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NASCAR At Kentucky: Sprint Cup Racing Heads To The Bluegrass State For Second Time

NASCAR makes its second trip to the Kentucky Speedway for Saturday's Quaker State 400. Kyle Busch took the inaugural race at the Sparta, KY race track last year.

SPARTA, KY - JULY 09:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2011 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
SPARTA, KY - JULY 09: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2011 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Getty Images for NASCAR

"Blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining."

The Sprint Cup Series heads to the Kentucky Speedway for this weekend's Quaker State 400. It is the second trip for NASCAR's top division to the Bluegrass State, following last year's much-maligned debut that was marred by less than thrilling on-track action and a traffic nightmare of proportions not seen in 14 years.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. - which owns Kentucky and many other tracks including the Atlanta Motor Speedway - has taken last year's disaster to heart and has made improvements to make sure fans can get into the track without any of the problems seen last year (aside from the usual traffic jam that comes with over 100,000 folks heading to one place).

What kind of racing they'll see once they get in there remains to be seen, but inaugural Cup events at a facility are seldom barn-burners. With last year's race and the setup notes from the event, Saturday should be better.

With only one race in the track's Sprint Cup history, its hard to say "well this guy will be a favorite" or "this guy will be one to watch, he always gets around this place well." Obviously Kyle Busch is the only Cup winner in the track's history, and it is one of the facilities on which he has won a race in each of NASCAR's top-three divisions, so don't be surprised if he rebounds from four weeks of misery with a trip to victory lane.

Otherwise, fans have to look at the usual suspects on the 1.5-mile race tracks to pick potential contenders and their fantasy racing lineup. Just a hunch, but look for Carl Edwards to have a bit of a rebound race of his own.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.