FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Kyle Busch and David Reutimann Hot at Gridlocked Kentucky

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIJuly 10, 2011

Kyle Busch makes a point before introductions at Darlington
Kyle Busch makes a point before introductions at Darlington

The inaugural Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway was hotly contested on the 1.5-mile tri-oval with 14 degree banking in Sparta, Ky., while fans with tickets inched their way, bumper to bumper, attempting to take their seats. Some were turned away after hours on gridlocked highways.  

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) could not be pleased knowing that a reverse traffic flow plan midway in the race prevented thousands of fans from getting to their paid seats.  

Many angry fans tweeted unpleasant comments. 

Still, the stands appeared packed, and the racing was brisk, with 20 lead changes among 12 drivers.

Busch led 125 of 267 laps and grabbed the lead near the end when it counted. David Reutimann gave Jimmie Johnson a third-place finish when he got around him to take the second spot. 

Kentucky Speedway hosted Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series races this weekend, with Busch winning the NSCS and NCWTS races and placing third in the Nationwide race.

With his third win of the season, Busch moved into first place in the Sprint Cup Series with a four-point buffer over Carl Edwards.   

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NASCAR drivers tend to make upbeat comments before races, but sometimes their pre-race words are prophetic and precise. Kyle Busch, David Reutimann, and Jimmie Johnson commented before and after the Quaker State 400 at Sparta.   

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com. 

Kyle Busch (No. 87 Toyota): Finished First (Started First)

Before the green flag:

“Kentucky will be good,” Busch said. “I’m looking forward to getting there. It’s a great opportunity for the speedway to have the ‘triple’ there this weekend—the Trucks, the Nationwide cars, and the Sprint Cup cars there all together.

“I couldn’t expect anything but some good, hard racing. Kentucky is a fast race track. There’s a lot of sweeping corners there, so you’ve really got to keep your momentum going, and it’s a big momentum-type race track. There’s a lot of throttle on time there. You carry a lot of good speed, but yet the place is really wide so you’ve got room for maneuverability. You can run the bottom. It seemed like you can run the middle. I don’t know how great the top will be, but we’ll have to see once we get there and what kind of tire we’re on.”

After the checkered flag:

“It feels awesome to be able to come out here and run the way we did, to unload the way we did off the hauler,” Busch said. “Dave and all the guys—all the engineers back in the shop—did a phenomenal job with our race car and be fast right out of the gates.

“Didn't have many adjustments to make; just fine-tuned on it through the weekend. It was definitely a special event here this weekend. We felt the energy. We saw the people. It was a fun race.” 

David Reutimann (No. 17 Ford): Finished Second (Started 17th)

Before the green flag:

“There are a lot of different places at Kentucky that are a little rough, but there is no way that you can just get around them,” Reutimann said. “Some of the bumps are just there and there’s really not much you can do. There is really only two ways that you can do it: you can work on your car and try to make it more compliant at those spots and not bounce so bad, or you can just drive around them. That’s just the nature of the racetrack and something that you have to work around.” 

After the checkered flag:

“We unfortunately have a bit of a history of being fast when it doesn't really matter,” Reutimann said. “Tonight worked out where we were fast at the end of the race, which is evidently what you got to do.

“Proud of my guys. New configuration car, different than what we brought all year. Guys in the fab shop have been busting tail trying to get things done. It's off to a good start anyway.” 

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet): Finished Third (Started Fifth)

Before the green flag:

"I'm excited to come to a new track. Obviously it's a very hungry fan base. I'm excited to come there. I know it's going to be great for our sport. There's a fan base that is eager for us to come there, and it's great. So we'll come out there and hopefully not crash."

“Kentucky is a great place to hold an event. Again, we see packed grandstands for every other form of racing that's there, and it will be nice to come there and feel the energy."

After the checkered flag:

“I'm a big fan of the test session,” Johnson said. “I think that was good for our sport, good for the teams, a good use of money for all the race teams to come out and get data on the track we run on. I felt like it helped us get a good baseline for the weekend. We were able to validate some things we'd been messing with, some things we shouldn't have been messing with, and some other things we needed to go a little further on.

“I heard there's been plenty of trouble trying to get everybody into the facility; I think coming back next year that would be the priority. Leave the surface alone on the racetrack and make sure that the fans have the experience they deserve to have.”

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained from official release materials provided by NASCAR.

Photo credit: Dwight Drum at Racetake.com

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