Race Weekend Central

Numbers Game: 2012 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky


All four Rick Hendrick cars placed in the top 10 at Kentucky, the second time this year it has happened. Ironically, the other time came during a Saturday night race, at Texas Motor Speedway, also a 1.5-mile oval.


Jimmie Johnson has now moved up to a season high of third in the standings, completely erasing any memories of his slow start. However, if his 25-point penalty from the season opener at Daytona remained, he would be only one spot further back in fourth.


Greg Biffle, who has led the points for most of the year, fell back to fourth in the standings, the lowest he has been all year.


Five drivers have finished in the top 10 in the first two Kentucky events: Saturday’s winner Brad Keselowski, last year’s Kentucky champion Kyle Busch, Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.


It has now been 11 races since Ryan Newman’s last top 10, which was his win at Martinsville back in April. Surprisingly enough, he hasn’t fallen too far back in the points, only dropping from eighth to a three-way tie for 14th.

Unfortunately for Newman, one of the drivers he is tied with is fellow one time winner in 2012 Kasey Kahne and would lose the tiebreaker to him based off of next-highest finish. Prior to crashing out in the Quaker State 400, Newman had been holding on to the second wildcard spot for several weeks.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. already has 13 top-10 finishes in 2012, eclipsing his total of 12 of the entire 2011 season.


Gordon’s career average finish at Daytona International Speedway, the highest amongst Chase hopefuls 11th through 20th in the standings. Additionally, his six wins at the 2.5-mile oval are more than any other active driver.


Since moving up to the Cup Series with Jack Roush in 2000, Kenseth has accumulated 22 victories, the sixth highest total in the span.


Johnson earned his 26th career pole at Kentucky, but it was his first in nearly two years, with his last one coming at the 2010 fall event at Dover.


Michael Waltrip finished 30th piloting the No. 55 Aaron’s Camry at his home track. This was the lowest finish for the No. 55 where it was running at the end. Mark Martin placed 33rd at Kansas and 34th at Charlotte after late-race engine failures eliminated him from possible top-10 results.


Going in with three consecutive top-three results, Tony Stewart finished 32nd Saturday night (June 30), his worst outing of the season.


Johnson has accumulated 238 points over the last six races, 13 more than second-place Earnhardt.

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