The Quaker State 400 looked mostly quiet in the 1st half of the afternoon before the last half produced some spills and entertainment with the final restarts on the run home.
Looking at the race results, there’s a few that do so well within the Top 16 and some in & out of the Top 25 zone.
Let’s find out which three have done the best.
First up, Christopher Bell.
Having started from 34th, he got off the mark very well & ran inside the Top 25 zone for the rest of Stage 1 uninterrupted.
Thanks to a set solid base, in the beginning, he remained patient in the first half of Stage 2 within the Top 20 mark before he pitted midway & cycled where he first restarted after the Matt Kenseth spin.
On the run home, Bell may have fallen back a bit during the first half of Stage 3 until the Austin Dillon incident with 37 to go.
Fortunately, it represented a change of momentum by remaining patient, which saw him move to the Top 10 ahead of the restart before surviving a series of late cautions saw him end up in 7th.
So fantastic job to Bell & his No.95 Leavine team on building a tremendous base on picking up as many spots as he can before opening up that snowball effect, which worked well.
Credit to these yellow flag hold-ups that does give Bell & Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff time to alter their race strategy that became one of their best behind the scenes moments.
Now, it’s all about remaining consistent, and stamps up Top 10-15 runs now, and then that will prepare Bell on achieving something big in the long run.
After Bell, it’s Ty Dillon.
Ty Dillon also jumped a few spots from 33rd at the start & remained quiet within the Top 25 for the rest of Stage 1.
Nothing has changed much in the initial run but has improved a few spots towards the Top 20 zone in the lead up towards the halfway break.
In the first half of the final stage, his restarts went well, having moved up to 16th before falling back a bit thanks to the Austin Dillon caution.
But he remained patient on the run home having survived a few late yellows when some of the drivers ahead of him unexpectedly pull out; he came home in 16th.
Overall, it’s a great day from Ty Dillon in the No.13 Chevy, who made some decent displays from the ground up mostly via green flag runs.
At times, he may have lost a bit of momentum via caution restarts.
In the end, he stuck to his game, waited & done the job with some fantastic equipment needed to earn his 2nd chance inside the Top 20, where he locked in with plenty of maximum points possible.
Lastly, Daniel Suarez.
From second-last in 37th, he too has gained a couple of spots in the interim & stayed there for the rest of Stage 1.
Nothing much happened to go into Stage 2 for most of the time until the late Matt Kenseth caution saw him finish 25th.
In the end, Suarez remained quiet and only focused on getting his No.96 Toyota Camry home without getting hurt in 26th.
So great to see Suarez build up a great base from the start and keep on staying ahead of the race field throughout the afternoon.
Yes, it’s non-charted equipment, so Suarez can do what he does best, which is fine based on a near Top 25 finish.
Picking up points is better than just leaving Kentucky Speedway, getting involved in a wreck with no points at all.
Next up is Suarez keep staying ahead within the Top 25 mark.
When you have a great start in moving up spots and not having to crash crash, then some potential rewards like a Top 10-15 finish for an occasion or two would be great from this small team like Gaunt Brothers Racing to target between now and the rest of the year.
Congratulations to all three-best limited-budget drivers in the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway.
Yes, Michael McDowell has finished 24th as we’re all aware of.
But he has finished consistently within the Top 10 to 20 mark over the last few weeks, so most likely, the standard he expected in Kentucky isn’t what he wanted in the end.
Though he’s happy guiding his No.34 Ford to the finish line with the points he collected and sure he can bounce back soon enough when he goes to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend.