2012 NASCAR Quaker State 400
Kentucky Speedway – Sparta, Kentucky
1.5 Mile Oval – 14 degree banking turns (267 laps)
Saturday, June 30, 2012, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Defending Champion: Kyle Busch
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
For the second time ever the NASCAR Sprint Cup comes to Kentucky. The track is only 12 years old, and Kyle Busch won the inaugural Quaker State 400 last year. The track is located about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati just southwest of the Ohio border.
Last week NASCAR had one of the two road courses of the season at Sonoma, and Clint Bowyer won his first race of the season.
Jimmie Johnson won the pole for the race edging out Kyle Busch who will start second. The complete starting grid can be found here. Here is a look at the favorites and contenders and some head to head match-ups with odds courtesy of bookmaker.
Jimmie Johnson (4/1)
Johnson is 4th in the race for the chase standings, 25 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. He has 12 top 10’s in 16 races so far, including 9 top 5′, and wins at Darlington and Dover. He had a 42nd at Daytona and a 35th at Talladega but otherwise hasn’t finished lower than 12th. He has 3 straight top 5’s including a 5th at Sonoma last week. He came in third at Kentucky last year, and will start from the pole for this race. Johnson is -140 to beat Kyle Busch and -200 to beat Tony Stewart. I like Johnson against Stewart. Barring an accident or engine problems Johnson should be there at the end contending.
Kyle Busch (5/1)
Busch is 12th in the race for the chase, 137 points behind. He does hold one of the two wild card spots fro the chase with 10 races left before the Chase begins. He has 7 top 10’s, 5 top 5’s and a win at Richmond. He finished 17th at Sonoma, his best finish in the last 4 races. He has been plagued by engine problems and accidents. Busch looks to break out of his slump at a track that he won last year. Busch will start second behind Johnson. Kyle is +110 against Johnson, and -170 against Stewart. I like Busch against Stewart. A top 10 is likely for Kyle.
Denny Hamlin (10/1)
Hamlin is 8th in points, 73 points behind. He has 8 top tens in 16 races, including 7 top 5’s and wins at Kansas and Phoenix. He has a 34th and a 35th place finish in his last two starts at Michigan and Sonoma. Hamlin qualified third at Kentucky for this race. He finished 11th in the Kentucky race last year. Hamlin is -130 against Carl Edwards and -125 against Jeff Gordon. If nothing bad happens, Hamlin has a good chance in both those match-ups and to contend for the race win.
Jeff Gordon (10/1)
Gordon is 18th in points 182 behind. He is 65 points behind Carl Edwards for the 11th spot, but his better chance to make the chase might be to win a race or two and grab one of the wild card spots. He has 5 top 10’s including a top 5 this season. Gordon has back to back 6th place finishes at Michigan and Sonoma. He qualified 9th for Kentucky and came in 10th last year at the track. Gordon is -105 against Hamlin and Kevin Harvick and -155 against Kasey Kahne.
Kevin Harvick (10/1)
Harvick is 6th in points, 64 points behind Kenseth. He doesn’t have a win this season, but does have 8 top 10’s including 3 top 5’s. He hasn’t finished lower than 25th in any race this season. He finished 16th at Sonoma. Harvick qualified 4th for the Kentucky race this year, and finished 16th last year. Harvick is -125 against Gordon and -150 against Kahne. I like Harvick in both of those match-ups.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (10/1)
Earnhardt is 3rd in points, 14 behind Kenseth. He has 12 top 10’s including 6 top 5’s and a win at Michigan, his first in 4 years. He finished 23rd at Sonoma last week, his worst finish of the year. Before that he hadn’t finished lower than 17th in any race. Last year he finished 30th at Kentucky and he qualified 7th this year. I like Earnhardt at -160 to beat both Kahne and Brad Keselowski.
Greg Biffle (13/1)
Biffle is second in points, 11 behind Roush Fenway teammate Kenseth. He has 10 top 10’s in 16 races, including 8 top 5’s and a win at Texas. He had a 24th at Pocono but hadn’t finished lower than 18th in any other race. He finished 7th at Sonoma. Biffle qualified 11th for this race. He came in 21st last year at Kentucky. Biffle is +130 against Kyle Busch, -135 against Kenseth, and -145 against Edwards.
Matt Kenseth (13/1)
Kenseth leads the Race for the Chase standings by 11 points. He has 11 top 10’s, including 8 top 5’s and a win at the Daytona 500. He hasn’t finished lower than 22nd in any race this season. He came in 13th last week at Sonoma, to break a streak of 10 straight 11th or better finishes. Kenseth qualified 20th at Kentucky. He came in 6th last year at the track. Kenseth is -115 against Stewart, +105 against Biffle, and and +120 against Earnhardt.He should get a top 10, if he can work through the traffic of starting midway through the field.
Tony Stewart (15/1)
Stewart is 5th in points, 63 behind Kenseth. He has 8 top 10’s including 7 top 5’s with wins at Las Vegas and California. He has three straight top 3 finishes including runner-ups at Michigan and Sonoma. Smoke qualified 22nd at Kentucky and finished 12th at the track last year. I like Stewart at -115 against Edwards and Kenseth. Like Kenseth, Stewart can contend for the win, but he didn’t qualify very well.
Carl Edwards (15/1)
Edwards is 11th in points, 117 behind Kenseth. He holds the last non-wild card spot for the Chase currently. Edwards has 8 top 10’s this season, including 2 top fives. He hasn’t had a top ten since Charlotte, 5 races ago. He finished 21st at Sonoma. Edwards qualified 25th at Kentucky, and came in 5th in last years race.
Here is a complete look of the odds to win the race and the head to head match-ups courtesy of bookmaker. It should be an exciting race, and I think Kyle Busch wins his second straight race at the track.
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