The fourth race of the Sprint Cup Series season is the Food City 500 at the always-popular Bristol Motor Speedway. Points leader Jimmie Johnson has just one win at the 0.533-mile bullring, but second-place Brad Keselowski has two – they’d both best beware, however, of a certain four-time Cup Series champ and a couple of brothers named Busch, all of whom have five wins at “Thunder Valley.”
Five drivers to watch in the Food City 500:
- Kyle Busch – In the 1980s, Bristol was Darrell Waltrip’s track: “Jaws” had 12 Cup Series wins at the track, including seven in a row from 1981 to 1984. These days, the track belongs to the Busch brothers, and most notably Kyle, who has 12 wins spread across NASCAR’s top three series (five in Cup, four in Nationwide and three in the Camping World Truck Series). In 16 races at Bristol, he has 11 top 10 finishes and an average finish of 10.3.
- Kurt Busch – The older Busch brother also has some bragging rights at Bristol, win five Cup Series wins of his own; he has 13 top 10 finishes at 24 races at the track, with an average finish of 13.8. If he can get a win for Furniture Row Racing, it could be at Bristol.
- Jeff Gordon – Gordon is also part of the five-win club at Bristol, and has five poles as well – his last win, however, came in the fall race in 2002. In 40 races, he has 22 top 10 finishes, with an average finish of 11.9. Last fall, Gordon drove to a third-place finish, but in the spring race, he was a dismal 35th.
- Matt Kenseth – In 26 races at Bristol, Kenseth has two wins and 17 top 10 finishes, plus a pole. His average finish of 12.1 ranks Bristol as the sixth-best track in his career. He also has three wins and 10 top 10 finishes in 17 Nationwide Series races at Bristol – and let’s not forget, the now-41-year-old driver has momentum on his side following his birthday win in Las Vegas.
- Dark horse: Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Junior has three top 10 finishes in three races this season, and a win and 12 top 10 finishes in 26 races at Bristol. He may not win the race, but he’ll remain consistent and keep pace with Johnson and Keselowski.
The Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series visit Bristol Motor Speedway Thursday through Sunday, March 14th through 17th. Stay up-to-date on the latest news at www.nascar.com.
Want to know who to watch in this weekend’s NHRA event? Check out the NHRA Examiner for NHRA previews, news and more.
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