NASCAR invades Sparta, Kentucky for a full weekend and despite this being the first official NASCAR Sprint Cup visit to the track, the divers and crew chiefs already have a plenty of information on the semi-banked intermediate track.
The track has been used as a test track for many teams before it was officially placed on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule, so many teams have extensive knowledge of the track and its quirks.
The track also has a baseline setup that is comparable to Kansas and Chicagoland. The teams will unload with a setup similar to those tracks but a special tire testing day on Thursday July 7 will give teams a chance to make adjustments to their educated guesses.
Looking at the power numbers from Kansas and the drivers that performed well, the favorite for this race should be Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook has Dale Jr. as a 15-to-1 shot to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 but he should be the overwhelming favorite.
The Dale Earnhardt Jr. backlash in the sportsbooks would be a boon if Dale Jr. can ever win again. Another good long shot in this race is the under valued Joey Logano. Logano also participated in the tire test in June of this year. He has won every time he has raced the Kentucky Speedway and this will be his fourth trip around the intermediate track.
Tires will be a key in this race as well as fuel mileage. Despite NASCAR's distaste for strategy races, this season has been a benchmark for drivers looking to test the limits of their as tanks.
The tire situation will be interesting. Greg Biffle was confident during the first tire test and he liked the compound. Goodyear may change the compound on Thursday if they don't like what they see during the test.
If NASCAR does change the compound it will leave the drivers with the tire test under belt back at square one. Look for a veteran to win this weekend. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch all have the inside track to take this race down.