Driver Handicaps: Bristol

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This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is back in action at Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday's Food City 500. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 500-lap event.

Who's HOT at Bristol
• Two-time winner Matt Kenseth has the best driver rating over the last eight races.
• Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch lead all drivers with five wins each.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the best average (7.8) finish over the past eight races.
• Tony Stewart has combined to lead 769 laps in the last three spring events.
• Kyle Busch has one win and an average finish of 6.5 in the last six races.
• Carl Edwards has won two of the last three races - both in the night race.
• Kevin Harvick has one win and nine top fives in 16 starts.

Keep an Eye on at Bristol
• Greg Biffle has finished 11th or better in seven of his last eight starts.
• Clint Bowyer has posted four consecutive top 10s at Bristol.
• Jeff Burton is the defending race winner.
• Denny Hamlin posted an average finish of 4.5 at Bristol in 2008.
• Kasey Kahne has led 305 laps in the last three races at Bristol.

Best Average Finish at Bristol
Last # of Races Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races Kevin Harvick
3.0
Four Races Clint Bowyer
5.2
Six Races Kyle Busch
6.5
Eight Races Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7.8
10 Races Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7.4

Bristol Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2008)
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Jeff Gordon - 8.2
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Denny Hamlin
2. Matt Kenseth - 8.5
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Tony Stewart
3. Kevin Harvick - 9.7
4. Greg Biffle
4. Kyle Busch
4. Greg Biffle - 11.0
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Tony Stewart - 11.2
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 3534
1. Greg Biffle - 166
1. Matt Kenseth - 105.5
2. Jeff Gordon - 3454
2. Jeff Gordon - 148
2. Kevin Harvick - 103.7
3. Kevin Harvick - 3243
3. Kevin Harvick - 147
3. Jeff Gordon - 103.2
4. Greg Biffle - 3176
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 146
4. Tony Stewart - 102.3
5. Carl Edwards - 2724
5. Tony Stewart - 143
5. Greg Biffle - 100.7

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a complete look at all the loop data statistics for Bristol Motor Speedway Click Here to view RacingOne's Food City 500 pre-race eBook.

Season Loop Data Leaders
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Carl Edwards
1. Carl Edwards
1. Jeff Gordon - 5.8
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson - 8.5
3. Kurt Busch
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Kurt Busch - 8.5
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Kurt Busch
4. Carl Edwards - 8.6
5. Greg Biffle
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Denny Hamlin - 11.4
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 960
1. Carl Edwards - 289
1. Jeff Gordon - 120.5
2. Carl Edwards - 905
2. Kurt Busch - 261
2. Kurt Busch - 108.2
3. Jimmie Johnson - 894
3. Jimmie Johnson - 220
3. Carl Edwards - 104.3
4. Kurt Busch - 822
4. Jeff Gordon - 215
4. Jimmie Johnson - 104.2
5. Denny Hamlin - 796
4. Denny Hamlin - 215
5. Kyle Busch - 104.0
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


Qualifying Tidbits
Since 2002, only seven drivers have combined to win the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon leads with five poles in that span. Ryan Newman, the current qualifying record holder, won the pole for the spring event in 2003 and 2004. Carl Edwards won the pole last August and went on to win the race. Edwards became the 22nd driver in 96 events at Bristol to accomplish the feat. 82% of all races have been won from a top-10 starting position. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Winners

RacingOne Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Carl Edwards
Pete Pistone: Carl Edwards
Rachael West: Kevin Harvick
Kym Opalenik: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

1. Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career victories, including four-straight spring wins from 1995 - 1998, and a stellar starting average of 5.3 in 32 starts at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has started outside the top-eight only six times and his five poles at Bristol have come in the last 14 races. Gordon has led the most laps in an event seven times and has led an overall total of 2,435 laps at BMS. His last two finishes have resulted in finishes of 11th and fifth.

2. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer is coming off his fourth consecutive top 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway after finishing seventh last August. The string of finishes helped lower his finishing average to 14.7 in six starts. This weekend Bowyer will pilot a new car (chassis No. 231) in the Food City 500.

3. Kurt Busch: In only 16 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch has captured five victories. In the four COT races at the track Busch has posted one top 10 and an average finish of 15.5. For Busch, it seems to be either feast or famine at the short track. He's captured the five wins and an additional four top 10s, but he's also finished 25th or worse in five other starts. Last year, Busch finished 12th and 15th, respectively.

4. Carl Edwards: Edwards is coming off his second victory at Bristol Motor Speedway after leading 84 laps last August. Both of the wins have come in the summer event, and he led a combined 266 laps in the two. Edwards has finished 16th or better in the past six races at Bristol and his best effort in the spring race was a fourth-place run in 2006. Edwards got off to a rough start in his first three starts at BMS, posting an average finish of 27.7. This weekend he will be racing the same chassis (No. RK-596) that won at Bristol last summer.

5. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has been solid at Bristol Motor Speedway in six of his last seven starts posting two wins and an average finish of 10.6. His overall finishing average, of 12.2, in 18 starts took a hit in the 2007 August race when he recorded his third DNF with a 39th-place finish. In 2005, he won his first Bristol race from the pole after dominating the second race, leading 415 of the 500 laps. Kenseth's second win in 2006, again in the night race, marked his ninth of 11 career top 10s at the track.

6. Tony Stewart: In his 20 starts at Bristol Motor Speedway with Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart posted one victory and five top-five finishes. Since his win in the 2001 August race, Stewart has scored four top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place run last summer. He appeared to be on his way to another victory in the last three spring events after leading 245, 257 and 267 laps, respectively. In the first race he lost the handling in the car, in the second the No. 20 broke a fuel pump cable and last year he was involved in a late-race incident with Kevin Harvick. This weekend will mark Stewart's first race at Bristol with Stewart-Haas Racing.

7. Kyle Busch: Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of his last six starts at Bristol Motor Speedway. His only win at the track came in 2007 spring race, which was the first event for the new car. Busch is coming off a dominating performance at Bristol. Last August he led 415 laps en route to a second-place finish to lower his finishing average in eight starts to 12.5.

8. Kevin Harvick: After finishing second on two previous occasions, Harvick finally reached victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway in the 2005 spring event. Last year, Harvick scored his 10th and 11th top 10 to give him an overall average finish of 9.6 in 16 starts. This weekend Harvick will pilot the same chassis (No. 261) that finished seventh at Martinsville and Phoenix last fall.

9. Kasey Kahne: Kahne scored his first top five (second) at Bristol Motor Speedway in the 2007 August race after leading 305 laps. He went on to score his third top 10 at BMS last year in this event with a seventh-place finish. His finishing average of 20.7 is hampered by three DNFs, including one last summer.

10. Greg Biffle: Bristol Motor Speedway is Biffle's best track on the circuit based on his 9.8 average finish. In the past four spring events Biffle has posted an average finish of 6.3. His best finish came in the 2005 summer race when he took the checkered flag in third. This weekend will mark Biffle's 13th Cup Series start at Bristol.

11. Brian Vickers: In nine career starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Vickers has an average finishing position of 25.7. In his three starts at the track with Team Red Bull he has finished 15th, 39th and 20th, respectively.

12. David Reutimann: Reutimann will be making his third start at Bristol this weekend. In his two other starts there in the Cup Series, he has yet to finish better than 20th. Last fall, he qualified second though. In the Nationwide Series at Bristol, Reutimann has finished in the top 10 in four out of five starts, with two consecutive third-place finishes in 2007 and 2008. In three starts at Bristol in the Camping World Truck Series, Reutimann posted one top-10 finish in 2006.

13. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has posted an average finish of 23.4 in his last seven starts at Bristol Motor Speedway. His best finish in that span was a 10th in the 2006 night race. The finish also marked his sixth top 10 in 14 starts. Johnson, who finished 18th in this event last year, will pilot the same car (chassis No. 480) that finished fifth at Dover last September.

14. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin is making his seventh start at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. He is coming off a sixth and third-place finish at the track in 2008. Hamlin has combined to lead 275 laps in the last two spring events. In the 2007, race he led 177 laps before he lost the lead on a late race restart due to a fuel pick-up problem. All he could do was coast to the finish line and settle for a 14th-place finish. Hamlin's finishing average fell to 14.3 after he finished 43rd due to engine problems in the 2007 night race.

15. Jeff Burton: Bristol Motor Speedway is Burton's worst track on the schedule in which he's scored a victory at based on his 18.5 average finish. Burton's win in this event last year was his first at Bristol and it was his fifth top 10 in nine starts with Richard Childress Racing at the track. In the 2006 August event, Burton led a career-high 263 laps at Bristol from the second starting position. This weekend Burton will drive the same chassis (No. 271) that finished third at Las Vegas.

16. Michael Waltrip: Waltrip will be making his 730th Sprint Cup start this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. It will also be his 46th start at BMS where he has posted one top five and eight top 10s. Waltrip's last top 10 came in this event in 2004 when he was driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

17. Elliott Sadler: Sadler captured his first Sprint Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway in March 2001 after starting from the 38th position, the furthest back of any driver at the half-mile track. In this event in 2005, Sadler captured his first pole at Bristol with a lap of 127.733 mph. He went on to finish second in that event for his fourth top 10, and second consecutive top five. Sadler has competed in five races with his current team, Richard Petty Motorsports (Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, and has posted an average finish of 29.2.

18. Jamie McMurray: McMurray has posted one top 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway in his six starts with Roush Fenway Racing. His other three top 10s at the track came with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2003 and 2004. This weekend McMurray will be racing a new car (chassis No. 618) in the Food City 500.

19. Martin Truex Jr: Truex Jr. hasn't had the best success in the Sprint Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway. In six starts, he's suffered one DNF and failed to break into the top 10. He finished 35th last August to raise his overall average to 25.3. This weekend Truex will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 71) that finished 10th at Homestead in 2008.

20. AJ Allmendinger: Bristol Motor Speedway is Allmendinger's worst short track on the schedule based on his 36.3 average finish. His 34th-place finish last August was his best in three starts.

23. Bobby Labonte: Labonte's most successful finish at Bristol Motor Speedway was third in March of 2003. This weekend he will make his first track start with Hall of Fame Racing. His last six starts at Bristol came with Petty Enterprises where he posted an average finish of 19.8. In total, Labonte has three top fives and 10 top 10s in 32 starts at the half-mile track.

24. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Earnhardt Jr. has posted an average finish of 11.5 in his two starts with Hendrick Motorsports at Bristol Motor Speedway. His best run with the team came in this event last season when he finished fifth. In the 2004 August race, Earnhardt Jr. led 295 of 500 laps en route to his only Cup victory at the track. That weekend he also became the first driver to sweep the Nationwide and Cup events at the .533-mile speedway. Since 2002, Junior has scored 10 top 10s and has finished 18th or better and has led 743 laps. This weekend Junior will be driving a new car (chassis No. 526) in the Food City 500.

32. Ryan Newman: Newman currently holds the qualifying record at Bristol Motor Speedway with a fast lap of 128.709 mph. To go along with two BMS poles, Newman collected three-straight top 10s from August 2003 - 2004. He scored his best finish of second in the 2004 August event. After a DNF in the 2005 August race, Newman bounced back with finishes of ninth and eighth, respectively, in 2006. In the past two spring races, Newman has finished 39th and 33rd, respectively. This weekend will mark Newman's first start at BMS with Stewart-Haas Racing.

34. Mark Martin: Martin is a two-time winner at Bristol with a victory from the pole in the fall in 1993 and a victory after leading 190 laps on Aug. 22, 1998. He's driving for a recent winning team this weekend when he makes his debut at the short track in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet. The team won the first race for the COT at the track on March 25, 2007. Martin will also be getting his first taste of the new configuration at Bristol, as he makes his first start there since 2006. In 40 starts, Martin has 15 top fives and 21 top 10s. His average finish is 12.8 with only four DNFs.

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