Driver Handicaps: Bristol

Bristol

Kasey Kahne (defending race winner) and Kyle Busch (five-time Bristol winenr) have posted respective average finishes of 1.5 and 6.5 in the two races last season with the Gen-6 car. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com's Jeff Wackerlin breaks down all the stats and information to help steer you toward Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Bristol
• Kyle Busch, who finished second in this event last year, has posted five wins and has led 1,431 laps in his last 16 starts.
• Defending race winner Kasey Kahne has recorded an average finish of 4.0 in his last three starts.
• Matt Kenseth, winner of last year's night race, has led the most laps (234) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.
• Denny Hamlin, winner of the 2012 night race, is the only driver besides Kenseth to lead more than 200 laps (210) in the three races since the top groove of the progressive banking was ground down.
• Brad Keselowski has captured two wins and has combined to lead 294 laps in the last two races in March.
• Brian Vickers and Paul Menard are the only drivers that have finished in the top 10 in each of the last four races.
• Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch are five-time winners (all on the old track surface/configuration).

Who to Keep an Eye On at Bristol
• Joey Logano, who is coming off his first top five at Bristol, has posted a 1.5 average start in the two races since "knockout" qualifying was implemented this season.
• Jimmie Johnson, winner of the 2010 March Bristol race, posted four consecutive top 10s up until last season, when he finished 22nd and 36th.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8.0), Clint Bowyer (9.5), Greg Biffle (10.0) and Marcos Ambrose (13.5) each rank among the top 10 in average finish among drivers that competed in both races with the Gen-6 car at Bristol last season.
• Kevin Harvick has not posted a top 10 at Bristol since 2011 but will look to turn things around with crew chief Rodney Childers, who led Vickers to four consecutive top-eight finishes there.
• Ryan Newman, who posted his 13th top 10 at Bristol in this event last year, will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing driving a car he tested numerous times in the off-season, including twice at Nashville Superspeedway.
• Two-time Bristol winner Carl Edwards led 119 laps last summer before engine issues sidelined him.
• Rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon each have posted two top fives in the Nationwide Series at Bristol.  Both of Larson's finishes came in his only starts and it included a second-place finish.

Tire Notes: Teams will run a new tire combination at Bristol this weekend.  The left-side tire code (D-4564) is the same one that teams ran at New Hampshire last season.

Be sure to check back with MRN.com for practice speeds on Friday and Saturday.

Bristol Qualifying Facts - Note: First at the Track under new "Knockout" Format

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Jeff Gordon - 5
Jeff Gordon - 7.5
Pole - 22 times
Ryan Newman - 3
Joey Logano - 9.1
Top Five - 61 times 
Carl Edwards - 3
Ryan Newman - 10.3
Top 10 - 85 times
Nine drivers with one Kasey Kahne - 12.6
Top 15 - 96 times
  Brad Keselowski - 13.5
Worst - 38th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Food City 500. The last five winners have come from a starting position of eighth or better.

2014 Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (2 Races)
Driver Avg. Start Poles Final Rounds
Brad Keselowski 1.5 1 2
Joey Logano 1.5 1 2
Jimmie Johnson 4.5 0 2
Jamie McMurray 5.0 0 2
Aric Almirola 8.5 0 2
Clint Bowyer  8.5 0 1

*Best Average Finish at Bristol

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kasey Kahne
1.5
Four Races
Brian Vickers
5.2
Six Races
Kyle Busch
11.0
Eight Races
Kyle Busch
9.5
10 Races
Kyle Busch
7.8

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

Bristol Motor Speedway Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 18 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Matt Kenseth
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon - 9.5
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Brad Keselowski
2. Matt Kenseth - 10.6
3. Kyle Busch
3. Kevin Harvick
3. Greg Biffle - 12.7
4. Greg Biffle
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Kyle Busch - 12.9
5. Kevin Harvick
5. Kyle Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson - 13.2
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 7413
1. Matt Kenseth - 563
1. Kyle Busch - 101.8
2. Matt Kenseth - 7226
2. Martin Truex Jr. - 547
2. Matt Kenseth - 101.8
3. Greg Biffle - 6393
3. Jeff Gordon - 523
3. Jeff Gordon - 101.2
4. Jimmie Johnson - 6247 
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 485
4. Brad Keselowski - 94.9
5. Kyle Busch - 6008
5. Greg Biffle - 483
5. Greg Biffle - 94.8

*Must be entered in the Food City 500.
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during 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 Loop Data eBook (pdf)

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Joey Logano
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 5.0
2. Brad Keselowski
2. Brad Keselowski
2. Brad Keselowski - 6.4
3. Ryan Newman
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Jimmie Johnson - 7.6
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Joey Logano - 8.2
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jeff Gordon - 8.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 752
1. Jeff Gordon - 385
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 125.8
2. Jeff Gordon - 728
2. Brad Keselowski - 373
2. Brad Keselowski - 122.5
3. Brad Keselowski - 722
3. Denny Hamlin - 345
3. Joey Logano - 112.7
4. Joey Logano - 711
Joey Logano - 345
4. Jimmie Johnson - 112.6
5. Jimmie Johnson - 707
5. Matt Kenseth - 320
5. Jimmie Johnson - 112.6

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Early In a Run: *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.


MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Kyle Busch
Dustin Long: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Kevin Harvick

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

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off fourth straight top-15 finish; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (8.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 745) that he last finished second with at Dover International Speedway last fall.

Brad Keselowski: Two-time winner; Finished third in this event last year for third top 10 in eight starts; 16.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will pilot a car (chassis No. 839) that was used as a back-up last season.

Jimmie Johnson: Winner of this event in 2010; 22nd-place finish in this race snapped streak of four consecutive top-10s; 29.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 728) that he raced five times last season, including a win at Pocono Raceway in June.

Joey Logano: Coming off second top 10 (fifth place) in 10 starts; Eighth among all drivers in average finish (11.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car (also first two track starts with Penske Racing); Will pilot the same chassis (No. 845) that Brad Keselowski raced (No. 2 car) to a 17th-place finish last September at Richmond International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon: Coming off his 23rd top 10 (seventh) in 42 starts; Last top 10 in the March race came in 2009, fourth place; 20.5 average finish and 66 laps led in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 812) that he scored three top-10s with last season, most recently at Kansas Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Winner of the 2007 and 2008 night races; Last of seven top 10s (ninth) in 19 starts came in the 2011 night race; 28.5 average finish and 119 laps led in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 886) in the Food City 500.

Matt Kenseth: Coming off third win in 28 starts; Led 85 laps last year in this event until a crash took him out of contention; 18.0 average finish and leads all drivers in laps led (234) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Denny Hamlin: Winner of the 2012 night race; Led 117 laps in this event last season, but a flat right-front tire took him out of contention late in the race; 25.5 average finish and second among all drivers in laps led (140) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Ryan Newman: Finished seventh in this event last year for 13th top 10 in 24 starts; 14.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in a new car (chassis No. 438) that was tested twice at Nashville Superspeedway.

Kyle Busch: Last of five wins came in this event in 2011; Started from the pole in this event last year and led 56 laps en route to a runner-up finish; Third among all drivers in average finish (6.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Jamie McMurray: Last of nine top-10s (10th) came in this event last year; 14.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Greg Biffle: Coming off 12th top 10 (ninth) in 22 starts; Seventh among all drivers in average finish (10.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 885) in the Food City 500.

Austin Dillon: Making first track start in the Cup Series; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 430) that he finished 24th with at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this month.

Kevin Harvick: Last of 12 top 10s (sixth) in 26 starts came in this event in 2011; Winner of this event in 2005; 24.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will make first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing in a new car (chassis No. 846).

Kasey Kahne: Defending race winner; Finished second last summer for third consecutive top 10; First among all drivers in average finish (1.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 809) that he raced three times last year, including a third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 17.0 average finish in two starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 888) in the Food City 500.

Casey Mears: 15th-place finish in this event last year is best in seven starts with Germain Racing; 24.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Paul Menard: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Fourth among all drivers in average finish (7.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 403) that he raced numerous times last season.

Marcos Ambrose: Coming off fifth top-10 in 10 starts; 13.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Brian Vickers: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Second among all drivers in average finish (6.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 805) in the Food City 500.

Photos

  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1995 Brickyard Winner: Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 1997 Brickyard Winner: Ricky Rudd
  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 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
  • 2011 Brickyard Winner: Paul Menard
  • 2012 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2013 Brickyard Winner: Ryan Newman
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Untitled Document Bristol Driver Stats

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Kyle Busch 18 19.6 9.9 101.8
Matt Kenseth 28 16.4 12.5 101.8
Jeff Gordon 42 7.5 12.3 101.2
Brad Keselowski 8 13.5 14.4 94.9
Greg Biffle 22 14.1 12.0 94.8
Kurt Busch 26 18.5 14.0 92.0
Jimmie Johnson 24 15.6 15.3 91.4
Denny Hamlin 16 18.3 16.1 90.3
Kevin Harvick 26 17.7 13.4 89.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 28 21.6 11.5 89.3
Kasey Kahne 20 12.6 17.4 87.9
Carl Edwards 19 17.7 15.9 87.7
Ryan Newman 24 10.3 17.1 86.6
Tony Stewart 29 14.9 18.1 84.4
Martin Truex Jr. 16 16.6 19.3 83.1
Clint Bowyer 16 20.5 16.1 83.0
Marcos Ambrose 10 15.1 15.9 79.9
Joey Logano 10 9.1 19.9 77.4
Jamie McMurray 22 16.5 16.9 75.8
Paul Menard 13 18.9 17.7 73.0
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 27.5 17.0 71.6
David Reutimann 11 19.5 24.5 70.4
Brian Vickers 18 21.3 20.3 68.5
A J Allmendinger 11 22.6 25.7 65.1
Aric Almirola 9 17.9 26.3 62.8
David Ragan 14 25.6 23.1 60.0
Casey Mears 22 23.9 27.9 55.0
David Gilliland 15 23.5 27.5 54.7
Travis Kvapil 15 31.8 24.3 54.0
Reed Sorenson 10 22.6 28.2 53.2
Dave Blaney 25 22.0 30.2 52.7
Danica Patrick 3 35.3 27.7 44.6
Landon Cassill 6 35.2 31.3 41.7
Josh Wise 4 34.3 36.0 37.3
Joe Nemechek 35 29.5 31.2 35.4
Michael McDowell 7 33.6 37.4 34.9
Ryan Truex 1 18.0 42.0 29.4
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -
Michael Annett 0 - - -
Alex Bowman 0 - - -
Austin Dillon 0 - - -
Timmy Hill 0 - - -
Parker Kligerman 0 - - -
Kyle Larson 0 - - -
Cole Whitt 0 - - -

*Based off last 18 races

Bristol Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 18 races at Bristol.

Rank Driver Green Flag Passes
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1003
2 Jamie McMurray 981
3 Kevin Harvick 887
4 Jeff Burton 875
5 Kasey Kahne 861
6 Kurt Busch 850
7 Denny Hamlin 833
8 Martin Truex Jr. 831
9 Clint Bowyer 800
10 Kyle Busch 795
11 David Ragan 774
12 Greg Biffle 764
13 Ryan Newman 763
14 Jeff Gordon 736
15 Matt Kenseth 735
16 Paul Menard 724
17 Brian Vickers 671
18 Carl Edwards 637
19 Bobby Labonte 635
20 Jimmie Johnson 624
21 Marcos Ambrose 604
22 Tony Stewart 593
23 Casey Mears 564
24 A J Allmendinger 550
25 Joey Logano 531
26 Brad Keselowski 512
27 Travis Kvapil 506
28 David Gilliland 480
29 Dave Blaney 472
30 Reed Sorenson 399
31 Michael Waltrip 350
32 J.J. Yeley 338
33 Aric Almirola 291
34 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 178
35 Joe Nemechek 148
36 Terry Labonte 124
37 Landon Cassill 113
38 Danica Patrick 88
39 Michael McDowell 83
40 Trevor Bayne 77
41 Josh Wise 60
42 Ryan Truex 3
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