The most exciting NASCAR Cup Series race run at Kentucky Speedway? We rank them all.

Mark Story, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Auto Racing

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- When the green flag drops Sunday on the 10th Quaker State 400, there will not be one fan in the Kentucky Speedway grandstands due to the coronavirus.

In 2011, before the first NASCAR Cup Series race in Sparta, there were so many fans that the track's parking plan was overwhelmed. The result was an epic traffic jam that left many ticket-holding patrons stuck on I-71, fuming, for the duration of the race.

That juxtaposition -- from too many fans to none at all -- forms the perfect bookends to the zany first decade of Cup racing at Kentucky Speedway.

"One thing we always talk about as a team here, I don't know what it is going to be, but something strange is going to happen," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger says. "It always does."

Along with persistent weirdness, the Cup Series has also brought some thrill-packed races -- and a few duds -- to Kentucky.

To commemorate the 10th year of Cup racing in Sparta, we ranked the nine previous races, in descending order, on the basis of the excitement level they produced:


9. 2014

Winner: Brad Keselowski.

Number of green-flag passes in the entire race: 1,147, an average of 4.9 per lap.

How the race was won: Keselowski passed archrival Kyle Busch with 20 laps to go to become the first two-time winner in the Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway.


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