“Brad Keselowski and his team did it better than everyone else.”- Jeff Burton on Race Winner Brad Keselowski
“Usually these repaves are my Achilles heel.” Brad Keselowski to Kelli Stavast
SPARTA, Ky.– July 9, 2016 – NBC Sports Group marched into its second week of NASCAR coverage with 22 trackside hours of coverage from Kentucky Speedway highlighted by this evening’s coverage of the Quaker State 400 on NBCSN. NBC Sports’ lead broadcast team of Rick Allen, Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton called the race. Krista Voda, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett hosted Countdown to Green along with post-race coverage. Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns reported from pit road.
At the conclusion of the crash-filled 267 laps, which broke the track record for caution flags, Brad Keselowski secured a back-to-back win. Keselowski stretched every single drop of fuel, crossing the finish line at empty.
The following are highlights from this evening’s Sprint Cup coverage from Kentucky on NBCSN.
QUAKER STATE 400 COVERAGE
Race winner Keselowski to Stavast: “Usually these repaves are my Achilles heel. To get a win here at Kentucky, I know this has been a good track for us in the past, but this ain’t the same Kentucky I can tell you that. Man these cars were tough to drive today.”
Burton on Keselowski’s fuel mileage showdown: “I was convinced he was done and he was out…What is so impressive about all these teams and drivers saving fuel, and Brad Keselowski and his team did it better than everyone else, is that there is no fuel gauge in the car. This is all based on the things you have learned in practice and your experience. You have to guess your way through it. It is very difficult to do. He ran out of fuel right at the right time.”
Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe to Burns: “(Keselowski) made me a little nervous there too. I didn’t think we were going to make it, honestly. We had kind of made our bed there when other drivers started pitting with 15 laps to go. They were gaining on us so much, we were at a point where they were going to jump us, so we needed to pick one strategy or the other.”
Letarte on crew chief Cole Pearn’s lack of conversation with Martin Truex Jr. about conserving fuel: “If you have a car that can drive from the back to the front, I don’t want to see you conserving fuel. Go! Prove to the world how fast you can be. He has already won a race, maybe make a statement, even if it isn’t in victory lane.”
Burton on Truex Jr.’s pit road penalty: “That penalty will spark conversation next week. On pit road we see drivers accelerate when they get to that speed line and try to get to their pit box as quickly as they can. From time to time we see drivers get a little bit ahead of the leader, or a little bit ahead of the car in front of them without a call. In this case (Truex Jr.) got so far ahead I think NASCAR felt like they had to do it.”
Letarte on the impact of major accidents on the Chase grid: “Just in the last two accidents we have seen the No. 24 of Chase Elliott and the No. 21 of Ryan Blaney in major accidents, now the No. 47 of AJ Allmendinger. All of those cars are vying for those five spots still available by points without a win. There are major points implications happening early here at Kentucky.”
Burton on three-wide restarts: “The track is just not wide enough for three-wide restarts. Everyone is just trying to fight to get to the bottom, to get as low as you can even if you are on the outside, or in the middle.”
Joey Logano to Massaro on his early exit from the race: “I got loose off of turn four and knocked the rear end over and got really loose… Thank god for the safety of these cars, that hurt a ton. I had a lot of time to think about how much that one was going to hurt. So I’m pretty impressed with the safer barriers.”
A link to Logano’s race ending crash is available here.
Kyle Busch to Burton via radio communication before the green flag: “This race is challenging because the biggest thing you have to deal with is all the grip you have, until you don’t have any. You can kind of slide these cars around a little bit more than the XFINITY cars because of the lower downforce. You are pretty stuck in (turn) one and two and there are a lot of things that are happening for you down in (turn) three and four. Balance is key and trying to keep the tires underneath you for the long haul.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–