Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 18, Kentucky Thunder

The Sprint Cup tour races at Kentucky Motor Speedway for the first time after years of truck and Nationwide series competition. Unlike some track openings, there is no perceivable downside to this addition to the schedule. The date was freed up by cancelling the early Atlanta race. Atlanta attendance has not been strong for many years, so perhaps the move will benefit both areas. Northern Kentucky is racing country, drawing from Louisville, Cincinnati, and southern Indiana, it’s a region where the southern good old boys cross paths with the Midwestern speedsters meaning the locals are racing crazy. The track is a mile and a half, little rounder than existing tracks but it’s a pretty generic track by today’s standards. Since the race is after dark, it’s even harder to discern what makes the track unique, but the competition has been good and there are no conspicuous shortcomings. That being the case, if what’s good for the fans is the premium concern, we should applaud the Kentucky joining in.

Starting positions are based on practice time since qualifying is rained out. Four out of the five cars to miss the show are cars that would have started and parked anyway so maybe we need to get some Indians to show up at tracks on qualifying day and do the ancient rain dance to get results like this. The sad note is Michael Waltrip was prepared to race and had a good qualifying time posted before the showers set in. Since the track in the driver’s home state, his participation would have been a good highlight.

Here’s how the top drivers start….
1. Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
2. Juan Montoya, #42, Chevrolet
3. Kurt Busch, #22, Dodge
4. Kasey Kahne, #4, Toyota
5. Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
6. Brad Keselowski, #2, Dodge
7. Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
8. David Ragan, #6, Ford
9. Tony Stewart, #14, Chevrolet
10. Paul Menard, #27, Cherolet
11. Marcos Ambrose, #9, Ford
12. Regan Smith, #78, Chevrolet
13. Matt Kenseth, #17, Ford
14. Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
15. Joey Logano, #20, Toyota

It’s heavy duty horsepower in horse country tonight. At least ladies won’t be wearing stupid hats like at Kentucky’s other big race.


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