Quaker State 400 2013: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJune 29, 2013

SPARTA, KY - JUNE 28:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Youth Foundation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award and Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After a road-course stop in Sonoma, NASCAR's Sprint Cup drivers will get back to the familiar left-only turns on the 1.5-mile oval at the Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400

Apparently, this was a welcomed sight to Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Hendrick racer claimed his first pole of the year and did so in record fashion. 

ESPN tweeted the news: 

It will be interesting to see if the typically conservative Earnhardt can turn that fast car into a victory. However, no matter what happens with him, it should be an interesting day of racing. 

The Quaker State 400 is the 10th race before the chase. So, this is the time that drivers must start solidifying their standing in their quest to make the Chase. 

Also, not to take anything away from Earnhardt's qualifying run, but his record is not as impressive as it would be at other tracks. After all, this will be just the third Sprint Cup race at the Kentucky Speedway. 

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch took the checkered in 2011, and Penske's Brad Keselowski won this event last year. 

Check out the vitals for this race, and then I'll highlight three drivers who warrant extra attention. 

Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky. 

When: Saturday, June 30, 6:30 p.m. ET

Watch: TNT

Listen: Performance Racing Network (PRN) radio and Sirius XM 90

Starting Grid

*Grid via ESPN

Pos. Driver Manufacturer No. Speed          
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 88 183.636 mph
2 Carl Edwards Ford 99 183.306 mph
3 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 48 183.144 mph
4 Kyle Busch Toyota 18 182.593 mph
5 Marcos Ambrose Ford 9 182.587 mph
6 Denny Hamlin Toyota 11 182.340 mph
7 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 39 182.254 mph
8 Brad Keselowski Ford 2 182.192 mph
9 Brian Vickers Toyota 55 181.922 mph
10 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 42 181.720 mph
11 Joey Logano Ford 22 181.708 mph
12 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 24 181.653 mph
13 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 17 181.391 mph
14 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 31 181.360 mph
15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 15 181.159 mph
16 Matt Kenseth Toyota 20 181.111 mph
17 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 47 180.892 mph
18 Aric Almirola Ford 43 180.868 mph
19 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 56 180.832 mph
20 Greg Biffle Ford 16 180.765 mph
21 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 5 180.638 mph
22 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 29 180.578 mph
23 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 1 180.445 mph
24 Paul Menard Chevrolet 27 179.970 mph
25 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 14 179.964 mph
26 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 51 179.802 mph
27 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 78 179.390 mph
28 David Stremme Toyota 30 179.075 mph
29 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 10 178.944 mph
30 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 33 178.265 mph
31 Casey Mears Ford 13 178.235 mph
32 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 7 177.983 mph
33 Michael McDowell Ford 98 177.713 mph
34 David Gilliland Ford 38 177.486 mph
35 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet 36 176.638 mph
36 David Reutimann Toyota 83 176.488 mph
37 Josh Wise Ford 35 176.384 mph
38 David Ragan Ford 34 176.344 mph
39 Mike Bliss Toyota 19 175.816 mph
40 Travis Kvapil Toyota 93 175.707 mph
41 Joe Nemechek Toyota 87 175.234 mph
42 Scott Riggs Ford 44 175.143 mph
43 Ken Schrader Ford 32 172.988 mph

Drivers to Watch

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

The pole-sitter always merits a little extra attention, and when that driver is Earnhardt, that is especially true. 

This, according to Jeff Gluck of USA Today, is actually just the 12th pole in Earnhardt's 14-year career.

Sitting seventh in the points chase, Earnhardt doesn't have to take undo risks to capture the checkered here, but there is no doubt he is anxious for a strong performance. After starting his year with five straight top-10 finishes, he's had just four since. 

It is time for Earnhardt to reestablish some momentum for the Chase. 

Danica Patrick

I've largely grown tired of discussing Danica Patrick. I have nothing against her. It's just, at this point, she is just another middling driver trying to improve in the standings. 

However, thanks to Kyle Petty, it is hard not to talk about her this week. 

Appearing on Speed TV's NASCAR Race Hub, with the quote provided by ESPN's Terry Blount, Petty said: 

Danica has been the perfect example of somebody who can qualify better than what she runs. She can go fast, but she can't race. I think she's come a long way, but she's still not a race car driver. And I don't think she's ever going to be a race car driver.

As with anything concerning Patrick, this has picked up a lot of attention.

On Saturday, it will be Danica's chance to silence critics with her racing. Starting in 29th, if she is going to run with the leaders, she will definitely have to do some racing. 

Jeff Gordon

Sitting in 13th place in the points standings, Jeff Gordon needs to start stringing together some solid finishes. 

Gordon is coming off of his highest finish of the season, a second-place finish at Sonoma. However, it's hard to ascertain what that means for him going forward. Gordon is almost always a factor on road courses. 

This has been an inconsistent season for Gordon, and if he is going to make any noise in the Chase, it is time for him and his Hendrick team to start finding some consistency. 

Starting in 12th, this is a great opportunity for him to do just that. 


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