Driver Handicaps: Bristol

Bristol

Kyle Busch (4.0) and Kasey Kahne (5.0) have the top two average finishes in the two races since the top groove of the progressive banking was ground down. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MotorRacingNetwork.com's Jeff Wackerlin brings you his weekly detailed analysis to help steer you toward Saturday's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Bristol
• Kyle Busch has five wins and has led 1,431 laps in his last 15 starts.
• Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 10 races, including a win in the 2010 spring race.
• Brad Keselowski has captured two wins and has combined to lead 383 laps in the last four races.
• Defending race winner Denny Hamlin has led the most laps (187) in the two races since the top groove of the progressive banking was ground down.
• Kasey Kahne, who won in the spring, has posted a 5.0 average finish in the last two races.
• Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch each are five-time winners (all on the old track surface/configuration).
• Along with Johnson, Paul Menard is the only other driver to score four top 10s in the last five races.
• Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers have posted respective average finishes of 5.3 and 5.7 in their last three starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Bristol
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (9.0), Martin Truex Jr. (11.5) and Marcos Ambrose (12.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the two races since the top groove of the progressive banking was ground down.
• Mark Martin will make his first start in the No. 14 Chevrolet, replacing the injured Tony Stewart.
• Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray each finished in the top 10 in the spring at Bristol, the first race at the track with the Gen-6 racecar.
• Matt Kesneth led 85 laps in his first Bristol start with Joe Gibbs Racing in the spring.
• Carl Edwards has posted a 10.2 average finish in the last six Bristol August races, including wins in 2007 and 2008.
• Greg Biffle has posted six top 10s on Bristol's progressive banking and a 15.0 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns.
• Joey Logano led 139 laps in this event last year.

Note: Sprint Cup Series teams will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they ran in the last two races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Be sure to check back with MotorRacingNetwork.com for practice speeds on Friday.

Bristol Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Mark Martin - 9
1. Jeff Gordon - 6.9
Pole - 22 times
2. Jeff Gordon - 5
2. Joey Logano - 9.4
Top Five - 60 times
3. Ryan Newman - 3
3. Mark Martin - 10.3
Top 10 - 84 times
4. Carl Edwards -2 4. Ryan Newman - 10.4
Top 15 - 95 times
5. Seven drivers with 1 5. Kasey Kahne - 12.8
Worst - 38th, one time

* - Must be entered in the IRWIN Tools Night Race.

*Best Average Finish at Bristol

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kyle Busch
4.0
Four Races
Brad Keselowski
8.8
Six Races
Kyle Busch
9.3
Eight Races
Kyle Busch
8.2
10 Races
Kyle Busch
6.9

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

Gen-6 Car Performers (23 Races)

Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
1. Matt Kenseth - 4
1. Kyle Busch - 10
1. Jimmie Johnson - 15
Jimmie Johnson - 4
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9
2. Kyle Busch - 14
2. Kyle Busch - 3
3. Clint Bowyer - 8
3. Clint Bowyer - 13
3. Kevin Harvick - 2
4. Three drivers with 7
4. Three drivers with 12
Kasey Kahne - 2
5. Three drivers with 11
Laps Led
Average Finish
Poles
1. Jimmie Johnson - 1139
1. Jimmie Johnson - 10.0
1. Denny Hamlin - 3
2. Kyle Busch - 1066
2. Clint Bowyer - 10.6
Kyle Busch - 3
3. Matt Kenseth - 995
3. Carl Edwards - 11.4
2. Matt Kenseth - 2 
4. Kasey Kahne - 466
4. Kevin Harvick - 12.0
Jimmie Johnson - 2
5. Kurt Busch - 314
5. Brad Keselowski - 14.2
3. 10 drivers with 1

Bristol Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 17 Races)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Kyle Busch
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Jeff Gordon - 9.6
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Mark Martin
2. Matt Kenseth - 10.8
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Greg Biffle - 12.4
4. Greg Biffle
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Jimmie Johnson - 12.5
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Clint Bowyer
5. Brad Keselowski - 12.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 6974
1. Martin Truex Jr. - 494
1. Kyle Busch - 103.0
2. Matt Kenseth - 6801
2. Matt Kenseth - 491
2. Jeff Gordon - 100.6
3. Greg Biffle - 6230
3. Kurt Busch - 478
3. Matt Kenseth - 99.9
4. Jimmie Johnson - 6135
4. Jeff Gordon - 475
4. Brad Keselowski - 99.0
5. Kyle Busch - 5760
5. Greg Biffle - 447
5. Greg Biffle - 95.8

*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 IRWIN Tools Night Race Pre-Race Loop Data eBook (pdf)

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Matt Kenseth
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson - 8.6
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kasey Kahne
2. Matt Kenseth - 8.6
3. Kasey Kahne
3. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Busch - 11.7
4. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Carl Edwards - 12.7
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Kasey Kahne - 12.9
Laps in Top 15--
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 5376
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1175
1. Jimmie Johnson - 111.3
2. Jimmie Johnson - 5223
2. Kurt Busch - 1154
2. Matt Kenseth - 108.2
3. Kevin Harvick - 4908
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 1068
3. Kyle Busch - 102.9
4. Kyle Busch - 4695
4. Matt Kenseth - 1046
4. Kasey Kahne - 100.9
5. Kasey Kahne - 4682
5. Jimmie Johnson - 1042
5. Kurt Busch - 94.5

*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 Writer Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Clint Bowyer
Pete Pistone: Brad Keselowski
Dustin Long: Kyle Busch
John Singler: Jimmie Johnson

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; Snapped streak of four consecutive top 10s in the spring with a 22nd-place finish; The last two spring races are the only time he did not lead at least 50 laps in the last nine races; 12.0 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 797) that he last finished first with at Texas Motor Speedway last fall.

Clint Bowyer: Posted a 5.3 average finish in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 16.2 average finish in 15 overall starts; Tied for the third-best average finish (6.0) in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 773) that he finished eighth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Carl Edwards: Winner of this event in 2007 and 2008; 20.0 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Last of seven top 10s (ninth) came in this event in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 802) that he finished 14th with at Dover International Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Winner of the 2005 spring race; Finished 15th last summer in the first race with the top groove ground down; Three top 10s on the progressive banking; 14.5 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 383) that he last finished eighth with at Dover International Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Four of his five wins came on the progressive banking; Leads all drivers in average finish (4.0) in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Last time he led more than 150 laps (153) was in the 2011 spring race; 1,367 laps led on the progressive banking.

Matt Kenseth: Finished 35th in first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing after being involved in a crash; Two wins and a 12.1 average finish in 26 previous starts with Roush Fenway Racing; Two wins came on old track surface; 30.0 average finish and fourth in laps led (110) in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off 13th top 10 in 27 starts; Two of his seven top-five finishes came on the progressive banking (last in the 2008 spring race); 9.0 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 745) that he last finished 10th with at Dover International Speedway in June.

Brad Keselowski: Winner of the 2011 summer race and 2012 spring race; Has combined to lead 294 laps in the last two spring races; Finished 30th last summer in the first race with the top groove of the progressive banking ground down; Finished third and led 62 laps in the spring; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 849) that he finished fifth with at Dover International Speedway.

Kurt Busch: Finished fourth in the spring in first track start with Furniture Row Racing; Last of four wins in 25 starts came in the 2006 spring race with Penske Racing; 16.0 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns.

Greg Biffle: Won the pole and finished 13th in the 2012 spring race; Six top-10 finishes on the progressive banking; 15.0 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 822) that he finished ninth with at Martinsville Speedway.

Kasey Kahne: Coming off first win in 19 starts; 15.7 average finish in three starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Second in average finish (5.0) and laps led (151) in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; 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 raced at Bristol in March.

Martin Truex Jr.: 10.6 average finish in seven starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 11.5 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Led 44 laps and finished 11th in this event last year.

Joey Logano: Finished 17th in the spring in first track start with Penske Racing; 12.5 average finish and third in laps led (140) in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 842) that he finished seventh with at Dover International Speedway.

Jeff Gordon: 18.5 average finish and fifth in laps led (66) in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Finished 34th in the spring after being involved in an accident; Led 206 laps and finished third in the 2011 summer race; Five-time winner on the old track surface, pre-2007.

Ryan Newman: Coming off sixth top 10 in nine starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; 21.5 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 727) that he last finished 13th with in the All-Star Race.

Jamie McMurray: Coming off ninth top 10 in 21 starts; 13.5 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Sixth-best average finish (13.1) among all drivers that have competed in the last 10 races.

Paul Menard: Coming off fourth top 10 in five starts with Richard Childress Racing; 9.5 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 414) that he last finished 30th with at Kentucky Speedway.

Tony Stewart (Mark Martin): Martin is making first start as the substitute driver for the injured Tony Stewart; Saturday will be Martin's first track start since 2011; Posted two poles and an average finish of 19.3 in last six starts driving for Hendrick Motorsports; Last of two wins with Roush Racing came in this event in 1998; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 722) that Stewart won with at Dover International Speedway in June.

Aric Almirola: 30.3 average finish in three starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Only top 10 came in the 2008 spring race with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 850) that he last finished 20th with at Martinsville Speedway.

Jeff Burton: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Four top 10s on the progressive banking; 32.5 average finish in the two races since the upper groove was ground down in the turns; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 392) that he last finished 11th with at Dover International Speedway.

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Untitled Document Bristol Driver Stats - Last 17 Races

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish Driver Rating
Kyle Busch 17 18.2 9.8 103.0
Jeff Gordon 41 6.9 12.4 100.6
Matt Kenseth 27 16.8 12.9 99.9
Brad Keselowski 7 13.7 12.1 99.0
Greg Biffle 21 13.4 12.1 95.8
Jimmie Johnson 23 15.7 14.3 93.8
Kurt Busch 25 19.2 13.4 92.8
Denny Hamlin 15 19.5 15.3 90.8
Kevin Harvick 25 17.8 12.6 90.3
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 27 21.7 11.6 87.9
Kasey Kahne 19 12.8 18.2 86.8
Ryan Newman 23 10.4 16.9 86.7
Carl Edwards 18 18.5 14.6 86.5
Mark Martin 46 10.3 13.7 86.0
Jeff Burton 39 22.1 18.3 83.5
Clint Bowyer 15 20.3 16.2 82.6
Martin Truex Jr. 15 17.1 18.3 82.4
Marcos Ambrose 9 15.2 16.8 80.0
Juan Pablo Montoya 13 20.4 18.8 77.4
Jamie McMurray 21 16.4 16.8 76.2
Joey Logano 9 9.4 21.6 75.1
David Reutimann 10 18.4 24.0 71.8
R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 28 16.0 71.6
Paul Menard 12 18.8 18.7 71.4
Brian Vickers 17 22.3 21.2 67.0
Bobby Labonte 41 22.1 21.1 63.0
Aric Almirola 8 18.9 27.8 59.9
Ken Schrader 49 18.3 19.2 59.7
David Ragan 13 26.3 24.0 59.4
Casey Mears 21 23.6 27.6 55.4
David Gilliland 14 23.4 27.6 55.0
J.J. Yeley 8 33 29.4 54.2
Travis Kvapil 14 31.3 24.9 54.1
Dave Blaney 24 21.4 30.5 52.9
David Stremme 11 31 26.2 51.7
Scott Speed 6 21.5 31.5 47.5
Tony Raines 10 29.5 29.3 46.5
Mike Bliss 6 32.8 29.3 46.0
Danica Patrick 2 42 28.5 43.9
Landon Cassill 5 35.6 33.0 41.5
Joe Nemechek 34 29.3 30.9 36.1
Josh Wise 3 36.3 35.7 35.2
Michael McDowell 6 34.8 36.8 34.6
Ryan Truex 0 - - -
Paythefan
Bristol Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 17 races at Bristol.

Rank Driver Quality Passes
1 Martin Truex Jr. 494
2 Brad Keselowski 229
3 Matt Kenseth 491
4 Kurt Busch 478
5 Jeff Gordon 475
6 Greg Biffle 447
7 Kyle Busch 440
7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 440
9 Joey Logano 230
10 Marcos Ambrose 223
11 Jamie McMurray 410
12 Ryan Newman 401
13 Clint Bowyer 353
14 Paul Menard 275
15 Denny Hamlin 341
16 Jimmie Johnson 374
17 Jeff Burton 361
18 Kevin Harvick 351
19 Kasey Kahne 345
20 Juan Pablo Montoya 253
21 Mark Martin 185
22 David Reutimann 184
23 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 18
24 Tony Stewart 301
25 Carl Edwards 294
26 A J Allmendinger 163
27 Brian Vickers 158
28 Aric Almirola 79
29 Regan Smith 86
30 Elliott Sadler 90
31 Bobby Labonte 125
32 David Gilliland 97
33 J.J. Yeley 52
34 David Ragan 78
35 Michael Waltrip 57
36 Mike Bliss 33
37 Dave Blaney 71
38 Casey Mears 74
39 Scott Riggs 47
40 Ken Schrader 32
41 David Stremme 36
42 Scott Speed 17
43 Sam Hornish Jr. 16
44 Brendan Gaughan 2
45 Travis Kvapil 24
46 Terry Labonte 6
47 Joe Nemechek 10
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