The streak is over.
For the first time in more than a month, a Hendrick Motorsports car didn’t win a race. While it wasn’t Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, is is enough to break down Saturday night in Kentucky.
Brad Keselowski owned Saturday night’s race leading 199 of 267 laps. More importably, Keselowski has two wins in the last eight races at 1.5 mile tracks that dominate the Chase.
Joey Logano also has a win in that mix. Carl Edwards hasn’t won on 1.5 mile track in 2014 but has a majority of his careers Nascar wins there. Ford won’t have more Sprint Cup wins than Chevy this season. It does have three drivers who can win a Sprint Cup title and make up for any doldrums felt this 2014 Sprint Cup season.
Lose: Kentucky Speedway
Kentucky Speedway creatively fought for a Sprint Cup race ever since it opened. In the span of four years, two races have been total blowouts. Keselowski’s win had drivers and fans talking about track changes. When Dale Earnhardt Jr. is quoted like this in the Cincinnati Enquirer, there’s reason for concern.
It just sucks, man,” Earnhardt said of the rough front stretch. “God almighty. It’s so brutal. It’s just terrible, man. And I hate it for the speedway, because they just got their date (in 2011). But man, it’s the most miserable thing out there. Ain’t nothing about that I want to do over again. I’m glad it’s over.”
Attendance is another concern. Only one of four Sprint Cup races at Kentucky Speedway sold out; it was marred by traffic issues. The crowd Saturday night was questionable enough (attendance figured aren’t released) that it drew the eye of attendance scouts.
— Empty Seats Galore (@EmptySeatsPics) June 29, 2014
For a place that worked so hard to get a race, it feels like there’s been a perfect storm of adversity for Kentucky Speedway to try and overcome. I don’t envy its task at hand.
The good news is Nascar’s Chase looks to be huge. All of Nascar’s biggest names are running well and can construct an argument as to how they can win the 2014 Sprint Cup.
The bad news is the Kentucky conversation won’t go away. Of equal concern and somewhat buried in the conversation, Nascar didn’t field a full race Saturday night; only 42 teams entered the race. Nascar hasn’t started without a full field since 20o1.
While the Sprint Cup series is competitive at the top, depth is an issue at the Cup and Nationwide Series level, and there’s no sense of that streak breaking anytime soon.
Nascar won’t have these worries as the Sprint Cup series heads back to Daytona. Enjoy the week, and insert a random catchphrase here.