One hundred percent of the Cup races held at Kentucky Speedway have been won from the pole.
Okay, the stat is more than a little misleading since the 1.5-mile tri-oval has hosted exactly one Cup race. That being said, the drivers that qualified up front in last year's inaugural event did seem to have a majority of the success. Six drivers that started in the top 10 ended up finishing there, and every driver that finished in the top 10 started inside the top 20. In fact, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton were the only drivers that qualified outside the top 20 that managed to crack the top 20.
It wouldn't be a total surprise to see a repeat this weekend. Kentucky is a very bumpy, rough track, and it is also the newest addition to the Cup schedule. Teams just don't have a lot of information to fall back on, and finding a comfortable setup is understandably tricky. Even with multiple racing grooves, it is difficult for drivers to complete passes when they aren't confident with the handling of their cars. Not to mention that any handling issues that do exist always get worse when driving in traffic. Drivers that have track position when the green flag waves might still have it when the checkered flag flies.
With that in mind, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch have the jump to the top of the list of contenders. The two drivers will start from the front row Saturday with Johnson leading the field to the green after capturing his first pole since 2010. Throw in the fact that Johnson finished third at Kentucky last season and Busch won the race, and fantasy owners need to try to find a way to get both drivers in their starting lineup if at all possible.
Two drivers that failed to qualify in the top 25 that could be this year's hard chargers are Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Stewart is riding a wave of momentum into Kentucky, having finished third or better in his last three starts. He has also won four of the last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks, and no other driver has won more than one race during the stretch. In the same 10 races, no driver has scored more total points than Edwards. He has finished inside the top 10 in all 10 starts, including a fifth-place finish at Kentucky last season. If anyone can overcome the poor track position, it is these two.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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