Who will be the next Sprint Cup driver to pull into victory lane in the "Bluegrass State?"
Two weeks ago, Jimmie Johnson scratched Michigan off of his list of tracks where he has yet to win a race on the current Sprint Cup schedule. The six- time and defending series champion is now aiming to do the same at Kentucky.
"It would be great to go to Kentucky and win, to cross another track off our list," Johnson said.
Chicagoland, Homestead and Watkins Glen are the other tracks where Johnson is seeking his first win.
Busch, Kenseth, Johnson and Jeff Gordon are those drivers who have scored top-10 finishes in each of the first three Sprint Cup races at Kentucky.
In last year's event at Kentucky, which was delayed one day due to rain, Johnson put on a dominating performance by leading 182 of 267 laps, but he got loose and spun around while running in second following the last restart. Johnson ended up finishing ninth.
"We've been close," he said. "It's just on that last run, varying mistakes have kept us from going to victory lane. We've had a car capable of winning. I think two of them, at least. I'm not sure about the third. So it's just executing in that final run."
Johnson has won three of the last five races (Charlotte, Dover and Michigan). He finished sixth at Pocono and seventh at Sonoma.
Gordon is the current points leader. He enters this race (the 17th of the season) with a 20-point advantage over Johnson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Gordon, a four-time series champion, has won at every track on the current schedule except one -- Kentucky.
"Winning at all the tracks would be something that I would be very proud of," Gordon said. "But it seems every time we get close to accomplishing that goal, another track is added. I think winning at all the tracks would be a pretty awesome feat."
Gordon has one win this season, which came in the May 10 nighttime race at Kansas, a 1.5-mile track similar to Kentucky.
Kentucky and Darlington are the only tracks where three-time series champion Tony Stewart has yet to win. Stewart's hometown is in Columbus, Indiana, which is located roughly 100 miles southeast of this track.
"I'm a Southern Indiana guy, so the track is not very far from where I grew up and where I currently live," Stewart said. "It's kind of a home track to us, and that's kind of the feeling we have going into it. You always want to run well at your home tracks. Even though Indy has always been my home track in the past, now having Kentucky Speedway there, it's as much home to me as Indy. We're definitely looking forward to it."
Stewart has not won since June 2013 at Dover (39 races ago). Last season, he was sidelined for the final 15 events due to a leg injury. Stewart is presently 17th in the point standings.
Kenseth is hoping to get his first win of the season this weekend at Kentucky, where he leads all drivers with the best average finishing position (4.667). In last year's race here, he led the final 24 laps to claim his fourth of seven wins for the season.
"It was a good track for us last year, for sure, so hopefully this weekend we'll have some speed and be a factor," Kenseth said.
Last weekend at Sonoma, Kenseth finished 42nd after he crashed late in the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. went up and over the curb and bumped into Kenseth's right-rear, causing him to spin out and slam hard into the tire barrier.
Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the Quaker State 400, which is one short of a full field.
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Saturday, June 28. Race: Quaker State 400. Site: Kentucky Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 267. Miles: 400.5. 2013 Winner: Matt Kenseth. Television: TNT. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.