Busch, Keselowski to race rare tripleheader
June 12, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
NASCAR fans are in for a treat when the summer tour heads to Kentucky later this month, as hard-nosed wheelmen and Kentucky Speedway's only two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, will race head-to-head three times during the track's June 27-29 tripleheader weekend. They will compete for the checkered flags in the Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts, NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225.
"Having two of our most successful drivers square off for all three of our races certainly ratchets up the intensity for our weekend. Both Kyle and Brad won't be satisfied unless they win them all," said Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger.
Both drivers will race a full Kentucky NASCAR tripleheader for the second time in their career. Busch completed the feat in 2011 and Keselowski in 2012.
Having two drivers compete in a tripleheader is a somewhat rare feat. The first occurrence was in 1996 at Richmond, when both Mark Martin and Kenny Wallace did the triple. It has happened just 26 times since then, most recently last year at Kentucky with Keselowski and Scott Riggs. The last time Busch and Keselowski did it the same weekend, Busch swept all three in 2010 at Bristol.
"I want to run all three races and win them."
-- Brad Keselowski
Busch's sterling record at the track features four victories in four different series. He nailed down the track's inaugural NSCS Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts crown along with a NCWTS UNOH 225 victory in 2011. He reeled in a 300-mile NNS victory in 2004 and made his track debut with a 206-mile ARCA Racing Series victory in 2003 as an emerging 18-year-old talent.
Overall, the 28-year-old has collected a combined six top-five and nine top-10 finishes while leading 762 of the 2,086 Kentucky Speedway laps he's raced through 11 career starts in four series.
"I remember going there for the first time back in 2003. It was my second ever ARCA race and first time on a 1.5-mile oval,” said Busch. “It was a big deal. It was a fast racetrack and I ended up winning that weekend. I had to do some maneuvering around Frank Kimmel, it wasn't easy.
"Going there in Nationwide and being fast every time when Sprint Cup didn't have a date there yet just got my feet wet for the opportunity when Sprint Cup did go there. When we went with the Cup car, we were fast right when we unloaded.”
Keselowski, the reigning Sprint Cup champion, will defend his 2012 Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts title. He claimed a 2011 Feed The Children 300 victory and earned his NCWTS track-best second-place finish in last season's UNOH 225.
"I want to run all three races and win them. Kentucky is one of my best race tracks. What I like out of a race car and how I want it to drive really fits this racetrack. It's rough, it's bumpy and it's actually a little bit more predictable because of that. The groove is predictable, the way it takes rubber is predictable and the ability to run side-by-side here is as good, if not better, than any other mile and a half," said Keselowski.
Both drivers will benefit from valuable additional track time throughout the three-day stretch, which will bolster their chances of being the first to capture three Kentucky Speedway race titles in three days.
"The biggest thing you get to work on, and enjoy, is essentially the extra track time figuring out if you need to get through the bumps better or if you need to get your guys to give you a better setup to get through the bumps. I have three chances and three crew chiefs that have different mindsets. By the time I get to Saturday, I have a feel for what I need to win the Cup race," Busch said.