I’m looking for an exciting race tonight under the lights at Kentucky Speedway. This track surface is pretty old. It hasn’t been repaved since the joint opened in 2000. It’s a track with a lot of character because of that rough surface. There are a lot of bumps that give both the drivers and the crew chiefs a lot of headaches.
One thing that hasn’t changed are the blazing speeds. We had yet another new track record set when Brad Keselowski won his third pole of the year at nearly 189 mph. Not only was this Brad’s third pole position, but it also marks the third time the Penske Fords are on the front row, with Brad’s teammate Joey Logano starting on the outside pole. Ironically, it was Brad’s qualifying lap that knocked Joey from the pole.
Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick will start third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Kevin enters tonight’s race with a lot of momentum. He won Friday’s night’s Nationwide race driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Thursday night saw Kyle Busch win again in the Camping World Truck Series.
We’ve already seen that a lot of teams have thrown some new setups at their cars. The reason is the combination of the big springs, the no ride-height rule, the rough track service and naturally all the bumps the drivers have to contend with on this surface, let alone all their competitors out there as well.
You always want to go into a race and say it’s going to be unpredictable. This year has proven that out. Kentucky has also proven that with the different winners it has had since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. All that aside, I don’t know if it’s going to be that unpredictable. I kind of look for one of the previous winners of this race to step up tonight and get the job done.
Even though he is starting 14th, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see someone like Matt Kenseth return to Victory Lane tonight and also finally get his first win of 2014. Matt is just a smooth race car driver. Being the veteran champion of our sport he is, he’s probably my pick to be the guy who can figure out the bumps better than anyone tonight.
Other than that, it’s probably going to be a continuation of what we have seen in 2014. Continue to expect the unexpected, but I also know we’ll probably see our normal cast of characters up front and putting on one heck of a race tonight in the Bluegrass State.