2011 Quaker State 400
The state of Kentucky is known for racing, but mostly that of the four-legged variety. Saturday night that will change as the Bluegrass State hosts its first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup event with the running of the Quaker State 400 on the mile-and-a-half oval at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 pm Eastern, TNT).
Last Saturday night David Ragan picked up his first career Sprint Cup victory, winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. In doing so Ragan paid off at odds of 28/1 at Bodog.com.
Matt Kenseth, listed at 25/1 on Bodog’s Coke Zero 400 betting board, finished second; Joey Logano, at 33/1, took third; Kasey Kahne, a 35/1 shot, came in fourth; and Kyle Busch, at 14/1, ran fifth.
Ryan Newman, a 30/1 choice who led a race-high 25 laps, got caught up in a late wreck and finished 23rd.
The big news out of Daytona, though, was that Kevin Harvick, after finishing seventh Saturday night, took over the Sprint Cup season points lead from Carl Edwards, who came in 37th. Harvick now leads Edwards by five points and third-place Kyle Busch by 10 points. Kurt Busch runs in fourth place, 16 points back of Harvick, followed by Kenseth and five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson at -22, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at -52, Jeff Gordon at -67, Clint Bowyer at -81 and Newman at -88.
With the change in rules for this season the top ten drivers in the points standings after 26 races qualify for the season-ending Chase for the Cup. At the moment Denny Hamlin, at -91, and Tony Stewart, at -92, are the two drivers closest to the top ten.
Also, the two drivers among the second ten in the standings with the most victories also make the Chase for the Cup field. At the moment that would be Hamlin and Ragan.
While NASCAR has never run a Sprint Cup event at Kentucky Speedway, they have run Nationwide and truck series events there during its 11 years in existence. Logano has won the last three Nationwide races at Kentucky, and Brad Keselowski has finished in the top five those last three races.
As of Friday morning Sportsbook.com is listing Edwards and Kurt Busch as +700 co-favorites on its Quaker State 400 board. Johnson and Kyle Busch come next at +800, followed by Hamlin and Jeff Gordon at +1,000, Greg Biffle, Harvick, Kenseth and Stewart at +1,200, Dale Junior at +1,500, Bowyer at +2,000, Kahne and Logano at +2,500, Newman at +3,000, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mark Martin, Martin Truex, Jr. and Brian Vickers at +4,000, Ragan at +5,000, David Reutimann, Keselowski and Jamie McMurray at +6,000, AJ Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose and Paul Menard at +7,500, and Bobby Labonte and Regan Smith at +10,000. And “The Field” is being offered at +5,000.
Considering their recent performances at Kentucky Speedway, we’ll take Logano at +2,500 and Keselowski at +6,000 to win Saturday’s race.
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