NASCAR heads to one of its biggest races of the year at one of its smallest tracks this Saturday, Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee and the IRWIN Tools Night Race. The series raced here in April with Matt Kenseth winning his first race of the year. After winning two of the last three races including last week at Michigan, Kenseth is a favorite to repeat. However, there are others who always do very well at the .533 track including one who is somewhat of a dark horse but could steal the show this week. Here are the stats for some of the top drivers along with the odds that are current as of Wednesday for your fantasy racing leagues or if you want to place your bets.
Kevin Harvick (6-1) has good odds but hasn’t won a race since March of this year. He has been close and competitive every race however and can’t be ignored. He won here in 2005 and has a record of nine top five and 12 top ten finishes and one pole. He has a driver rating of 92.5, seventh best.
Kyle Busch (6-1) has been one of the hottest drivers on the circuit lately. He did miss the first Bristol race in the spring as he recovered from injuries suffered at Daytona but his record here is stellar. He has five wins at Bristol, sweeping the races here in 2009 and winning back to back in 2010-2011. He is tied with two other active drivers for the most wins and has eight top five, 12 top 10s and one pole along with the third best driver rating of 100.0
Matt Kenseth (6-1) is on a roll and there is no reason that shouldn’t continue Saturday. He won the spring race and has four wins overall here along with 13 top five, 20 top 10 finishes and two poles. He has a driver rating of 104.6 which leads all active drivers.
Brad Keselowski (7-1) is an all or nothing driver. He won back to back here in 2011-2012 but since his last win here in the spring of 2012 has finished outside the top 30 in three of the six races; has had two top five finishes during that time though. His driver rating of 93.3 is fifth best and if he can avoid trouble should finish near or at the front.
Joey Logano (7-1) is the defending winner of this race and has been very competitive recently. In addition to his win, Logano has two top five and three top 10 finishes in 13 races. His driver rating of 80.1 near the bottom of the pile so he is a long shot but someone to watch.
Darks Horses: Jimmie Johnson (10-1) won here in 2010 and has seven top five and 11 top ten finishes. He has been struggling lately and had a driver rating of 92.3, ninth best. Kurt Busch (10-1) is tied with his younger brother for the most wins, five, among active drivers, but his last win here was in 2006; his driver rating is 92.6, sixth best. Jeff Gordon will be competing for the final time at Bristol and is a little more than a sentimental favorite. Gordon has five wins here with the last coming in 2002. His driver rating is 100.3 and he finished third here in the spring. Don’t be surprised if the final laps Saturday night are a fight between Gordon, Kenseth and Kyle Busch. The NASCAR Sprint Cup IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee gets the green flag just at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday with live coverage on the NBC Sports Network starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.