NASCAR’s 2020 Cup Series championship makes its only trip to Kentucky on Sunday, June 12, 2020, for the Quaker State 400.
The race is contested over 267 laps on the 1.5 mile Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. This year’s race is the 10th running of the Quaker State 400 and is presented by Walmart. It is the 17th race of the season and happens after the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 which took place last weekend at Indianapolis.
Series points leader Kevin Harvick picked up his fourth win of the season last weekend as the crossed the finish line first in Indianapolis. Matt Kenseth and Aric Almirola came in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
This is the current NASCAR Cup Series standings after last weekend’s 2020 Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400:
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||501||1||2|
Kevin Harvick is the odds on favorite to win the race at +350. Harvick is coming off a win at last weekend’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400. Just behind the points leader in the odds board are Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott who are currently pegged at +500 while 2019 Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is 4th at +650.
Here are the rest of the odds to win the Quaker State 400 on July 12, 2020. These odds were taken from the online sportsbook MyBookie.ag as of 07/10/2020:
|Martin Truex Jr.||+800|
Who Are the Favorites?
Kevin Harvick is the current Series Cup leader with 637 points. He and Denny Hamlin lead all drivers with a total of four races won this season and he is fresh off a victory last weekend. Harvick is having an impressive season where he has 13 Top 10 and 9 Top 5 finishes in the first 16 races of the season. He has been racing very well in his last three starts with two wins and a second-place finish. When it comes to racing at Kentucky, Harvick has six Top 10 finishes in 9 starts but has only featured in the Top 5 once in those races.
Denny Hamlin is 5th in the standings but is tied with Harvick for most wins this season art 4. He has four Top 5 finishes in his last five races with two wins during that period. However, he is coming off a 28th place finish at last weekend’s race. Hamlin has four Top 5 finishes in nine starts in Kentucky. He was 5th here last year and 4th in 2018. Given that he has bounced back with at least a Top 5 finish after placing 17th or worse in a race this year, I expect Hamlin to come back strong.
Chase Elliott is second in the driver’s standings despite the fact that he only has 9 Top 10 finishes this year. He is coming off an 11th place finish last week and he’s been out of the Top 10 in two out of his last two races. Elliott has raced only four times in Kentucky and his best finish there was 3rd in 2018. He has yet to lead a lap in Kentucky and his average finish at the track is 15.5
Kyle Busch is 10th in the standings. The 2019 Cup Series champion has yet to win a race this year and only has nine Top 10 finishes so far. Busch had a good start with six Top 4 finishes in the first 10 races of the year. However, he has not finished higher than 5th in the last six races of the year and is coming off a 5th place finish last weekend. However, Busch has raced well at Kentucky. He has seven Top 5 finishes in nine starts with two wins. Among active drivers, he has led the most laps at this race track and his average finish of 4.7 is also tops among his peers.
Martin Truex Jr. has been struggling as of late with four finishes outside the Top 10 in four out of his last five races and is coming off his worst performance of the season after placing 38th last weekend. However, Truex has won two out of the last three starts at this race track and he has five Top 10 finishes in his last 8 trips to Kentucky overall. Truex has led in a total of 373 laps here and his average finish is 11.1.
Joey Logano is 6th in the standings and has struggled as of late with no finish inside the Top 10 in his last five races. Logano has finished 24th or worse in three out of the last five races of the season. He has six Top 10 finishes in nine starts at Kentucky. He has finished in the Top 10 in six out of his last seven starts at this race track.
How can you not think about Kevin Harvick right now? The guy has finished 1 or 2 in the last three races and is the current points leader. However, when it comes to Kentucky, Harvick has not finished higher than 5th place in his nine starts there. Well, you could argue that this could be his year since he’s been dominant anyway.
However, when it comes to betting value, you have to like Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. The 2019 Cup Series champion Busch has an impressive average finish of 4.7 at Kentucky. Likewise, he’s finished in the Top 5 in seven out of nine starts there so, he really likes the race track. Kyle Busch hasn’t won a race this year and if there are races left on the schedule where he has a good chance of winning, it’s this one.
On the other hand, Keselowski leads all drivers with three wins at the Quaker State 400 and has three wins there for the Xfinity Series. He has finished in 7th place or better in six out of his nine starts in Kentucky. Right now, Keselowski seems to be picking up the pace with five Top 5 finishes in the last 11 races.
Prediction: I’m going with Kyle Busch at +600 here but if you pick up Brad Keselowski at +800, I won’t blame you.