Driver Handicaps: Bristol

Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson

Brad Keselowski has won two of the last three Bristol races and Jimmie Johnson has finished ninth or better in the last four. (Photo: Getty Images)

Driver Averages |  Loop Data eBook (pdf) Driver Ratings Past Winners

BRISTOL, Tenn. - This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday's Food City 500. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, MotorRacingNetwork.com brings you our weekly analysis to help steer you toward Sunday's 500-lap event.

Who's HOT at Bristol
• Brad Keselowski led 232 laps in this event last year for his second consecutive win.
• Kyle Busch has five wins and has led 1,340 laps in his last 12 starts. 
• Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races, including a win in this event in 2010.
• Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch each are five-time winners (all on the old track surface/configuration). 
• Two-time winner Matt Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in six of his last seven starts.
• Brian Vickers was the only driver to finish in the top five in both races last season.
• Denny Hamlin won last year's summer race - the first with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking.

Keep an Eye On at Bristol 
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12.0), Carl Edwards (13.8), Ryan Newman (14.0) and Greg Biffle (14.1) each rank in the top five in average finish among drivers that have competed in all of the last 10 races at Bristol.
• Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick each have a Bristol win with the Gen-4 car and will be looking for a return to Victory Lane with the new Gen-6.
• Clint Bowyer finished in the top 10 in both races last season at Bristol.
• Bristol is one of only oval track that Marcos Ambrose has recorded more than three top 10s (4) at.
• Jeff Burton has finished in the top 10 in four of the last five Bristol spring races, including a win in 2008.
• Joey Logano, who will make his first track start with Penske Racing, led 139 laps in last year's summer race.
• Kasey Kahne, who is one of three drivers to lead more than 100 laps with the Gen-6, is coming off his third top five in the last five Bristol races.

Bristol Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Jeff Gordon - 5
1. Jeff Gordon - 6.8
Pole - 22 times
2. Ryan Newman - 3
2. Joey Logano - 9.4
Top Five - 59 times
3. Carl Edwards - 2
3. Ryan Newman - 9.5
Top 10 - 82 times
4. Eight drivers with 1 4. Greg Biffle - 12.9
Top 15 - 93 times
5. Kasey Kahne - 13.4
Worst - 38th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Food City 500.

*Best Average Finish at Bristol

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Brian Vickers
4.5
Four Races
Jimmie Johnson
4.5
Six Races
Matt Kenseth
8.7
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson/Kyle Busch
8.1
10 Races
Kyle Busch
8.4

* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Bristol Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2012)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Jeff Gordon - 9.5
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Mark Martin
2. Matt Kenseth - 10.7
3. Greg Biffle
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Greg Biffle - 12.4
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Jimmie Johnson - 12.8
5. Kyle Busch
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Kyle Busch - 12.9 
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 6584
1. Matt Kenseth - 451
1. Kyle Busch - 102.3
2. Matt Kenseth - 6412
2. Jeff Gordon - 427
2. Jeff Gordon - 100.7
3. Greg Biffle - 5848
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 404
3. Matt Kesneth - 99.8
4. Jimmie Johnson - 5681
4. Kurt Busch - 394
4. Brad Keselowski - 97.4
5. Kyle Busch - 5310
5. Kyle Busch - 379
5. Greg Biffle - 96.2

*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 look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Bristol, view the Food City 500 Pre-Race eBook (pdf).

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Jimmie Johnson - 4.2
2. Kasey Kahne
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Matt Kenseth - 8.2
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Carl Edwards
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 9.5
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Brad Keselowski - 10.1
5. Carl Edwards
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Denny Hamlin - 11.1
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 763
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 212
1. Jimmie Johnson - 125.4
2. Matt Kenseth - 718
2. Jimmie Johnson - 168
2. Matt Kenseth - 112.2
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 640
3. Mark Martin - 168
3. Brad Keselowski - 110.5
4. Brad Keselowski - 634
4. Joey Logano - 162
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 105.8
5. Kevin Harvick - 615
5. Greg Biffle - 156
5. Denny Hamlin - 97.4

*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.


MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Brad Keselowski
Tony Rizzuti: Kurt Busch
John Singler: Kevin Harvick

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Bristol unless noted)

Jimmie Johnson: Winner of this event in 2010; Has finished ninth or better in the last four races; This event last year was the only time he did not lead at least 50 laps in the last eight races; Finished second last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; Will return in the same chassis (No. 714) that he last finished 34th with at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski: Winner of the 2011 summer race and 2012 spring race; Led 232 laps in this event last year; Finished 30th last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; Will debut a new chassis (No. 834) in the Food City 500.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Last of 12 top 10s in 26 starts came in this event in 2010; Two of his seven top-five finishes came on the progressive banking; Led 12 laps and finished 12th last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; Will return in the same chassis (No. 745) that he finished 11th with at Dover International Speedway.

Denny Hamlin: Coming off first win in 14 starts; Five of previous top 10s came on the progressive banking; Led 177 laps on the old track surface in the spring of 2007.

Carl Edwards: Finished in the top 10 in both races in 2011; Two-time winner on the progressive banking; Finished 22nd last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 806) that Matt Kenseth finished 14th with last fall at Martinsville Speedway.

Mark Martin: Will not race this weekend; Brian Vickers will drive the No. 55 and will be in the same chassis (No. 722) he drove to top-five finishes at Bristol last season.

Matt Kenseth: Making first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing after winning with the team last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; Two wins and a 12.1 average finish in 26 previous starts with Roush Fenway Racing; Two wins came on old track surface; Finished 25th last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking.

Greg Biffle: Won the pole and finished 13th in this event last year; Six top-10 finishes on the progressive banking; Finished 19th last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; Will return in the same chassis (No. 803) that he finished fifth with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Clint Bowyer: Posted a 5.5 average finish two starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 17.0 average finish in 14 overall starts; Finished seventh last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; Will return in the same chassis (No. 740) that he won with at Charlotte Motor Speedway last October.

Aric Almirola: 27.0 average finish in two starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Only top 10 came in 2008 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: Making first Cup Series track start; Finished in the top 10 in both Nationwide races last season; Will return in the same (chassis No. 791) that Carl Edwards raced to an 11th-place finish last spring at Martinsville Raceway.

Paul Menard: Finished 10th in both races last season; 13.8 average finish in four starts with Richard Childress Racing; Will return in the same chassis (No. 412) he tested at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway.

Jeff Gordon: Finished third last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; 13.9 average finish in the 10 previous races on the progressive banking; Led 206 laps and finished third in the 2011 summer race; Five-time winner on the old track surface.

Kasey Kahne: Led 42 laps and finished ninth third last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded on the progressive banking; 23.0 average finish in two starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Led 305 laps and finished second with Gillett Evernham Motorsports on the first races on the progressive banking in 2007; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 769) that he finished 19th with two weeks ago at Phoenix International Raceway.

Joey Logano: Making first track start with Penske Racing; 22.1 average finish in previous eight starts with Led 139 laps and finished eighth last fall; Will debut a new chassis (No. 836) in the Food City 500.
Marcos Ambrose: Coming off first top five in eight starts; Will return in the same chassis (No. 784) that he last finished 12th with at Kansas Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Four of his five wins came on the progressive banking; Finished sixth last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded; Last time he led more than 150 laps (153) was in this event in 2011; 1,311 laps led on the progressive banking.

Tony Stewart: Has only posted one top 10 (second) in eight starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Will return in the same chassis (No. 722) that he finished in the top five with in both races at Pocono Raceway last season.

Kevin Harvick: Winner of this event in 2005; Finished 15th last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded; Three top-10s on the progressive banking; Finished Will return in the same chassis (No. 391) that he raced to a sixth-place finish in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jeff Burton: Finished 33rd last summer in the first race with the top groove grinded; Winner of the this event in 2008; Four top 10s on the progressive banking; Will debut a new chassis (No. 372) in the Food City 500.

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  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
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  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2005 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2006 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2008 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2010 Brickyard Winner: Jamie McMurray
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Untitled Document Bristol Driver Stats

Driver Total Races Avg Start Avg Finish Driver Rating
Kyle Busch 16 19.3 10.3 102.3
Jeff Gordon 40 6.8 11.9 100.7
Matt Kenseth 26 17.0 12.1 99.8
Brad Keselowski 6 14.8 13.7 97.4
Greg Biffle 20 12.9 12.2 96.2
Jimmie Johnson 22 15.9 14.0 93.8
Kurt Busch 24 19.2 13.8 92.0
Denny Hamlin 14 20.6 14.8 89.8
Kevin Harvick 24 17.8 12.5 89.7
Carl Edwards 17 18.4 14.4 88.2
D. Earnhardt Jr. 26 21.3 11.8 87.9
Tony Stewart 28 15.1 17.6 87.7
Ryan Newman 22 9.5 17.4 86.9
Jeff Burton 38 22.2 17.9 86.2
Kasey Kahne 18 13.4 19.2 83.6
Marcos Ambrose 8 14.4 16.5 82.0
Martin Truex Jr. 14 17.6 18.7 81.8
Clint Bowyer 14 20.1 17.0 81.5
Juan Montoya 12 20.7 17.8 79.0
Jamie McMurray 20 16.9 17.1 75.9
David Reutimann 9 17.7 22.3 75.2
Joey Logano 8 9.4 22.1 73.2
Paul Menard 11 20.0 19.5 69.6
Brian Vickers 16 23.4 22.1 65.9
Bobby Labonte 40 21.7 20.6 64.3
A J Allmendinger 10 22.0 27.0 64.1
Aric Almirola 7 18.7 26.4 60.3
David Ragan 12 26.0 24.3 60.1
Scott Riggs 13 28.2 28.3 55.8
Casey Mears 20 24.0 28.3 54.3
Travis Kvapil 13 30.8 23.8 54.2
David Gilliland 13 24.1 27.9 54.1
J.J. Yeley 7 32.7 29.7 53.9
Dave Blaney 23 20.9 30.3 52.8
David Stremme 10 31.5 26.8 51.3
Scott Speed 5 20.4 29.8 50.5
Mike Bliss 5 32.2 26.6 49.8
Danica Patrick 1 43.0 29.0 46.3
Terry Labonte 57 14.6 13.1 43.6
Landon Cassill 4 34.0 33.0 43.1
Joe Nemechek 33 29.0 30.9 36.2
Michael McDowell 5 35.0 35.8 35.6
Josh Wise 2 34.5 40.5 29.6
R. Stenhouse Jr. 0 - - -
Paythefan
Bristol Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 16 races at Bristol.

Rank Driver Green Flag Passes
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 837
2 Jamie McMurray 819
3 Kevin Harvick 742
4 Jeff Burton 735
5 Kurt Busch 726
6 Denny Hamlin 725
7 Kasey Kahne 716
8 Martin Truex Jr. 686
9 Kyle Busch 639
10 David Ragan 628
11 Ryan Newman 621
12 Clint Bowyer 620
13 Jeff Gordon 615
14 Matt Kenseth 605
15 Bobby Labonte 583
16 Tony Stewart 581
17 Carl Edwards 575
18 Juan Pablo Montoya 563
19 Greg Biffle 547
19 Paul Menard 547
21 Brian Vickers 509
22 Jimmie Johnson 507
23 David Stremme 454
24 Casey Mears 448
25 Marcos Ambrose 444
26 A J Allmendinger 425
27 Travis Kvapil 415
28 David Reutimann 394
29 Dave Blaney 383
30 David Gilliland 380
31 Regan Smith 373
32 Michael Waltrip 350
33 Joey Logano 338
34 Mark Martin 326
35 Brad Keselowski 321
36 J.J. Yeley 258
37 Scott Riggs 252
38 Scott Speed 214
39 Aric Almirola 185
40 Ken Schrader 178
41 Mike Bliss 166
42 Joe Nemechek 139
43 Terry Labonte 105
44 Trevor Bayne 77
45 Landon Cassill 67
46 Michael McDowell 43
47 Danica Patrick 10
48 Josh Wise 6
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