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Brad Keselowski crosses the finish line during qualifying for a NASCAR Series auto race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., Friday, July 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Brad Keselowski crosses the finish line during qualifying for a NASCAR Series auto race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., Friday, July 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)|Associated Press
NASCAR

NASCAR Saturday: The Eckel 3 picks the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky

Quaker State 400, Kentucky Speedway, 7:30 p.m.

Mark Eckel

This isn’t the biggest race in Kentucky, that occurs the first Saturday in May, it does have its share of story lines, however.

NASCAR heads to the Blue Grass State, known more for its horse races than its cars, for another scheduled Saturday night race.

The Quaker State 400 will be run for just the ninth time, and two of the circuit’s top drivers will look to extend streaks.

New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. will be looking for his third straight win here after winning the race in both 2017 and 2018. Truex, who is tied with Kyle Busch for most wins this season, with four, is also looking for his fifth win of the season.

Brad Keselowski, who sits in fourth place in the overall standings with 613 points, is looking for his fourth overall win in Kentucky. Keselowski took the checkered flag in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

And Toyota, which has Truex and Kyle Busch (winner in 2011 and 2015) is looking to post its sixth win in the nine-year history of the race.

As far as the playoff standings go, last week’s crazy crash-filled finish in Daytona shook up the final spots a bit.

Going into Saturday night Clint Bowyer (444 points) and Ryan Newman (443) are 15th and 16th, the last two playoff spots. Just on the outside are Daniel Suarez (440) and Eric Jones (430).

Here’s how “The Eckel 3’’, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney sees Saturday’s outcome.

Brad Keselowski (8-1): That’s really good odds for a driver with three wins here. He also has two wins this year on similar mile-and-a-half tracks like the one in Kentucky. All three on the panel had him as their No. 1 choice.

Martin Truex Jr. (7-2): If it seems as if we pick Truex almost every week, it’s because we do. He’s also the favorite this week and deservedly so. His win in Charlotte this year could have been a preview of what he’ll do Saturday night.

Kyle Busch (5-1): After an incredible start to the season, Busch has slowed down a bit but that was to be expected. This is the week he might get back on top, or at least make it to theta three.

Longshot Play: Kurt Busch (25-1)

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