By: Adam Niemeyer (FOX19 Sports)
Cincinnati(FOX19)—Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon and two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart both talked about NASCAR's upcoming visit to the Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday. And both are fired up about the Sprint Cup's first visit to the track.
"Anytime you can go to a first event at a new venue, just the excitement and the atmosphere is unbelievable," said Stewart. "If you've never been to a Cup race and you've got a chance to go now, I highly recommend it because it's going to be an experience you'll enjoy."
Both Gordon and Stewart were born in Indiana, and Stewart still calls the town of Columbus, Ind., his hometown.
"You always want to run well at your home tracks," Stewart said. "Even though Indy has always been my home track in the past, now having Kentucky Speedway there, it's as much home to me as Indy is. We're definitely looking forward to it."
Stewart has won twice at Indianapolis and Gordon is the all-time NASCAR winner at IMS, having captured four Brickyard 400 trophies. While neither Gordon nor Stewart have turned race laps at the track in Sparta, both tested at the track years ago before NASCAR banned testing.
"Obviously, there's a lot of drivers that have run the Nationwide Series there and do know the track and what to look for," Stewart said. "It's kind of fun for a lot of us. None of us have raced there that don't run the Nationwide Series on a regular basis. Even though at some point over the last seven or eight years, we've tested there, none of us have raced there."
Kentucky is known for having distinct bumps in the corners. Both Gordon and Stewart acknowledged the key to winning the inaugural Quaker State 400 dealt with the bumpiness of the track.
"When I went and tested there, we pretty much did race runs and the bumps were significant and rough, where I feel like you have to get over those bumps, especially the way we are getting the splitters down on the ground these days," said Gordon. "But that's not too much different than all of the bigger tracks that we go to. We are always having to deal with some types of bumps."
And no one has dealt with the bumps better than Joey Logano, who has won the past three NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Kentucky. Logano took over for Stewart in the No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing when Stewart left JGR to form his own team in 2009.
How impressed is he that the youngster who now drives his old car has owned the Nationwide Series race at Kentucky in the past few years?
"It's been fun to watch him there. He's obviously found something in that track that he likes and it matches his driving style," said Stewart.
NASCAR's top stars will race Saturday evening at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400 on TNT at 7:30 p.m. before the Quaker State 400 on July 9th. The Quaker State 400 is the last of three events at the Kentucky Speedway next week, including the UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping world Truck Series, which will take place on Thursday night and the Feed the Children 300 which will take place on Friday night.
The track expects a sell-out crowd for the first Sprint Cup Series races, but still has tickets available at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com/
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