Friday, June 29, 2012

Sprint Cup 2012: Race 17 -- Hot Kentucky

Jimmie Johnson has five championships – only two drivers in the history of NASCAR have more, and while not having won last year, this year as the summer drive heats up, no driver on the circuit appears better poised to lead this season to a champ’s cup in November. Reinforcing that perception, look whose on the pole for tomorrow night’s Quaker State 400 – the #48 Lowes Chevrolet. It would be no surprise then that last year’s winner and the driver who has dominated the track in the Nationwide Series, Kyle Busch, joins Johnson on the front row. The second row consists of two drivers badly in need of a good boost for the 2012 season, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, still winless. Two drivers needing a better outcome buried deep in the field are the two who completed to the last lap to decide last year’s championship: Tony Stewart in 22nd and Carl Edwards, winless and one position outside the top ten in 25th.

This is only the second Sprint Cup race at Kentucky which from a driver’s standpoint does not handle like other conventional 1 ½ mile tracks. Tomorrow night’s race will still be largely a learning experience. There is nothing to be learned by up to eight entries that almost certainly will pull off the track, suck in their earnings, and clutter up the field as NASCAR refuses to either reduce its starting field or set minimum requirements for team resources entering a race. In an impound race where teams have to severely compromise their qualifying setup, race track scabs like Joe Nemechek, a retired drive for all practical purposes except being there when the green flag drops, starts right in the thick of the action at 27th. While we hope the consequences won’t pull out any true competitors, that the #87 would be involved in a blazing crash would only be just as would any other of the so called “start and park” fraudulent entries. We’re waiting for this trend to extent to small market teams in baseball that will pull two outfielders and a shortstop before going once through the batting order. Yes, start and park is that stupid.

Starting Lineup: ("DNQ" indicates "did not qualify)

Pos Car#DriverManufactuerMPH
148Jimmie JohnsonLowe's Dover White Chevy181.818
218Kyle BuschM&M's Red-White-Blue Toyota181.421
311Denny HamlinFedEx Express Toyota181.147
429Kevin HarvickBudweiser Folds of Honor Chevy180.367
539Ryan NewmanTornados Chevy180.337
615Clint Bowyer5-hour Energy Toyota180.228
788Dale Earnhardt Jr.Diet Mnt.Dew/National Guard Chevy180.222
82Brad KeselowskiMiller Lite Dodge180.204
924Jeff GordonDrive to End Hunger Chevy180.036
1056Martin Truex Jr.NAPA Auto Parts Toyota179.964
1116Greg BiffleAmerican Red Cross Ford179.754
129Marcos AmbroseMac Tools Ford179.509
1343Aric AlmirolaEckrich Ford179.336
1451Kurt BuschPhoenix Construction Services, Inc. Chevy179.206
1527Paul MenardMenards/Sylvania Chevy179.075
1622AJ AllmendingerShell Pennzoil Dodge179.045
171Jamie McMurrayMcDonald's Chevy178.992
1820Joey LoganoDollar General Toyota178.867
195Kasey KahneQuaker State Chevy178.737
2017Matt KensethFifth Third Bank Ford178.230
2113Casey MearsValvoline NextGen Ford177.825
2214Tony StewartOffice Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy177.801
2383Landon CassillBurger King Toyota177.020
2495Scott SpeedLeavine Family Racing Ford176.505
2599Carl EdwardsUPS Ford176.217
2678Regan SmithFurniture Row Chevy175.970
2787Joe NemechekAM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota175.730
2847Bobby LabonteScott Products Toyota175.615
2931Jeff BurtonCaterpillar Chevy175.211
3026Josh Wise #MDS Transport Ford175.080
3142Juan Pablo MontoyaTarget Chevy175.063
3230David StremmeInception Motorsports Toyota174.757
3334David RaganFront Row Motorsports Ford174.695
3493Travis KvapilBurger King Toyota174.402
3598Michael McDowellPresbyterian Health Care Ford174.402
3623Scott RiggsNorth TX Pipe Chevy174.345
3719Mike Bliss(i)Humphrey Smith Racing, LLC Toyota174.272
3810David ReutimannOutsourcing in the USA@TMone Chevy173.511
3955Michael WaltripAaron's Dream Machine Toyota172.199
4038David GillilandTaco Bell Ford170.573
4132Ken SchraderFederated Auto Parts Ford168.534
4236Dave BlaneySealWrap Chevy0.000
4333Stephen Leicht Chevy173.132
DNQ49J.J. YeleyJPO Absorbents Toyota172.612
DNQ52Mike Toyota171.876

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