Quaker State 400

Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky: Start time, lineup and more

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The final 10-race stretch of the regular season begins for the Cup Series Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

After years of mostly only racing under the lights there, the series will race in the daytime.

Can Kyle Busch, who starts from the pole, earn his first Cup win of 2020?

Here’s all the info you need for Sunday’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START:  The command to start engines is at 2:43 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 2:54 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 7:30 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments at 12:30 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 2:20 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:35 p.m by Darrell and Stevie Waltrip. The national anthem will be performed at 2:36 p.m. by Robert Randolph.

DISTANCE: The race is 267 laps (400.5 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 25

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 79 degrees and a 58% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Kevin Harvick beat Matt Kenseth to win the Brickyard 400.

LAST RACE AT KENTUCKY: Kurt Busch defeated younger brother Kyle Busch for the win.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.

Catch up on NBC Sports’ coverage:

Front Row Motorsports reaching new heights without practice

NASCAR to team: Address “complacency” toward COVID-19 protocols

Jimmie Johnson: ‘I’m smarter, stronger’ after COVID-19 episode

Stage is set for Cup teams in race for points

Glow in the dark: Cup cars get new look for All-Star Race

Here is what upcoming NASCAR Cup races fans can attend

NASCAR reveals schedule through end of Cup regular season

Harvick takes hot streak to Kentucky, one of his last winless tracks

Power Rankings after Indianapolis: Kevin Harvick back to No. 1

Zach Price, Ryan Blaney’s injured tire changer, to miss Kentucky

 

Harvick takes hot streak to Kentucky, one of his last winless tracks

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For the last two months, things have been going very well for Kevin Harvick.

In the 12 races since the Cup Series returned to competition on May 17 – with Harvick’s win at Darlington – the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has accumulated four victories, seven top fives and an additional three top 10s.

This year marks the eighth time Harvick has reached or exceeded four wins in a season. The only other time he’s had four wins prior to race No. 17 was 2018 when he had five. It was also in 2018 that Harvick went on to win a career-best eight races in a season.

Among his victories this year was his June 27 win at Pocono Raceway, his first on the three-turn speedway.

That left only two active Cup tracks the 44-year-old driver has yet to win on – Kentucky Speedway and the Charlotte Roval.

Harvick gets his 10th attempt to win at Kentucky on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Through nine starts, the 1.5-mile track hasn’t been too kind to Harvick.

In fact, while he’s led 128 laps there, those all came in the 2016 race. He trails only Jimmie Johnson (206 laps led) among active lap leaders who have not won at Kentucky.

He goes into Sunday’s race with just one Kentucky top-five finish (2018) and five top 10s.

Working in Harvick’s favor now is his 1.5-mile program. He’s led the most laps in four of the last seven races on 1.5-mile tracks.

In the five races at 1.5-mile tracks this season he’s led a total of 306 laps, including 151 in his win at Atlanta.

Following his win Sunday in the Brickyard 400, his second in a row and third overall there, Harvick was asked what it felt like to be competing at such a high level this season.

“I think when you look at the root of the equation, it’s the team, right?” Harvick said. “It’s the crew chief (Rodney Childers) and the driver that have been together, the engineer. We had one engineer move on, but we’ve had the same engineer with Dax (Gerringer). You keep adding little pieces to keep making that puzzle come together and fit together well. But experience plays a big role in this.

“I think for us, when we come to the racetrack, I know I have to be prepared. I know every guy on my team is going to be prepared and has done everything he can during that week leading up to that race to do 100% of his job. If you’re not prepared, you’ve let every person down because that’s the type of team we’ve been fortunate to put together over the last seven years.

“Everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing allowed us to do that from the beginning. It keeps progressing. You keep getting more and more details out of things because you keep the people together, and everybody believes in what I just said. If you don’t do 100% of your job during the week, you have let the rest of the team down because they have.”

NASCAR entry lists for Kentucky Speedway

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Following the race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR continues its season with a visit to Kentucky Speedway.

All three national series will be in action at the 1.5-mile track. The Xfinity Series holds a doubleheader to start the weekend.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for the weekend.

Cup – Quaker State 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1)

Thirty-eight cars are entered.

Jimmie Johnson has been medically cleared to compete after testing negative for COVID-19 twice.

No driver is listed for Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet.

JJ Yeley is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 27 Ford.

Kurt Busch won this race last year over Kyle Busch and Erik Jones.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Xfinity race No. 1 – Shady Rays 200 (7:30 p.m. ET Thursday on FS1)

Thirty-six cars are entered.

Brett Moffitt is entered in Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet.

Garrett Smithley is entered in SS Green Light Racing’s No. 07 Chevrolet.

Jeb Burton is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

No driver is listed on DGM Racing’s No. 36 Chevrolet.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Xfinity race No. 2  – Alsco 300 (8 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Thirty-six cars are entered.

Daniel Hemric is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Cole Custer won this race last year over Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Trucks – Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 (6 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

Forty trucks are entered.

Ryan Truex is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Chevrolet.

Natalie Decker is listed for Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet. Decker missed the last race at Pocono due to a hospitalization. NBC Sports has reached out to the team to confirm that she’s been medically cleared to race.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Kurt Busch wins Quaker State 400 in overtime

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Kurt Busch won Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in an overtime finish, beating his brother Kyle Busch to the checkered flag after they made contact and both fishtailed exiting Turn 4.

It is Kurt Busch’s first win of the season and his first win with Chip Ganassi Racing, which snapped a 64-race winless streak. It is also Chevrolet’s first win at Kentucky Speedway in nine attempts.

The final restart came on Lap 268 with Kurt Busch in the second row on the outside behind race leader Joey Logano.

But with drafting help from his teammate Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch was able to sweep to the outside of Logano and challenge Kyle Busch over the final two laps.

“Hell yeah! Hell yeah!” Kurt Busch yelled to fans on the frontstretch before speaking to NBCSN at the start-finish line. “You know, racing your little brother every week and watching him win a lot. I’m proud of him, but he gave me a little bit of room on that outside. He could have clobbered us against the wall, and third place probably would have got it. What an awesome run.”

The victory came a week after Busch missed out on a trip to victory lane at Daytona International Speedway. The No. 1 team elected to pit from the lead under caution just before a lightning strike halted the race, which was called official more than two hours later without restarting.

“Well, we got a yellow at the end that put us back in position,” Kurt Busch said. “Whatever last week was, it’s this week right now, and we’ve got the trophy.”

It is the third time the Busch brothers have finished first and second in a Cup race (Kyle Busch won the first two). His younger brother finished second after leading 72 laps.

“I’m glad it was a thriller,” Kyle Busch told NBCSN. “Unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the deal …

“It’s obviously cool to put on great races and great finishes and been a part of a lot of them and none with my brother like that, so that was a first. You know, no hard feelings, and we move on.”

Kurt Busch celebrates with his crew members after the win (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images).

The top five was completed by Erik Jones, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin.

The overtime restart was set up by a Bubba Wallace spin with six laps left in the scheduled distance.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kurt Busch (first stage win of the season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Click here for results and point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Denny Hamlin earned his second top five in the last 10 races … Clint Bowyer finished sixth after placing 34th or worse in three of the previous four races … pole-sitter Daniel Suarez finished eighth, fighting back from going multiple laps down after a speeding penalty in the middle of the race.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Jimmie Johnson got loose and wrecked in Turn 2 on Lap 178 while running seventh. He finished 30th …. Austin Dillon lost a gear on the Stage 2 restart and went to the garage. He finished 35th.

NOTABLE: Chip Ganassi Racing is only the fifth team to win a Cup race this season (joining Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Spire Motorsports). It is the fourth team to win at Kentucky … Crew chief Matt McCall earned his first Cup win in 164 starts.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Today things went right, and my little brother gave me just enough room.  It was like, ‘You going to lift?  I ain’t going to lift.  You going to lift?  I ain’t going to lift.’  And we had a duel.  We had a duel going down through (Turns) 3 and 4, and I didn’t know who was going to come out on top.” – Kurt Busch

WHAT’S NEXT: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on July 21 (NBCSN).

What Drivers Said after Kentucky

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In a race that wound up in a battle of brothers, older sibling Kurt Busch beat younger brother Kyle to the finish in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Here’s what the Busch brothers and other drivers had to say afterward:

Kurt Busch – Winner: “Hell yeah, hell yeah! You know, racing your little brother every week and watching him win a lot, I’m proud of him, but I’m proud of him he gave me a little bit of room on that outside. He could have clobbered us against the wall, and third place probably would have got it. What an awesome run. Well, we got a yellow at the end that put us back in position. Whatever last week was, it’s this week right now, and we’ve got the trophy.”

Kyle Busch – finished second: I’m glad it was a thriller. Unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the deal … Obviously great to put on great races and great finishes. Been part of a lot of them, but none with my brother like that. So that was a first. No hard feelings.”

Erik Jones – finished third: (How much did you have to overcome?) “A lot early. We just didn’t have the track position. We qualified not where we wanted to and had to work back from that. Right from the start I knew that the Craftsman Camry was pretty good. I felt comfortable in practice in race trim. Just had to work back from it and it took until the second stage to get up there and we were finally in position and got some good restarts and some good pit stops and got up in contention on the last restart. You can’t ask for much more. You want to be there and want to have a shot. We did that. We just didn’t have quite enough car and didn’t have quite the right circumstances, but good day overall.”

Kyle Larson – finished fourth:I thought the race for the lead there was really good from what I could see. It was good, maybe a little better than your normal Kentucky. … (On the final restart) I was satisfied with the launch I got. I was going to be committed to Kurt (Busch)’s back bumper no matter how much of a run I had because I knew I couldn’t get to the lead from the third row so if I could help a teammate out, I was happy with that. I’m happy for Kurt (Busch), Matt McCall and everybody on the 1 team. They have been really strong all year long. They should have won last week, so it’s nice for them to get some redemption today. … (What was it like at the end of the race?) I couldn’t believe we didn’t crash. Kyle (Busch) was loose a couple of times below him and they made contact I think a couple of times. There was some really good car control and it was fun to watch from my seat.”

Denny Hamlin – finished fifth: We definitely had a fast car – a car that was fast enough to run up there with those guys, but obviously going to the back of the pack there with 80 (laps) to go was detrimental to try to win the race. We had to make a call with no tires there and we didn’t gain track position. We had worse tires than everyone around us and still was able to come up to fifth, so pretty happy with that effort. We have fast cars every week. As long as we have a clean race, we have chances to win and we just can’t have the penalties that we have and wrecks that we’ve had. It’s just a combination of things where we’re really, really close.”

Clint Bowyer – finished sixth: It was a positive night for us. We finally got some stage points the last two races. It didn’t start out good but we did a good job of working together, staying in it and not giving up. We got some track position and right there at the end, I don’t know. Our SHR cars are extremely fast, we show that in qualifying, but they aren’t the best in race trim and traffic yet. We have work to do there and we know that. We are going to the magic mile next weekend but given the month of June that we had, we had to get that monkey shook off our back. Right there at the end, you hate to give up fifth right there at the line but we could have just as easily wrecked in turn one on the restart and had another finish like we had in June. We needed a good solid finish and we got that and got some good positive mojo back with our team and we will build on it.”

Joey Logano – finished seventh: The caution came out at the wrong time. It happens. You try to think through your notebook on how to have a good restart. I thought I was going to have a decent one but I got stopped on the left rear there when Kyle (Busch) got into me. That is what it is. That stopped all my momentum. (Kurt Busch) had a huge run and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I couldn’t block them all. I tried to stop (Kyle Busch) on his right rear by side-drafting. I saw (Kurt Busch) coming and felt like if I could get in front of him that we were so low at the time if I blocked (Kurt Busch) he would just go to the middle and pass me. I felt like I couldn’t stop (Kurt Busch). I was in a bad spot. Once I got stopped on the left rear on the restart I was a sitting duck and they just went by me on both sides. … (How frustrating is it?) “It is frustrating when you are fast enough to win and you don’t win, yes it is frustrating. … (Was the racing good?) “Yeah, it was a great race. It was a lot of fun. You had strategy and cautions and it was probably the best Kentucky race we have ever had. If I was a race fan I would say that was a cool finish. I am a little too close to the fire to say it was a cool finish right now. … (On the final restart) “We were in a perfect position when the caution came out. I did what I could to clear (Kyle Busch) before Turn 1. I got a decent launch but he stopped my momentum. … I just didn’t do a good enough job. We had the fastest car and we didn’t win. That’s the takeaway.”

Daniel Suarez – finished eighth:t was an eventful night for sure. We just had a fast race car but we got a bit tight. I feel like we made the car better but we never got the track position back. We had a tire going down and then I was speeding coming to pit road because I was wheel hopping because of the tire. It was one problem after another. We were fast enough to overcome that but not enough to get a better finish. I feel like the good thing is that we have the speed we just have to keep working to have a cleaner day and keep working to try to keep that speed the whole race. … (Is it an empty feeling to be on the pole and not come away with any stage points?) “It is. I feel like the first stage the call that we made on four tires instead of two tires kind of messed us up a little bit. That is part of it. We made our bed on that. There was one caution after another and we couldn’t recover. After that we had the flat tire. It was just bad decisions and a little bad luck but we were able to overcome with a decent finish.”

Ryan Newman – finished ninth: “It was a good run. To start where we did and get back up into the top 10, that was good. We had a crazy last restart, lost a few spots but got it back in (Turns) 3 and 4. I’m proud of the guys. … (Restarts like the final one) are crazy, but this aero package makes it that way. … I think we got five or six cars there coming to the white. It was a good run for our Acorns Ford. We still have to get our performance better. The guys did a good job on pit lane but we just have to have faster race cars. We didn’t have the balance quite right but you can’t come to the race track and qualify damn near wide open six-tenths of a second off the pole. We have some work to do and we know what to do.”

Chris Buescher – finished 10th: “Our Planter’s Camaro was pretty good tonight at certain times, but we definitely fought it. We worked hard to keep it where we needed to be all day long. That was good strategy on top of the pit box; hats off to our group. We’ve got some work to do yet, but that was a great finish. … (Are you encouraged by the speed you’ve shown?) “Yeah, absolutely. It’s encouraging to see it. To be 100 percent honest, tonight was not one of our better 1.5-mile tracks compared to where we have been in the last couple of months. With that being said, we definitely got a finish out of it. We ran good; we ran on the lead lap all night long. We are trying to find some more speed. We hadn’t qualified really well and I think tonight was about trying to figure out a way to get some more raw speed out of it. At the end there, it was a wild restart and we were able to come out with a good top ten finish.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — finished 12th: “Our Fifth Third Bank Ford showed speed all night. It was good to be able to lead laps and get some stage points in the backyard of Fifth Third Bank. All in all it was a good day for our No. 17 team.”

Ryan Blaney — finished 13th: “You come into every weekend expecting to run well, no matter if it is your best track or worst track. I don’t really go into any weekend expecting to run a certain way. You just try to do your best. My team did a great job overcoming adversity early in the race to get us back on the lead lap. Our DEX Imaging Ford Mustang was just so tight. The last restart was crazy and almost got into the wall. We will move on to New Hampshire.”

Aric Almirola — finished 14th: “We had a really fast Valley Tech Ford. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) and the team did a great job adjusting on it all night after we started off tight and eventually got our Mustang freed up. We were in a great position to come out of Kentucky with a good finish, but we ended up going the wrong direction on the final restart. It wasn’t the ending we wanted, but we had a strong weekend, and we’ve got a chance to do it all again in New Hampshire.”

Brad Keselowski — finished 20th: “I don’t know, we’ll need to get back to the shop and figure out what happened tonight. We just didn’t have the speed with the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. I thought we had a good shot to compete for the win but that just wasn’t the case.”

Daniel Hemric — finished 24th: “Our No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was faster than our 24th-place finish indicates tonight at Kentucky Speedway. Starting in the top 10 was a positive step for this team, and it was great to earn Stage points at the conclusion of Stage 1. Throughout Stage 2, we chipped away at the lead and gained solid ground until we were assessed a stop and go penalty during our pit stop on lap 150. The penalty put us two laps down, but we kept fighting and grinding it out because there’s no quit in this team. It wasn’t the finish we hoped for, but I know we have a resilient group that will be ready to rebound next weekend in New Hampshire.”

Ty Dillon – finished 26th: Kentucky is a tricky track. I really enjoy racing here, but it always has its challenges. Tonight wasn’t the night that we had hoped for, but we learned a lot. Our GEICO Military team has seen strong improvements in our superspeedway and short-track packages, and these intermediate tracks are next on the list. We may not be getting the finishes that we deserve because of one thing or another, but we’re taking valuable notes that we’re able to apply as we keep growing and building.”

Austin Dillon — finished 35th: “The AAA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was really fast to start the race today at Kentucky Speedway. We were able to run within the top-five for much of the first two Stages and earn Stage points, which is definitely an improvement over last year. We have speed, and that’s a testament to all of the hard work RCR and ECR is doing. Unfortunately we had transmission and alternator issues today and spent time in the garage making repairs. I hate breaking stuff, but when you do, this No. 3 team just keeps working and never gives up. We’re going to get this monkey off our back and we’ll be just fine.”

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