Aside from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Brickyard 400 is contested, no other track on the NASCAR circuit is as close to Columbus as Kentucky Speedway.
For that reason, the Sparta, Kentucky, venue has been like a second home track for Columbus native Tony Stewart since it began hosting Sprint Cup races in 2011. Sitting only 80 miles away, it isn’t much farther than IMS.
Stewart and his fellow Sprint Cup competitors are in Sparta this weekend for tonight’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts. The race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Kentucky Speedway remains the only track currently on the Sprint Cup circuit where Stewart has never won. Given it is only 5 years old, that isn’t a big surprise.
But if Stewart wants to cross Kentucky off his conquered list, he’ll likely have to do it tonight. He has announced his retirement from Sprint Cup racing at the end of the season.
Stewart has been in Indiana and Kentucky for most of the week. Tuesday, he was honored with a newly-installed dirt track at IMS and took a few laps on the surface.
Following tonight’s race, Stewart will return to Indiana. He is slated to sign autographs Monday at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair’s Three-Quarter Midget Race.
Following next week’s race in Loudon, New Hampshire, Stewart will be back in Indiana again for the July 24 Brickyard 400.
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Quaker State 400, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Starting position: (will need to be updated after qualifying, 6:45 p.m. Friday)
Finished 26th in CokeZero 400
CHASE FOR THE CUP
Last race: 16 points
Season total: 212 points (30th)