Random Race Recap: Quaker State 400 – Josh Bilicki

Without a doubt, Josh Bilicki tallied a respectable 32nd place finish. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Without a doubt, Josh Bilicki tallied a respectable 32nd place finish. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

This Random Race Recap series will feature a brief recap of a pre-selected NASCAR Cup Series driver, drawn at random, and their race weekend. 

The randomly selected driver for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway was Josh Bilicki. This week, Bilicki piloted the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports. The sponsor of his machine was the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.

Josh Bilicki’s noteworthy sponsor for the Quaker State 400. (Image Credit: Josh Bilicki Twitter.)

Sunday’s race would mark Bilicki’s first trip to Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series. He rolled off P26 by virtue of the random draw based on owner points. 

 

Stage 1: 

With the drop of the green flag, racing in the Bluegrass State quickly stretched out to single file. Early on, Bilicki battled the handling of his car. During the competition caution, he took the wave-around to gain back a lap he lost. 

At the mid-point of the opening stage, he was working hard to remain on the lead lap, but Aric Almirola’s dominance put him down a lap.

Bilicki’s crew chief, Peter Sospenzo, called him to his pit stall prior to the end of the first stage. However, after dealing with a vibration in the closing laps of that stage, he would need to pit again to allow his crew to assess the problem.

 

Stage 2:

As the second stage got rolling, Bilicki started P37, down four laps. He clarified early on the vibration he felt had been resolved.

Sospenzo noted multiple times that Bilicki was running his best lap times in the early laps of stage two. Passing opportunities were at a minimum throughout the race and Bilicki fluctuated in the mid-30s throughout this stage. 

With seven laps to go before the stage break, Matt Kenseth went spinning, bringing out the caution. 

Facing a green-white-checkered stage finish, Bilicki’s team debated pit options and ultimately opted to stay out. Sospenzo told his driver to “hang back” in the event of a wreck.

Bilicki brought his car across the line P34, at the end of the second stage.

 

Stage 3:

As drivers settled into the final stage, Bilicki’s car started to settle in as well. Almost like a broken record,  Sospenzo was saying, “Best lap of the race….” nearly every other lap. 

Lap 209 had Bilicki radioing in, noting he was dealing with yet another vibration. However, Bilicki wasn’t alone in tire issues. Many lead lap drivers were pitting with corded tires and vibrations.

As the old adage goes, “Cautions breed cautions,” and that was just what happened to close out the Quaker State 400.

Multiple yellow flags kept Bilicki in P33, unable to gain much ground.

 

Post-race:

Bilicki avoided calamity in the closing laps and brought his machine home, unscathed, in P32. As he drove his car back to the pits, he thanked his team for their work on the car, saying it was, “A lot of fun!”

His crew chief thanked him for his hard work and said, “P32! Every spot counts!”

 

It’s worth noting, the rules for Random Race Recap indicate that once a driver has been chosen, they are off the list for the next three races. So until we hear about Bilicki’s next race weekend, keep up with him via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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