NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway Distance: 266.5 miles (500 laps)
Sunday, April 17 1 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300
Bristol Motor Speedway
Distance: Two Heat Races – 26.65 miles (50 laps) | Main – 106.6 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, April 16 12:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250
Kansas Speedway Distance: 250.5 miles (167 laps)
Friday, May 6 8:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Kyle Busch trying for a the triple sweep of NASCAR at Bristol Motor Speedway
Kyle Busch has swept the last 2 NASCAR race weekends, this would be quite the feat to sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway. Winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 would be the series 3rd in a row, winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 would be his series 2nd in a row.
Busch achieved the feat last season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series when he placed first at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis. If Kyle Busch wins this weekend, he’ll have won three consecutive races in back-to-back season. The last person to do that: Jeff Gordon, in 1998-99.
The most recent driver to win three straight races was Joey Logano, who swept the Round of the 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega).
Busch has continued his momentum from 2015 when he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Currently first on the Chase Grid, he ranks tied with Jimmie Johnson for most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins (2), and leads all drivers with six top-five finishes. Dating back to last season, Busch has scored a top-five finish in 10 of his last 11 races.
The No. 18 Toyota driver’s recent success extends to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series as well. A week after winning the NCWTS and NSCS races at Martinsville, Busch took the checkered flag in the NXS and NSCS events at Texas to become the second driver to sweep consecutive race weekends (Harry Gant, 1991 at Richmond and Dover).
Bristol marks the perfect opportunity for Busch to notch his third straight win. His five wins at The World’s Fastest Half Mile are his most at any track. He ranks tied with his brother Kurt Busch for the most wins among active drivers at Bristol. Busch also boasts the top average finish (12.0), most laps led (1,704, 16.2%) and second-best driver rating (101.3) among active drivers at the .533-mile track.
In 21 Bristol starts, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has eight top fives and 13 top 10s.
I remember a great race between the Kyle Busch & Kyle Larson, it would be great to see that action again. I myself would like to see Kyle Busch sweep 3 race weekends in a row or Kyle Larson to get his 1st NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.
Catch 22: Logano Looks To Continue Bristol Success
After leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six wins last season, Joey Logano is still looking for his first visit to Victory Lane in 2016.
He’ll get his next shot at a win in a place where he’s taken the checkered flag in two of the last three races – Bristol Motor Speedway.
Logano struggled at Bristol until recently. In his first nine starts at the .533-mile track, the No. 22 Ford driver logged just one top-10 finish. In the six races since, he has claimed three top fives, including his two victories. Last August, Logano dominated the Irwin Tools Night race, leading 176 laps and holding off a charging Kevin Harvick at the end to win the contest.
Despite his recent success at Bristol, the 25-year-old Connecticut native has failed to do well there in the spring. His best spring finish at the eastern Tennessee track was a 16th-place showing in 2012.
On the season, Logano owns three top fives and four top 10s in seven starts, including a third-place finish at Texas last weekend.
Ultimate Warrior Kenseth Drives To Defend Bristol Title
Matt Kenseth navigated the tricky high-banked concrete to win last year’s spring Bristol race (Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up To Cancer) from the Coors Light pole and earned the right to hold up Thunder Valley’s vaunted sword in Victory Lane.
In 32 career starts at Bristol, Kenseth claims four wins, 13 top fives and 20 top 10s. Among active drivers at the Tennessee short track, he ranks first in average running position (10.9) and driver rating (102.5), as well as third in average finish (12.7).
Kenseth is currently 12th in driver points with just one top 10 on the season. He finished 11th at Texas on Saturday.
Bristol Baller: Kurt Busch Hopes To Rediscover Success At World’s Fastest Half Mile
Kurt Busch will attempt to seize sole possession of the active lead in wins at Bristol Motor Speedway from his brother Kyle Busch when he competes for his sixth career victory at The World’s Fastest Half Mile in Sunday’s Food City 500.
Although he has a high win total at the .533-mile track, Busch hasn’t visited Victory Lane there since spring of 2006. From 2002-04, the No. 41 Chevrolet driver won four of five races at Bristol, including his first career contest (3/24/02).
In the 30 starts at Bristol, Busch also owns eight top fives and 15 top 10s. His 13.3 average running position and 92.7 driver rating there rank fifth among active drivers.
A victory by Busch would be the 28th of his career, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Rex White for 25th on the all-time list.
Edwards Attempts To Continue Hot Start At Bristol
Last season, Carl Edwards didn’t log his first top-10 finish until the seventh race of the year.
This season, Edwards already boasts six top-10 showings through seven races.
The No. 19 Toyota driver’s latest strong output came on Saturday at Texas where he finished seventh. Edwards led 124 laps from the pole before rallying from a lap down (due to a loose tire that needed to be fixed).
Edwards will attempt to tally his first win and seventh top 10 in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway – a race he won two years ago. Overall, he has three wins, five top fives, 10 top 10s and an average finish of 14.0 in 23 starts at The Last Great Colosseum.
The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver had the dominant car, leading a race-high 141 laps, but finished sixth due to an inopportune caution.
History might be repeating itself for Truex.
Last season, he led the most laps in race Nos. 11-14, going winless until race No. 14 Pocono.
In the last two seasons, Truex has led the most laps in five races, but only won one of them – a rate of 20 percent. Since 2011, 71 of the drivers who led the most laps in a race also won it – (38.0%, 187 races).
Truex’s sample is obviously small, but is nonetheless lower than the normal rate.
The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver will try to turn his luck around at Bristol Motor Speedway. In 20 starts at the Tennessee short track, Truex has two top-10 finishes – showings of second (August of 2011) and third (March of 2012).
After a bounce- back 2015 season, Truex has continued to run well in 2016. In seven starts this year, he has recorded one top five and three top 10s. He currently sits 11th on the Chase Grid.
Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Update: Elliott Increases Advantage With First Top-Five Finish
Chase Elliott increased his advantage in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year race to 13 points over Ryan Blaney when he finished a career-high fifth at Texas, while Blaney placed 29th.
The two youngsters will battle again in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Bring On the Heat(s): NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash Kicks Off At Bristol Motor Speedway The wait is over.
This weekend’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (12:30 p.m. ET on FS1) will kick off the first installment of this season’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash program.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23).
Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the two Heats, with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (first, third, fifth, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (second, fourth, sixth, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order.
The two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver in the Main among the four Dash 4 Cash-eligible competitors will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. A driver who wins multiple Dash 4 Cash bonuses will earn a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase,
provided he/she remains eligible per the NASCAR rule book. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format.
Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.
Sadler Reeled In Suarez, One Point Separates The Duo
Following five straight races of super hero-like driving, Daniel Suarez finally looked human this past weekend at Texas when he spun off Turn 4 and wiped away his 10-point lead over second-place Elliott Sadler. Now, just one point separates the top two drivers in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings as the series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Fitzgerald Glider Kit 300.
Suarez still holds the points lead after salvaging a 16th-place finish following his spin at Texas.
In six starts in 2016, Suarez has posted one pole, three top fives, five top 10s and an average finish of 6.7.
Suarez should have Bristol circled this season. The .533-mile track could be where he gets his first win. In just two Bristol starts, he finished second last spring (his series track debut) and fifth in the summer race.
Sadler’s consistency has paid again, this time in points.
His 2016 season has been full of solid finishes. In six starts, he has six top 10s and an average finish of 6.8.
The No. 1 Chevrolet driver held the points lead for the first two weeks of the season. This weekend, he will look to regain the lead that Suarez has held since week three.
Sadler has made 18 starts at the famous Tennessee half mile, posting two wins, five top fives and eight top 10s. He placed 10th at Bristol last spring.
Rookies Driving Like Vets
Three Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates, Erik Jones, Brandon Jones and Brennan Poole, have raced their way into the top 10 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship points standings just six races into the season. The average age of these drivers is 20.6.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones, 19, from Byron, Michigan, has been quite impressive this season, posting four top fives and an average finish of 9.3. Jones is ranked fifth in the series championship standings, 15 points back from the standings lead. He also leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 21 points over second place Brandon Jones.
Erik Jones has made two starts at Bristol. He has logged one top five and two top 10s there.
Richard Childress Racing’s Brandon Jones, 19, from Atlanta, Georgia, is fourth in the series championship standings, 14 points back from Daniel Suarez in the standings lead. He has made six starts this season posting four top 10s.
RCR’s Jones made his series track debut at Bristol last season. He finished 13th in the event.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Brennan Poole, 24, from The Woodlands, Texas, sits 10th in the series championship standings, 55 points back from the leader. Poole has posted one top 10 and an average finish of 15.7 in 2016.
Poole also made his series debut at Bristol last season, posting an 11th-place finish in this race. Both Poole and Suarez are searching for their first series career wins and Bristol might be the spot to do it. Six drivers have posted their first win at Bristol in the NXS – the two most recent are Justin Allgaier (2010) and Martin Truex Jr. (2004).
Chase Bubble: Ryan Sieg Bounces Four Spots Into The Chase
When the NASCAR XFINITY Chase bubble bounces, names on the series championship points standings can shuffle. This week’s big benefactor of the close points battle at the cutoff line in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase is Ryan Sieg, who went to Texas in 15th and leapfrogged four spots in the series championship points to 11th, inside the cutoff line.
Below is a look at drivers the drivers on the bubble of being in or out of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase:
11. Ryan Sieg, driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet, posted his first top-10 finish of the season this past weekend at Texas, and in the process, went from outside to inside the NASCAR XFINITY Chase. Sieg will try to carry the momentum to Bristol this weekend, a track he has made four starts with a best finish of 12th.
12. Blake Koch, pilots the No. 11 Chevrolet, and though he slipped one spot in the series championship standings after being caught in a mid-race accident with Jeb Burton, he still retains his NASCAR XFINITY Chase entry status. Koch will look to rebound this weekend at Bristol. He finished 22nd in this event last season.
13. Jeb Burton, driver of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford, was also caught in the same accident as Blake Koch, relegating him to his first DNF of the season and ultimately knocking him to 13th in the points and outside the Chase cutoff line – two points back from 12th-place Blake Koch. Burton turns his attention to Bristol this week where he will be making his series track debut.
14. Dakoda Armstrong, driver of the No. 28 Toyota, sits 14th in the points after finishing 22nd at Texas last weekend. Armstrong has posted an average finish of 20.5 in the first six races of the season. He has made four starts at Bristol posting a best finish of 23rd.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
NASCAR In Tennessee – NASCAR has competed in the state of Tennessee all the way back to the 1950s. The very first NASCAR national series race held in the state of Tennessee was at Tennessee-Carolina Speedway in 1956 – won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts.
NASCAR has held 327 national series races among eight different tracks. The NASCAR XFINITY Series has held 108 races among four Tennessee tracks (Bristol Motor Speedway, 67; Nashville Superspeedway, 21; Memphis Motorsports Park, 11; Nashville Speedway, 9). The first NASCAR XFINITY Series race held in the state of Tennessee was at Bristol in 1982 – won by Phil Parsons.
Tennessee Drivers In NASCAR – One-hundred-five drivers who have made at least one start in a NASCAR national series race have their home state recorded as Tennessee. Of the 105, 35 of them competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Of the 35 Tennessee drivers to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, 10 visited Victory Lane, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with 13 series victories.
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES
Up Next: Kansas Speedway
The high-octane NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has the next three weekends off before returning on Friday, May 6 for the Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET).
Kansas proved to be a dramatic race last season. Erik Jones, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suárez all ran out of fuel while in the lead, and Matt Crafton saved enough in the tank to pass them for the victory.
Crafton is the only full-time NCWTS driver with a win at Kansas. Johnny Sauter (third), Timothy Peters (fourth), Cameron Hayley (fifth) and Daniel Hemric (10th) all finished in the top 10 in last season’s race.
One-Man Band: Nemechek Headlines NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Standings
John Hunter Nemechek lays sole claim to the top spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings. The NASCAR Next member leads second-place Parker Kligerman by three points on the strength of one win and a runner-up in three starts this season.
Timothy Peters ranks third in the NCWTS standings (-6 points behind Nemechek) and is followed by Tyler Young (-16) and Cameron Hayley (-17).
Ryan Truex (-17), Daniel Hemric (-18), Brandon Brown (-21), Spencer Gallagher (-21) and Ben Rhodes (-22) round out the top 10.
Nemechek and Johnny Sauter are the only drivers who have clinched berths in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase as full-time race winners, assuming they both remain eligible per the rule book.
Rhodes is the top Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender in the standings. NASCAR Next members William Byron (12th, -32 points behind Nemechek) and Rico Abreu (14th, -34) are the next best rookies in the standings.
Byron’s Bash: NASCAR Hall Of Fame To Host Richmond Watch Party With No. 9 Toyota Driver
The NASCAR Hall of Fame welcomes fans to watch the Toyota Owners 400 (Richmond) on April 24 at 1 p.m. in its 278-seat High Octane Theater, which features high-back seating, a 64-foot-wide, curved projection screen with surround sound and direct-from-track, in-car video feeds of two drivers.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver William Byron of Kyle Busch Motorsports will be in attendance to meet fans, answer questions and sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. prior to the race.
Admission is free for all Toyota, Lexus and Scion owners, who present their keys at the Toyota table. They will also receive a VIP package, which includes a lanyard, $10 concession card, Toyota Owners 400 koozie and more.
NASCAR Hall of Fame members will also get free admission.
Attendees can buy food, soft drinks, beer and wine at the event.
Byron had a career-best third-place finish in his last NCWTS race at Martinsville. The 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion is a member of the NASCAR Next program.
Canadian Cruiser: Cameron Hayley Off To Strong Sophomore Start
Following an up and down Sunoco Rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Cameron Hayley has shown marked improvement in his sophomore campaign.
The 19-year-old Canadian ranks tied with his ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton for the series lead in driver rating (100.2), and claims one top five and two top 10s this season.
Hayley’s strong start has positioned him fifth in the NCWTS points standings, 17 marks behind John Hunter Nemechek. He finished ninth on Saturday at Martinsville where he led 11 laps.
Last year, Hayley placed sixth in the final NCWTS standings on the strength of four top fives and 13 top 10s.
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR