was purchased by Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Bruton O. Smith in 2008 and after legal proceedings, Smith moved one of his Atlanta dates over to Kentucky.

A $40 Billion expansion was completed for this weekend's activities (I'll review those later) and the total attendance for Saturday's Cup race should total over 116,000 - standing room only.

Kentucky is a typical intermediate track. Use Kansas and Chicagoland to try and predict the outcome.

Kurt Busch dominated at Kansas in June before losing out to teammate Brad Keselowski on a fuel-mileage gamble. For Busch, Kansas was the first sign that Penske Racing was coming out of a year-long slump that was punctuated by Busch's now infamous monkey and football rant.

Jeff Gordon ran second for most of the day and was on the same pit strategy as Busch. Gordon beat Busch out of his stall and finished fourth behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Carl Edwards finished fifth with Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Busch and Greg Biffle rounding out the top 10.

Expect the usual suspects to run up front with Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch being your best bets due to their Nationwide Series experience.

Matt Weaver is the senior writer and content editor for NASCAR Ranting and Raving and will be tweeting from Kentucky Speedway all week. Follow him @MattWeaverSBN


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