Date: July 9, 2016
Event: Kentucky 400 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Kentucky Speedway in Sparta (1.5-mile oval)
Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Kurt Busch (Started 3rd, Finished 4th / Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Tony Stewart (Started 22nd, Finished 5th / Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Kevin Harvick (Started 1st, Finished 9th / Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)
Danica Patrick (Started 27th, Finished 17th / Running, completed 266 of 267 laps)
Kevin Harvick (1st with 599 points, four ahead of second)
Kurt Busch (3rd with 583 points, 16 out of first)
Danica Patrick (24th with 327 points, 110 ahead of 31st)
Tony Stewart (30th with 248 points, 31 ahead of 31st)
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway by finishing fourth in the Kentucky 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Busch started from the rear of the field after crashing his primary racecar in practice Friday afternoon. Using his backup racecar, Busch methodically worked his way to the front and led once for 10 laps en route to his sixth top-five and 15th top-10 finish this season and first top-five and fourth top-10 in six career Sprint Cup starts at Kentucky.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished fifth to earn his second top-five and fourth top-10 finish this season and his first top-five in six career Sprint Cup starts at Kentucky.
Stewart maintained his position in the top-30 in the driver standings by a 31-point margin over 31st-place Brian Scott. If Stewart can remain in the top-30 through the 26th race of the season, he will secure his spot in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff by virtue of his victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
To compete for the series championship, Stewart had to win at least one race and must be within the top-30 of the championship standings by the 26th race of the season Sept. 10 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. With his victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Stewart checked one box on his way toward Chase eligibility.
Kevin Harvick, driving the No. 4 Busch Light Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished ninth. He led five times for a race-high 128 laps but had to make a late-race fuel stop. It was Harvick’s 14th top-10 this season and fourth top-10 in six career Sprint Cup starts at Kentucky.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 17th.
Brad Keselowski won the Kentucky 400 to score his fourth victory of the season, his third at Kentucky and the 21st of his career.
Carl Edwards finished .175 of a second behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot, while Ryan Newman, Busch and Stewart rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were 11 caution periods for 53 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race. The 11 cautions tied the track record, set last year.
With round 18 of 36 complete, Harvick leads SHR and the series in the championship standings. He is first with 599 points, four ahead of second-place Keselowski. Busch remained in third with 583 points, 16 behind leader Harvick.
Harvick earned a spot in the Chase via his win March 13 at Phoenix International Raceway, and Busch secured his position via his win June 6 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Patrick is 24th with 327 points, 110 ahead of 31st-place Scott. Like Stewart, if Patrick can win a race and finish among the top-30 in points following the 26th race of the season, she will earn a Chase berth.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the New Hampshire 301 on Sunday, July 17, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. NBCSN will broadcast the race starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT.