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2011 Quaker State 400 coverage

 

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6:30 p.m. - Just over an hour until the engines start roaring and history will come to Sparta. For my first NASCAR event and seeing this speedway full of people, I am proud to be covering this event for the citizens of Grant County. Kyle Busch is the pole leader after a shorten qualifying round yesterday due to rain.

7 p.m. - Governor Steve Beshear is speaking about the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "Here before we were known for horsepower on four legs," he said. "Now, we are welcoming horsepower on four wheels."

7:23 p.m. - 22 minutes till race time. TNT just showed that Jeff Gordon has won three inaugural races in his career. Will he win a fourth?

7:41 p.m. - Engines were reved on the command of Governor Steve Beshear. Not too loud in the press box, but will be heading out for some pictures soon. The cars are lining up for the race. No preference on who wins, but is going to be exciting.

7:50 p.m. - Race is underway wth the 22 car, Kurt Busch leading, with 265 laps to go in the race.

8 p.m. - Kurt Busch has lead the entire race to this point with 249 to go. The avearage speed is 173 mph and Busch leads by .209 seconds.

8:06 p.m. - Caution lap due to lack of qualifying yesterday, from the rain. Pit road for the first time. Kyle Busch in the lead for now.

8:16 p.m. - The Busch's are in the front two positions, Kyle leading Kurt by 1.353 seconds with 224 laps to go.

8:30 p.m. - With 200 laps left in the race, Kyle Busch leads brother Kurt by 3.560 seconds. Other notables, Jeff Gordon is in 22nd place. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in 19th. Joey Logano is in 15th place. Jimmie Johnson is 3rd.

9:04 p.m. - With 135 laps to go, Kyle Busch is in the lead by 8.447 seconds over Carl Edwards. Johnson is in 5th, Earnhardt Jr. is in 21 and Gordon is in 25th place.

9:21 p.m. - Brad Keselowski is leading with 115 laps and a caution flag is up due to oil on the track. Joey Logano is in 14th place. Gordon is in 21st place. Earnhardt Jr. is in 19th place. I took pictures and really got to hear the roar of the engines. I am liking this event.

9:33 p.m. - 100 laps left in the race and Keselowski is in the lead, 1.235 seconds ahead of #14 Tony Stewart. The average speed is 144.290 mph, which has been affected by three caution flags.

9:41 p.m. - Statement from Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger regarding traffic for the Quaker State 400: "We've had an overwhelming response to our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400." We know we had challenges related to traffic. We're already planning improvements and looking forward to a much better situation for next year's event."

Personally, I think that there will need to be improvements for next year, but at the same time, there was planning for people to arrive early. I arrived at 1 p.m. by taking U.S. 42 to KY 35. It only took 45 minutes to arrive at the Speedway from my apartment. I think sometimes you need to plan ahead for when to arrive.

9:53 p.m. - Just read a tweet on Twitter that some fans have been turned away due to no parking left. I wonder what will happen as far as refunds or anything. Also #1 Jamie McMurray is out of the race. His engine blew and the smoke was obstructing his view and had to slam the brakes to avoid hitting anyone. Our fourth caution of the night with 65 laps remaining in the race.

10:13 p.m. - With 45 laps left in the race, Keselowski is still in the lead, 1.849 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch. Both of these racers have won the other two races this weekend. (Busch -NASCAR Truck Series UNOH 225 and Keselowski - NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed Hunger 300).

10:25 p.m. - 20 laps left and Kurt Busch is leading by 3.376 seconds. The average speed tonight is 142.730 mph. Gordon is in 6th place, but is still needing one more pit stop.

10:30 p .m. - 13 laps left and Earnhardt Jr. blew left front tire. Under caution and he just got tire replaced and is going to finish the race.

10:35 p.m. - Jamie McMurray #1 car statement after car smoked up - "Yeah. I got a little bit freaked out becuase I felt the motor start shaking and blow up and smoke came in the car so fast I couldn't see. And I was more concerned with getting the car stopped and trying to get the spotter to help me drive the car than put it in neutral; so it was getting worse as I was going into the corner. That's the first time that's ever happened to me. So it was really odd."

10:45 p.m. Kyle Busch is the unofficial winner. Reutimann in second and Jimmie Johnson 3rd.