For the first time since September 2001, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its inaugural stop at a facility. The Kentucky Speedway opened in June 2000 and has hosted the NASCAR Nationwide Series and IZOD IndyCar Series for much of its existence. Saturday's Quaker State 400, however, marks the first time names like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will compete on the 1.5-mile oval.
Joey Logano is perhaps the favorite heading into the event, having won the past three NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Kentucky. Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle are among the other drivers with past lower-tier success there.
This will be a bittersweet race weekend for local fans, as this is the event that took Atlanta Motor Speedway's spring date on the Sprint Cup schedule. Inaugural races always bring a bit of excitement, however, and one of the largest field of entrants of the 2011 season thus far - 48 cars - will attempt to qualify for the race. The entire list, which includes 13 go-or-go-home drivers, can be found at Jayski.com.
The Sprint Cup cars' first official laps on the Kentucky Speedway will take place in a pair of practice sessions Thursday, but neither will be televised. The rest of the on-track action and it's time and TV home can be seen below:
Friday, 11:30 a.m. - SPEED
Friday, 1:30 p.m. - SPEED
Friday, 5 p.m. - SPEED
Quaker State 400:
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. - TNT (Pre-Race Show at 6:30)