Idriver Handicaps:/I Bristol
March 31, 2005 | 3:53 P.M. EST
1. Jimmie Johnson (Points: 680): In six races at the .533-mile track, Johnson has captured four top-10 finishes. He finished third there last August, his best Bristol finish. Johnson, who has led a total of 28 laps at Bristol, is the only driver to have led at least one lap in every race in 2005. The primary car (chassis No. 48-170) Johnson will drive is the same car that swept Dover in 2002 and has entered four Bristol races.
Quotable: "Bristol is a track where half a tenth makes you a hero and then half a tenth puts you in the way. The only way to really pass there is using the bumper."
2. Greg Biffle (Points: 598): Biffle has four races under his belt at Bristol (12.5 finishing average) with his best finish of fifth coming in his first series start at the track (3/23/2003). Last year Biffle qualified third in this event and led 58 laps en route to a 12th-place finish. He will drive chassis No. 316, which is the same car that finished 11th in the Sharpie 500 last year.
Quotable: "We're taking the same chassis we ran there last year in the second race because we ran well with it and it has good ground clearance."
3. Carl Edwards (Points: 593): Fresh off his first Cup Series victory, Edwards heads to Bristol 87 points out of first-place in the standings. He made his second career Cup start, his first at Bristol, last August and finished 33rd. Edwards has one Truck Series win at the .533-mile track after he came from the back of the field to survive a green-white-checkered finish last August. A brand new car (chassis RK-281) will be painted with the Office Depot colors for Edwards this weekend.
Quotable: "The No. 99 team had a great win at Atlanta but it's time to put that behind us and focus on the upcoming race at Bristol. Everyone has a fresh start this week so we need to go back out there and do everything we can to come away with a good solid run."
4. Kurt Busch (Points: 577): Busch has won the last three spring races at Bristol, beginning with his first career Cup Series win in 2002. Since his first win, Busch has not finished lower than eighth, including one win in the August race. He will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 46) that visited Bristol's Victory Lane last year and both races at BMS in 2003. The No. 97 will carry the "Autographs for Education" paint scheme featuring autographs from students of Kenny C. Guinn Middle School, Busch's alma mater in Las Vegas.
Quotable: "I've been coming here for a long time, but nothing gets you more excited than going to Bristol. As a crew chief, you're plenty busy and you don't have the luxury of a lot of time before you have to make a call sometimes. Everything happens faster here."
5. Mark Martin (Points: 539): Martin is tied with Rusty Wallace for most poles among active drivers at Bristol with seven. His two victories at the half-mile track came from the pole in the second Bristol event in 1993 and 1998. Martin, who has a 12.0 finishing average in 36 starts, has captured 20 top-10's and 15 top-five's at BMS. He will drive the same car (chassis RK-241) that won the June Dover race last season. This weekend Martin will make his 550th consecutive start.
Quotable: "Bristol can be crazy. I've always said it is like flying a jet fighter around the inside of a basketball arena, and try that with 42 other jets doing it at the same time."
6. Ryan Newman (Points: 515): Ryan Newman currently holds the qualifying record at Bristol with a fast lap of 128.709 mph. To go along with two BMS poles, Newman has collected three-straight top-10's in the last three races. He scored his best finish of second last August at Bristol. Team ALLTEL will bring Newman's favorite car, nicknamed "Popeye", to the track this weekend. This chassis (PRS-41) went to Victory Lane four times in 2003. Newman, who has led twice at Bristol for a total of 55 laps, possesses an 18.3 finishing average in six starts.
Quotable: "Success at Bristol is all about patience and keeping a calm, collected head."
7. Tony Stewart (Points: 514): In 12 Bristol starts Stewart has one victory and three top-five finishes. Since his August 2001 victory, Stewart has finished 15th or worse. He has led a total of 583 laps and has an 18.4 finishing average. The Home Depot team will bring chassis No. 68 to the track this weekend. This car has started three Bristol races, including both last year, finishing 24th and 19th respectively.
Quotable: "Bristol is a track that's feast or famine. If you have a really good day, it's a lot of fun. But if you have one little problem, it normally makes for a very long day. Lately, we've had a couple of long days there. Obviously, we're looking to change that."
8. Elliott Sadler (Points: 482): Sadler currently sits eighth in the standings, the exact same position he sat in one year ago after four races. Sadler captured his first Cup Series win at BMS in March 2001 after starting from the 38th position, the furthest back of any driver at the half-mile track. In 13 starts at Bristol, Sadler has a finishing average of 23.5 and three top-10's.
Quotable: "Bristol has such tight racing that you are almost forced into a lot of the on-track battles you don't want to be in."
9. Rusty Wallace (Points: 477): Wallace posted his first career Cup victory at Bristol April 6, 1986. In his 37 races at Bristol since, he has captured eight more wins, giving him the most wins among active drivers at the half-mile track. Wallace, who has a 9.6 finishing average, also leads all active drivers for most laps led at Bristol with 3,577 and has led at least one lap in 27 of 42 races. He will drive a car (chassis PRS-090) that he tested at Bristol a couple weeks ago.
Quotable: "Every time we head back to Bristol, it's like a homecoming for me and with this being our next-to-last visit driving that No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, you just know that the emotions will be running high."
10. Jamie McMurray (Points: 475): McMurray has a solid record at Bristol with three top-10's and one 11th-place finish. His 7.3 average finish ranks No. 1 among all active drivers that have entered four or more Bristol events. McMurray will pilot a car (chassis No. 406) that has finished in the top-10 on three occassions, including eighth last year at Bristol. He will also help drive awareness for the Autism Society of America with a special multi-colored puzzle-piece paint scheme on the No. 42 Dodge.
Quotable: "I'm very excited to be a part of helping out the Autism Society of America and such a worthy cause. We're just trying to do what we can to raise awareness for families with autistic children."
11. Kevin Harvick (Points: 469): Harvick has come close to winning at Bristol on two occasions with two second-place finishes in the August 2001 and 2003 races. His average finish of 9.5 ranks No. 1 among all active drivers that have entered every race since 2001. In eight races Harvick has posted six top-10's and has led 229 laps. He will race a car (chassis No. 120) that tested at Bristol and placed 19th at Martinsville, 10th at Loudon and fourth at Phoenix last season.
12. Jeff Gordon (Points: 464): Bristol might just be the perfect medicine for Gordon after getting caught up in the lap one accident at Atlanta that reglated him to a 39th-place finish. He currently sits outside the top-10 in the standings, for the first time since last year, after the Bristol spring event. Gordon has five career victories, including four straight spring wins from 1995 - 1998, and a stellar starting average of 4.9 in 24 starts at the half-mile speedway. He has started outside the top-eight only three times and his four poles at Bristol have come in the last six races. Gordon has led the most laps seven times and an overall total of 2,330 at BMS.
16. Sterling Marlin (Points: 438): Marlin has 40 career starts at Bristol and has posted three top-five's and 18 top-10's. His best finish of second came on August 24, 1991. Last spring Marlin was able to lead 67 of his 363 career laps led at Bristol after the team used pit strategy on lap 202. He went on to finish fourth and he also finish sixth in the August event. The Coors Team will unload chassis No. 303 this weekend. This car will see its first race of 2005, but was tested at Bristol this month.
20. Jeff Burton (Points: 417): In 22 starts at Bristol, Burton has captured five top-five and eight top-10 finishes and had led a total of 55 laps. He will drive the same car (chassis No. 132) at BMS that finished 15th at Atlanta two weeks ago. Burton will also enter his first Busch race since Chicago 2004, and first at Bristol since 1998, behind the wheel of the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet.
26. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points: 365): Earnhardt Jr. dominated the Bristol race last August, leading 295 of 500 laps en route to his first victory at the track. That weekend he also became the first driver to sweep the Busch and Cup events at the .533-mile speedway. Since 2002 Junior has scored three top-five's and has finished 16th or better. He has a 14.8 career finishing average and has led a total of 707 laps in 10 career starts.
27. Michael Waltrip (Points: 352): Waltrip has eight top-10's and a finishing average of 19.0 in 38 starts at Bristol. His best finish of fifth came on April 10, 1994, when he drove No. 30 Pennzoil Pontiac.
31. Matt Kenseth (Points: 339): Kenseth will be driving the same car (chassis No. 10) this weekend that posted three top-five's and one top-10 in the last four races at Bristol. Kenseth, who has finished in the top-10 in the last six races at BMS, has led a total of 36 laps and holds a 12.9 average finish.
RacingOne Staff Picks:
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Rick Benjamin: Jimmie Johnson
Ron Lemasters: Kurt Busch
Jeff Wackerlin: Kevin Harvick
Wins: Jeff (1-Greg Biffle, California)
Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway
TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: PRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $5,336,617.
Race length: 500 laps, 266.5 miles.