The NASCAR Sprint Cup makes its next stop at Bristol Motor Speedway's half-mile coliseum for the IRWIN Tools Night Race. We looked at past performances, season trends, and spoke to team contacts to give the internet's best prediction of how the field should finish.
When: Saturday, August 21; 7:30 p.m./et.
Weather: Isolated thunderstorms with a high around 86; wind out of the SW at 6 mph. Chance of precipitation 30%.
The Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway is a half-mile oval with high-banking the entire way around. The corners are banked 36 degrees with 16 degree banking on the straight-aways. This is a track where very few drivers have been able to dominate. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon have all had decent success at the track, but that status can change with one nudge to the left-rear bumper.
Key to Race: DON'T BRING YOUR BEST CAR
The Bullring in Bristol has been described a flying an airplane in a gymnasium. There will be no cars that escape Saturday's race without at least a little sheet metal damage. The Night Race is one of the most entertaining on the circuit for fans and frustrating for drivers. Expect tempers to flare as the cars bump and bang. The driver that wins the race will be the one with the best set of pit stops and the most luck.
50 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Friday, August 20 at 5:40 pm/et. Cars in the top 35 in owner's points are guaranteed a spot in the race.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has won five races at Bristol during his career and was awesome at the track in March. He is still a strong option.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has had one of the top cars the past four races at Bristol. There is a good chance he can take the checkers again on Saturday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won two of the last three night races at Bristol and has placed in the top 16 the past nine races at the track. He is a great pick.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has led 770 laps in the past nine races at Bristol. He should be strong once again this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson had one of the fastest cars in the past three Bristol races and won at the track earlier this year. He will be tough to beat.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five wins and has led nearly 2,400 laps at Bristol during his career. He should be in the top 10 once again on Saturday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has 11 top 10 finishes in 19 career races at Bristol. RCR has been terrific this year and Harvick is again a driver to consider.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has 13 top 10 finishes in 21 career starts and has led 539 laps during the last 10 races at the track. He is a great option on Saturday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has led 282 laps in the past seven races at Bristol. He should have the No. 11 inside the top 10 when the dust settles.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has nine top 10 finishes in 15 career starts at Bristol. He is a very good fantasy option.
11 to 20
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has been very successful at Bristol in his career. In his last 18 starts at the track he has finished 17th or better in 16 of them. Look for him to finish just outside the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton won the 2008 spring race at Bristol and has been fast at the track lately. He will be fighting for another top 10 finish this weekend.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in four of his last seven starts at the Bristol. He should finish near the top 10 once again.
No. 5 Mark Martin: Martin has averaged a 14th place finish during his 42 career starts at Bristol, but we suspect at this point in his career he would rather skip the track. He isn't a top option.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne was hit-or-miss at Bristol last year. He should just miss the top 15 this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has cracked the top 20 in four of his past six Bristol starts. We like his chances to do it again on Saturday.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has six finishes in the top 10, one in the teens, and four finishes in the 30s during his last 11 races at Bristol. His inconsistency makes him a bit of a risky play.
No. 12 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski ran great in his first Cup start at Bristol. He is worth using in all leagues.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann was impressive at Bristol last year, but had some engine trouble in March. He is a solid choice as a third or fourth driver in any league.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has struggled at Bristol so far in his career. He will be better this trip to the "Bullring".
21 to 30
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished outside the top 20 in seven of the last 11 races at Bristol. We don't recommend using him as much more than a fourth or fifth fantasy driver this weekend.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr has averaged a 23rd place finish at Bristol during his career. The success he had at the track while in the Nationwide Series has been slow to carry over. We like other drivers much better this weekend.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has just two top 30 finishes at Bristol in his career. His lack of success at the track bumps him from our top 20.
No. 98 Paul Menard: Menard has cracked the top 25 in five of the last six Bristol races. He should do it again this weekend.
No. 47 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose wasn't been intimidated by Bristol last year, but he was terrible this March. The Terrific Tasmanian should finish just outside the top 20 this visit to the Volunteer State.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has struggled at Bristol lately. This isn't the weekend to use him.
No. 82 Scott Speed: Speed has averaged a 24th place finish at Bristol so far in his career. He will finish right around his average.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan continues to struggle at Bristol. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 83 Reed Sorenson: Bristol is a track that Sorenson wishes NASCAR would skip. We recommend saving him for another weekend.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged a top 25 finish at Bristol. He won't be nearly that fast on Saturday.
31 to 35
No. 09 Bobby Labonte: Labonte's average finish at Bristol during his career is 19th. He won't match that finish this weekend.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has finished in the top 35 in six of the last eight Bristol races. We expect he will be fast enough to accomplish that again this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. will continue to struggle to crack the top 30 at Bristol.
No. 34 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has cracked the top 35 in every race, but one so far this year. He should keep the streak alive on Sunday.
No. 37 David Gilliland: Gilliland is the best option of the remaining 16 drivers. That isn't saying much.
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 71 Landon Cassill
No. 66 Scott Riggs
No. 55 Michael McDowell
No. 13 Max Papis
No. 36 Casey Mears
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 26 TBD
No. 07 TBD
No. 92 Brian Keselowski
No. 64 Todd Bodine
No. 38 Tony Raines
No. 35 Jeff Green
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 4 Kevin Lepage
1. Kurt Busch
2. Kyle Busch
3. Carl Edwards
4. Tony Stewart
1. Marcos Ambrose
2. Brad Keselowski
Bust of the Week: