As the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season moves on, here’s a look at five storylines from the Kentucky race, none of which include the driver who took the checkered flag, a.k.a. Brad Keselowski…

1.      ROUGH NIGHT FOR STEWART-HAAS RACING

Defending champion Tony Stewart and his teammate, Ryan Newman, finished 32nd and 34th respectively.  It was the worst finish of the season for the No. 14, and the second-worst for Newman’s No. 39.  Stewart dropped four places in the standings.  Newman lost two.

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Tony Stewart races at Quaker State 400 (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

2.      KASEY KAHNE

After three straight finishes outside the top ten, Kasey Kahne desperately needed a strong performance if he wants to make the Chase.  A 2nd place finish at Kentucky will help that cause.  It was his best finish since winning at Charlotte over Memorial Day weekend.

3.      A.J. ALLMENDINGER

In what’s been a rough year for A.J., he recorded his second straight top ten finish with a 9th place showing Saturday night.  It was just the third time that he’s cracked the top ten in 2012; his best finish was second at Martinsville back in April.

4.      OH, THOSE EMPTY SEATS

Sure, just about every track has plenty of empty seats these days. But this is Kentucky, which fought forever to get a Cup race, and sold out its first-ever Cup race last year.  But the headline coming out of that race was the traffic nightmare on race day.  It makes one wonder if that had anything to do with all those empty seats in Turn 4, among other areas.

5.      HEY BRUTON, HOW ‘BOUT THOSE CAUTIONS?

In a year where cautions have been few and far between, Speedway Motorsports president Bruton Smith, who owns Kentucky Speedway and many others, went on another one of his tirades before Saturday’s race.  He said he’d like NASCAR to throw caution flags just to spice up the competition.  He also verbally disagreed with fans who can’t stand the 1.5 mile “cookie-cutters”.  The knock on those tracks is that the racing is boring. Anyone wonder how Smith feels about the whopping four cautions during Saturday night’s extravaganza?

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