Kentucky offers last 1.5-mile NASCAR stop before Cup playoff

Published 8:20 p.m. ET July 12, 2019

SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — NASCAR drivers know there is little data from Kentucky Speedway’s unique 1.5-mile layout that can be applied to the remainder of the intermediate tracks on the Cup schedule.

But there are four stops at 1.5-mile tracks looming in the upcoming playoffs and Saturday night at Kentucky gives teams a chance to hone their intermediate packages. Different banking at opposite ends of the Kentucky track adds intrigue to the 400-mile race as well as curiosity as to whether NASCAR’s new aerodynamics package generates more passing.

Two-time defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. welcomes a challenge after dominating last July. He led 174 of the 267 laps while starting from the pole.

“I think that’s one of the most unique parts about our sport and what we do as drivers and teams,” said Truex. “This stuff is always changing. … They change the tires all the time. The rules of the cars are changing all the time. All the top drivers are consistently working on how they drive the cars and how they do better. It’s a huge challenge to try to stay near the top of the sport, and that’s part of what makes it fun.”

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