Quaker State 400: What To Watch For

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Track Facts

Venue: Kentucky Speedway
Race length: 401 miles
No. of laps: 267
Qualifying: Fri., 5 p.m. ET
Race: Sat., 7:45 p.m. ET (TNT)
STAT OF THE WEEK
Get there early: 13,000 – that's the estimated number of people who missed last year's race because of traffic.
LAST YEAR'S RACE
Top 5
1. Kyle Busch
2. David Reutimann
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Ryan Newman
5. Carl Edwards
RECENT WINNERS
2011: Kyle Busch
ALSO THIS WEEKEND:
Nationwide Series
Feed the Children 300, Kentucky Speedway, Fri. 7:45 p.m. Camping World Truck Series
UNOH 225, Kentucky Speedway, Thurs. 8:18 p.m.

EXPERT STANDINGS
Busbee:  510 (1 win)
Hart:  507 points (2 wins)
Bromberg:  477 points (0 wins)
YAHOO! SPORTS FANTASY AUTO RACING
Check your team | Expert picks
Kentucky preview (PDF)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway for Saturday's Quaker State 400.

Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.

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Who Will Win?

Tony Stewart: Considering Kyle Busch has won every Sprint race ever run at Kentucky, you'd think he'd be a good pick. But he's riding a four-race breakdown streak, so we're going with the closest thing to a sure thing this year: Tony Stewart. We say Smoke continues his quietly outstanding run of top-3 finishes, and adds Kentucky to his win list. – Jay Busbee

Greg Biffle: Mr. Consistent in 2012 has been at his best (consistency-wise) on the 1.5-mile tracks, and being that Kentucky is one of those, he's my pick. – Jay Hart

Tony Stewart: Why not pick the hottest driver in the Sprint Cup Series? Smoke's finished third, second and second over his last three races. He was 12th last year at Kentucky, but that was before he and then-crew chief Darian Grubb found the magic intermediate-track elixir that vaulted Stewart to the throne of driver to beat at the end of the season. He's been either the driver to beat or eminently beatable – there has been no in between – on intermediate tracks this year, and look for the tough Smoke to show up on Saturday night. – Nick Bromberg

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Top Storyline

Traffic. Yeah, we're talking about traffic. Bruton Smith promised to get the issues fixed that left thousands missing out on last year's inaugural Kentucky race, and the guess here is he did. Still, what impact will last year's fiasco have on this year's attendance. – Jay Hart

Talking about the wild card may be beating a dead horse at this point, but the battle for the final two Chase spots keeps getting tighter. Carl Edwards needs a win to be in the discussion, as he's 11th in points, and Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano can really help their fortunes with a second victory. And at the rate he's been blowing engines, Kyle Busch may need a second win, too. Busch is the defending champion of this race. Back-to-back Kentucky wins may seal his Chase berth. – Nick Bromberg

The turmoil at Roush Fenway surrounding Matt Kenseth obscures the fact that 2011 bridesmaid Carl Edwards is in the midst of, for him, a wretched season. Kentucky is the kind of track at which he should have success. If he doesn't, we're getting close to panic time for the 99. – Jay Busbee

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FROM THE SOURCE

"You look at some of the new venues we've been to over the years and Jeff Gordon got to win a number of inaugural races, like the Brickyard, Fontana, and Kansas. He was always the guy who was known to figure out places the fastest, but we were able to be the ones to do that last year at Kentucky. There aren't many opportunities these days to go to a new venue, so for us being able to win the first race there was extra special." – Kyle Busch

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