Is there a track coming up on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule that Joe Gibbs Racing can’t dominate at? There might be, but it’s not this week. NASCAR’s top series visits Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race, and JGR’s four drivers combine to have 13 wins at the 0.533-mile oval in Tennessee. Of course, it’s also helpful to have the last name “Busch” at this track.
Kyle Busch is one of three active drivers with five wins at Bristol, but he hasn’t visited victory lane since the first Bristol race of the 2011 season. Last year was disappointing at Bristol by Busch’s standards, with finishes of 29th and 36th – finishes like that won’t help him stay in the top 30 in points, which should be his main focus now as the Chase for the Sprint Cup is just three races away. Busch has 12 total top 10 finishes in 20 starts at Bristol, with an average finish of 12.2.
Busch’s three JGR teammates have also had success at Bristol: Matt Kenseth has four wins, most recently in April of this year; Carl Edwards has three, most recently in April 2014; and Denny Hamlin’s lone win came in August 2012.
Then there’s Busch’s big brother Kurt, who also has five wins at Bristol. Busch dominated Bristol in the mid-2000s, winning four out of five races from spring 2002 to spring 2004, including three straight; his last win came in spring 2006. Busch has a total of 15 top 10 finishes n 29 starts, with an average finish of 14.5; Busch finished 15th in the spring race.
The third active driver with five wins could use No. 6 this weekend: Jeff Gordon is currently 15th in Chase standings without a win, 55 points ahead of Aric Almirola in 17th. Gordon won his first Bristol race 20 years ago in the spring race, with his most recent win coming in August 2002; he also has five poles. He has 25 top 10 finishes in 45 starts at Bristol, with an average finish of 12.0; he finished third in the spring race.
Kyle Larson has made just three Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol, but his results have been impressive, with three finishes of 12th or better. Larson finished seventh in the spring race this year, and has an average finish of 9.7. Larson also has four Xfinity Series starts at the track, with a couple of runner-up finishes on his resume.
Qualifying for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race from Bristol Motor Speedway begins Friday at 5:45 p.m. ET, with the race going green Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Keep up with the action at www.nascar.com.