Post-Race Reactions: Kentucky 201
Championship contenders Kligerman, Coulter, Dillon, and Peters comment on their Kentucky runs along with Brian Scott.
NSCS GarageCam walks the 'garage' Blvd in 'Dega
Strolling the infield Boulevard at Talladega is the thing to do, but Matthew Dillner and GarageCam stroll the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage to find your favorite cars and stars.
Victory Lane: James Buescher
Buescher thanks his team and sponsors after celebrating his Kentucky 201 win.
Kentucky Speedway to undergo major renovations
Kentucky Speedway announced Tuesday that it will undertake a multiple-point renovation of its 1.5-mile track, including a full repave, increased banking in Turns 1 and 2 and more energy-absorbing SAFER barrier. The work, which includes improvements to the track's drainage system, will be complete in time for its NASCAR weekend for all three national series July 7-9. The repaving project will mark the first new asphalt for Kentucky Speedway since it opened with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in 2000. The track, which has hosted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races the last five years, had become known for its character-building bumps in the rough surface. After the renovations are complete, Kentucky may be best known for it asymmetric layout. Turns 1 and 2 will increase their banking from 14 to 17 degrees, narrowing the racing groove in the process. Turns 3 and 4 will remain at their original 14 degrees. "I am excited about the finished product as we wanted to present a unique challenge to the drivers," project manager Steve Swift said, vice president of operations and development for parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. "This design, with Turns 1 and 2 completely different than 3 and 4 accomplishes that goal. The big winner will be the race fan." The track will also seek to improve safety with the addition of 3,200 feet of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction Barrier (SAFER) system, following the lead of several other tracks on the NASCAR schedule. Kentucky also aims to combat drainage issues, specifically "weepers" where water burbles up through cracks in the racing surface. The drainage trouble hampered track-drying efforts during last year's NASCAR tripleheader, which also featured a test day for the new reduced-downforce aero rules package that will be the base setup for the Sprint Cup Series this season.
Jones storms to bonus in new-look Dash 4 Cash
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It's payday for Erik Jones , as the 19-year-old is going home with an extra-large $100,000 check for taking the first NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. The race-winning Joe Gibbs Racing driver led a total of 62 of the 200 laps in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 , and his victory essentially locks up a spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. Should Jones record another Dash 4 Cash bonus in any of the three remaining Dash 4 Cash races, having two Dash 4 Cash bonuses would be the equivalent to a regular-season race win and give him a leg up on seeding when the Chase begins on Sept. 24 at Kentucky Speedway . MORE: What to know about the Dash 4 Cash "We got a really good restart and Kyle (Larson) just left the top open and we went up there and he worked pretty hard to keep us behind him," Jones said post-race. "We just kept digging and it worked out. Just an awesome feeling. I never thought we'd get our first win here at Bristol." As for what he's spending the dough on, Jones is a frugal man. "Well, we're all going to dinner so that's going to be a big bill already I can tell," Jones said. "After that, I don't know, I'll probably put it away. I don't like to buy too many things." RELATED: Jones' discusses emotional Victory Lane call Jones' JGR teammate Daniel Suarez , Richard Childress Racing driver Ty Dillon and JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier all qualified for the Dash 4 Cash competition by being the top two finishers among XFINITY Series regulars in the two heat races that preceded Saturday's main event, which all came down to the final restart on Lap 198. With just three laps remaining, it looked as if Suarez -- who was running the highest of the Dash 4 Cash drivers in third -- was going to be the one to hoist the cardboard check after the checkered flag fell. That was until his JGR teammate Kyle Busch spun his tires, backing up Suarez's No. 19 Toyota. "I feel like we had a top-three car all day long and we were running in the top five, top three all day," Suarez said after the race. "In the end, the outside line was the preferred line and my teammate ( Kyle Busch ) spun his tires right there at the end with old tires and I was just right there stuck in the middle on the inside and there was nothing I can do at that point." Jones came from fourth on the restart to win the race. This was Jones' first Dash 4 Cash event, as he was not eligible for the competition last season being a full-time Camping World Truck Series driver. The next Dash 4 Cash event will be the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 23 (12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The two heat races will be 35 laps each, with a 140-lap main event. There are a total of four Dash 4 Cash events in the 2016 season.
Catch up before the start of Saturday's Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET) What: Fifth annual Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts Where: Kentucky Speedway, 1.5-mile D-shaped oval in Sparta, Ky. When: Saturday, July 11, 2015 TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Distance: 267 laps (400.5 miles) Green Flag: 7:45 p.m. ET Competition Caution: Lap 25 Pit Road Speed: 45 mph Caution Car Speed: 55 mph Fuel Window: 50 laps On the front row " Complete lineup (Coors Light Pole Qualifying rained out; lineup set according to 2015 NASCAR Rule Book, based on opening practice speeds) 1. Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet 2. Brad Keselowski , Team Penske No. 2 Ford Failed to qualify Ryan Blaney , Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford; Michael McDowell , Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Ford; Travis Kvapil , The Motorsports Group No. 30 Chevrolet. Fastest in practice First Practice: Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (182.537 mph) Final Practice: Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (178.412 mph) Rules recap In case you missed it, Saturday's 400-miler will mark the first appearance of a new, lower-downforce rules package in race conditions. A shorter spoiler, a front splitter with less overhang, and a reduction in the length of the splitter extension panel (radiator pan) are expected to raise the demands on driver control. WATCH: Breaking down Kentucky's new rules package Dillon ready to return Austin Dillon proclaimed himself a little sore but in fine physical shape to race Friday afternoon, on the eve of his first event since his Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet took a wild tumble into the Daytona catch fencing at the end of the Coke Zero 400 . Dillon emerged unhurt and will start 11th in the Quaker State 400. "I feel pretty comfortable," Dillon said after opening Sprint Cup practice. "I think when you take a crash like that and you're as healthy as I feel, you feel pretty confident in the safety equipment that you have around you that you're ready to go, and run fast." RELATED: No. 88 crew recalls frenzy to reach Dillon Keselowski's corral In just four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in Kentucky Speedway's history, Brad Keselowski has managed to win two, making him the only multiple winner at the 1.5-mile track. He was consistent in Friday's pair of practices, placing second on the leaderboard both times. And he won Friday night's XFINITY Series event. "So far, I think we're off to a good start," Keselowski said after opening practice. "Of course, that's a little self-serving because we're fast, but I'm looking forward to finding out fully when we get to race time." MORE: Keselowski wins XFINITY race, gets coveted jukebox Gordon's void Four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon has won at 22 of the 23 tracks currently on the Sprint Cup calendar, save for Saturday's venue at Kentucky Speedway. With his last chance to convert a victory for a clean career sweep of the schedule, Gordon has some extra motivation as his farewell tour continues. "It would be pretty cool if we pulled it off," said Gordon, who will start third in his Kentucky finale. GORDON: Close miss would be a heartbreaker History lesson NASCAR's premier series began racing at Kentucky Speedway in 2011, when Kyle Busch captured the inaugural checkered flag from the pole position. The 1.5-mile track has been a regular stop for other NASCAR national series, hosting the XFINITY tour since 2001 and the Camping World Truck Series since 2000. Speedway Motorsports, Inc., took ownership of the facility in 2008. Driver Rating Best driver rating average at Kentucky based on past four years: 1. Kyle Busch , 124.3 2. Jimmie Johnson , 116.6 3. Brad Keselowski , 116.1 Defending race winner Brad Keselowski , Team Penske No. 2 Ford Former Kentucky winners in the field Brad Keselowski (2); Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth (1). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
The Rundown: Kentucky
Complete news and notes on all 43 cars in the Quaker State 400 RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down how the full 43-car field fared at Kentucky Speedway. 1. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch led a race-high 163 laps to win his second Cup event of the year and is 87 points outside the top 30. " MORE: How is Busch positioned for the Chase 2. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano paced the field 23 laps late on Saturday night, but couldn't hold on for his first Kentucky victory. " MORE: See the updated Chase Grid and where Logano is on it 3. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . A cut tire, an unexpected pit stop and a subsequent speeding penalty didn't deter Hamlin, who rallied from two laps down to earn his eighth top 10 of the year. " MORE: Kentucky rules package earns rave reviews 4. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . "My Minions didn't like M&Ms," Edwards radioed his team after lining up next to teammate and leader Kyle Busch for the Lap 157 restart. " RELATED: Sign up for RaceView for in-car audio during race. 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth reported early in the race that he had an alternator going down, but restarting the car seemed to fix the issue. " MORE: JGR pulls off rare feat at Kentucky 6. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The outside pole sitter struggled on pit road, notably dropping nine spots after hitting his front-tire carrier during a stop under the fifth caution flag. 7. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon was shut out in his final Kentucky appearance, and despite a fifth straight top-10 result, the track will remain the only one where the four-time Cup champion is winless. " MORE: Gordon's track record 8. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The points leader endured a late-race tight-handling condition to claim his Series-leading 16th top 10 of the year. 9. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . "You're back in this game, homeboy," crew chief Chad Knaus told Johnson, who lined up seventh for the Lap 157 restart after some major early changes to his car dropped him deep in the lineup. " RELATED: Sign up for RaceView for in-car audio during race. 10. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was loose running 10th and crashed into the Turn 4 wall on Lap 99 after asking his team to undo the changes they had made on a previous stop. 11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse just missed his second top 10 of the year after traveling up the track and into the side of Jeb Burton on Lap 143 to bring out the seventh caution. 12. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Despite radio communication issues, Almirola held on to earn his best Kentucky result. 13. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne earned the Lucky Dog on the fourth caution flag and rallied to sixth for the final restart. 14. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray overcame an early lugnut issue and used a little pit strategy to score his second-best Kentucky result. 15. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard brushed the wall on Lap 81 and left debris to bring out the third caution flag. 16. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle's team tried a variety of adjustments on Saturday in an attempt to help the turning of the No. 16 Ford. 17. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Despite a car that was "plowing," Truex held on to maintain fifth in the points standing. 18. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan ran in the top 10 early before his team started chasing the handling of his No. 55 Toyota. 19. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . "This new package is awesome," radioed Bowyer, who earned his best 1.5-mile result of the season. "You have to drive your (rear) off, but it's fun." " RELATED: Sign up for RaceView for in-car audio during race. 20. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman, in his fifth Kentucky outing, stayed out to inherit the lead briefly for the Lap 192 restart. 21. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt, complaining of a lack of brakes, smacked the wall on Lap 136 to bring out the sixth caution flag. After subsequently bumping Danica Patrick , Earnhardt spent time on pit road where his crew tried again to fix the issue. " WATCH: Danica, Dale Jr. tussle on pit road . 22. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish struggled with drive-off, but posted his fastest lap of the night just prior to the eighth caution flag on Lap 152. 23. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was named the Lucky Dog after Jeb Burton tagged the wall on Lap 143 to bring out the seventh caution flag 24. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier had just returned to the lead lap after the Lap 122 caution when he was penalized for passing before the restart. 25. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Handling was an ongoing issue for Dillon, who reported to his team on Lap 220, "I feel like I'm trying to turn a bulldozer down into the corner." 26. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger's team continually tinkered on the No. 47 Chevy, and he finished as the last car on the lead lap. 27. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne was running in the top 10 by the halfway point, but noticeably fell off the pace with 30 laps to go. 28. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Patience paid off for Cassill, who posted his best 1.5-mile result of the 2015 season. 29. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland asked his team to check out his grille because his gauges were running hot on Lap 161. 30. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett lined up 29th in his second Kentucky appearance. 31. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman had to play catch-up after his team was penalized for going over the wall too soon during the competition caution on Lap 32. 32. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt, a Kentucky newcomer, earned the Lucky Dog pass heading into the Lap 192 restart. 33. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart locked down his brakes briefly on Lap 143 and hit the wall while trying to avoid wrecking competitors in front of him. 34. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick spun on Lap 207 thanks to contact from a brake-less Earnhardt to bring out a record-tying 10th caution flag. She retaliated by hitting Earnhardt as the two entered pit road. " ALL ACCESS: Danica frustrated with Dale Jr. 35. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. A smoking left-rear tire prompted the pole sitter to pit unexpectedly with 52 laps to go. Upon returning to the track, he hit the wall to bring out a record-setting 11th caution flag. 36. Reed Sorenson , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson drove the No. 62 for the first time this year in his first 1.5-mile start of the season. 37. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt was running 35th when left-rear tire rub prompted his car to start smoking around Lap 110. 38. Will Kimmel III , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Kimmel lined up 40th in his Sprint Cup debut. 39. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . A loose-handling condition prompted Yeley to spin in Turn 4 on Lap 122 and bring out the fifth caution flag of the night. 40. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kennedy picked up a few spots after lining up 43rd in his first career Kentucky start. 41. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . The rookie was pushed into the wall by Ricky Stenhouse on Lap 143 to bring out the seventh caution flag. 42. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto sustained damage during the Lap 143 wreck and retreated to the garage so his team could make repairs. 43. Josh Wise , No. 98 Ford, Premium Motorsports. Wise brought out the first caution on Lap 19 after J.J. Yeley pushed him into the wall. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Test, Kentucky race may inform Southern 500 rules
O'Donnell: 'Industry really cares and is really working together' NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that findings from Tuesday's Goodyear tire test at Darlington Raceway along with feedback from next weekend at Kentucky Speedway could be combined to come up with "a package that we may want to look at." Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Matt Kenseth , Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart took part in the Darlington test three weeks after Greg Biffle , Clint Bowyer , Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman tested tires for the Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sept. 6, 7 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) and a week ahead of extended practice for the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts (July 11, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). "When we talked about Kentucky , we said we wanted to see how that played out, and there could be other events in the future that we wanted to look at so I'd say the work being done at Darlington is a potential tire that could match a package that we may want to look at," O'Donnell said. "We're by no means anywhere near a decision yet, but we wanted to be prepared coming out of Kentucky to see what if any levers we could pull." Last weekend at Sonoma, NASCAR and Goodyear monitored its new tire and the wear teams saw leading up to the race. Tire management saw side-by-side racing and led to strategy calls that decided the race. It was an example of track-specific packages to lead to better racing. "…it's a balance, and it's going to be race-by-race," O'Donnell said. "Obviously when you look at Kentucky , we want to see a tire with some wear there, but you've got to manage the speeds also. When we go to a track like Michigan or Atlanta, obviously if you get too soft, the speeds go way, way up so it's a balance for us to really match it with the aero and the engine package that you have so it'll be more track-specific as we go forward." O'Donnell noted that it continues to work with its official partner as well as the teams and manufacturers on finding the packages that provide the best racing. "…the softer tire so it is something we're working with the industry on," O'Donnell said. "Goodyear's been a terrific partner in putting that together. We've got all three of the OEMs working with us so we'll see how that goes in Darlington and then obviously how things play out in Kentucky as well." The Darlington test, along with next weekend's race at Kentucky , will help the industry understand the possibilities available for future packages. O'Donnell noted how the entire ecosystem has come together to put on the best show possible. "…we really wanted to get ahead of it, work together and also work on what could happen coming out of Kentucky ," O'Donnell said. "We've got a tentative plan that we're talking to teams about to see which way we can go at some different venues so it's been a lot of great collaboration. "The fans should know ultimately that we've got an industry that really cares and is really working together. Then ultimately we've got to make the right decisions that we think will put on the best racing possible." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
What we learned from Kentucky race, rules package
Analyzing what happened and where things go from here RELATED: France: 'Definitely an improvement' " Drivers praise new rules package at Kentucky Saturday night's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with a new, lower-downforce rules package prompted almost as many questions as it answered at Kentucky Speedway, but in a good way. Based on its early reviews, the opening act could lead to potentially much wider use later this season and beyond. The blight of frequent rain severely curtailed practice time on the 1.5-mile track, making a small sample size even smaller before the rules package's race-time application in the Quaker State 400. Despite the scheduling difficulties, the weekend was capped by the most compelling intermediate-track race of the season. What was learned? What's next? Who benefited the most? Measuring outcomes or making predictions from Saturday night's show isn't an easy task, one that would benefit from the help of a Magic 8-Ball to provide the answers. With that, let's give it a shake: It is decidedly so: Passing increased -- a lot. What the package yielded was the most competitive event in the track's history, based on the number of lead changes and widespread passing -- more than double that in the previous year's Kentucky race -- throughout the pack. Chalk some of the statistics up to a track-record 11 caution periods and the frantic restarts -- with three- and four-wide racing -- that followed, but the rules package deserves the bulk of the credit. You may rely on it: Separation was still prevalent once drivers settled into a green-flag run, but the advantages of undisturbed "clean air" for a leading car was not nearly as pronounced. The decreased downforce prevented cars from being glued to the race track, placing an emphasis on driver control. With that factor at a premium and perfectly consistent lap times not easy to achieve, overtaking came more into play. Ask again later: The next stop for the reduced-downforce package comes Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway, but with what's expected to be a crucial variable -- a softer tire. Goodyear's production run of Kentucky tires was already complete by the time last weekend's rules change was announced, preventing a more exact match. By getting the downforce and tire compounds in sync for Labor Day weekend, the verdict on the rules package may be even more conclusive. MORE: Several tracks to see new rules packages in 2015 Cannot predict now: Are further changes coming? Could the package be used in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs? Possibly. Some crew chiefs expressed that NASCAR could go even further in chopping downforce, but that more will be learned with the softer tire compound at Darlington. As for the Chase, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said last week that, "all options for us are still on the table." A rules change for the playoffs could be considered drastic, but the precedent for making bold moves has already been set midseason at Kentucky . RELATED: NASCAR executive discusses Kentucky rules package Outlook good: Two teams stood out from the rest in benefiting from the new package -- Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske . Their half-dozen cars made a clean sweep of the top six, leading all but five laps Saturday night. Race winner Kyle Busch was the most dominant, setting the pace for 163 of the 267 laps, but the show of strength didn't dampen the quality of the racing, both up front and in the pack. Reply hazy, try again: For whatever reason, Chevrolet teams in general struggled to find the right combination. Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon drove the top-finishing Chevy to seventh place in his last Kentucky start. Don't count on it: NASCAR innovation standing pat? Not in this new era, where the decision-makers in the sanctioning body's R&D center actively seek feedback from drivers, whether in an organized council or otherwise. Their willingness to adapt and change injected life into Saturday night's racing, and the promise of track-specific packages offers even more potential. Signs point to yes: Based on the reaction of most drivers and most fans through social media, Saturday's race may best be remembered as a key building block to an improved on-track product on intermediate-sized tracks. Third-place finisher Denny Hamlin may have stated it best: "This is what race car driving's all about. And I feel like now it's back in the driver and crew chief's hands to get their car handling like it's supposed to, not just an arms race of who builds the fastest cars in the shop." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Tech talk: Lots to be learned at Kentucky
News and notes from around the garage RELATED: New rules for Darlington, 3 more tracks this season NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . said a lot will be learned from this weekend's race at Kentucky Speedway, but the Hendrick Motorsports driver doesn't expect the different aero package to "reveal a lot of obvious answers on the way we need to go." The Kentucky package will feature a shorter spoiler as well as changes to the splitter and splitter extension panel (radiator pan), moves that will lessen the amount of downforce on the cars by approximately 1,000 pounds, and, it is hoped, create an improved product on the track. Earnhardt, speaking Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, said not having a tire to match up with the low downforce package is the issue. Sprint Cup Series teams will compete in the Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). "The tire is a bit better, but not quite enough," he said. "I think that is understood amongst NASCAR, ourselves and Goodyear. The Kentucky weekend won't be a weekend we take a ton of stock in as far as what this package is really going to be able to lend us and if it would work somewhere else." Goodyear officials already had produced the 2,200 tires needed for Kentucky before the decision to use the low downforce package was finalized. The tire that will be used does have more grip but was not used specifically with this package when teams tested there in April. Steve O'Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, told SiriusXM NASCAR that officials believe the change will be effective for the 1.5-mile track. "We're going to look at the measurements we look at every day: were there more passes, who was able to compete, how did the field look throughout the race, obviously fan measurements post-race," he said. Goodyear Prepped for Darlington Goodyear officials returned to Darlington Raceway on June 30 for a one-day tire test featuring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars running a low downforce package related to that which is being used this weekend at Kentucky . Three drivers -- Tony Stewart ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske ) and Matt Kenseth ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) -- took part in the test at the 1.366-mile track. "The goal was to evaluate the low downforce package, similar to what is going to be run at Kentucky , and see if we couldn't match a tire to that package," Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. "When I say match, I mean replace aero grip with mechanical grip. Try to basically do it one for one and we feel like we did that. It was between three quarters of a second and a second slower just with aero downforce reduction and we feel like we gave about three-fourths to a second back. That was our goal, to do it one for one." Tuesday, NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell announced that a low-downforce package would indeed be used at Darlington. However, the changes doesn't mirror those being used this weekend at Kentucky -- the spoiler will be 3-1/2 inches instead of 3-inches and the splitter will have a 1/4-inch leading edge. The tire tested at Darlington features a softer compound as well as a construction change. Stucker said it was similar to the Kentucky right-side tire and the left-side tire used at Indianapolis. "I think the drivers felt like they had plenty of grip," Stucker said. "We got them together about noon and made sure that it seemed like we were moving in the right direction ... we left there feeling pretty good about our part of it. I think wear might be up a little bit with a softer package ... but you would expect that." Infractions Aplenty at Daytona There were a season-high 65 penalties doled out during Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, with the majority (35) for pitting before pit road was open. That infraction isn't unusual when multi-car crashes leave plenty of cars with damaged sheet metal, which definitely was the case at Daytona. The overall total eclipsed the previous high mark of 43 set earlier this year at Martinsville Speedway. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule