Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol

3 Comments

Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s all the important numbers and notes you need to know going into this coming weekend’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway – round 4 of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

BRISTOL-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

Greg Biffle (No. 16 Meguiar’s Ford)
· Six top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.0
· Average Running Position of 12.7, third-best
· Driver Rating of 94.8, fifth-best
· 318 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 764 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.009 mph, fourth-fastest
· 6,393 Laps in the Top 15 (70.9%), third-most
· 483 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), fifth-most

Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
· Five wins, seven top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 92.0, sixth-best
· 338 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 850 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.978 mph, sixth-fastest
· 5,657 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), seventh-most
· 480 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Skittles Toyota)
· Five wins, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 9.9
· Average Running Position of 13.0, fourth-best
· Series-best Driver Rating of 101.8
· Series-high 585 Fastest Laps Run
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.066 mph, third-fastest
· 6,008 Laps in the Top 15 (66.7%), fifth-most
· 456 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)
· One win, seven top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.5
· Average Running Position of 13.6, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 89.3, 10th-best
· Series-high 1,003 Green Flag Passes
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.918 mph, seventh-fastest
· 5,656 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), eighth-most
· 485 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Kelloggs/ Frosted Flakes Ford)
· Two wins, four top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.9
· Average Running Position of 15.1, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 87.7, 12th-best
· 340 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.798 mph, 11th-fastest
· 5,590 Laps in the Top 15 (62.0%), ninth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet)
· Five wins, 16 top fives, 23 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 12.3
· Series-best Average Running Position of 9.5
· Driver Rating of 101.2, third-best
· 409 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.110 mph, second-fastest
· Series-high 7,413 Laps in the Top 15 (82.2%)
· 523 Quality Passes, third-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)
· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.1
· Average Running Position of 14.9, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.3, eighth-best
· 382 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 833 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.874 mph, ninth-fastest
· 4,689 Laps in the Top 15 (58.5%), 12th-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet)
· One win, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.4
· Average Running Position of 13.6, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 89.8, ninth-best
· 285 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 887 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.994 mph, fifth-fastest
· 5,523 Laps in the Top 15 (61.3%), 10th-most
· 406 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)
· One win, seven top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.3
· Average Running Position of 13.2, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.4, seventh-best
· 469 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.793 mph, 12th-fastest
· 6,247 Laps in the Top 15 (69.3%), fourth-most
· 411 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)
· One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.4
· Driver Rating of 87.9, 11th-best
· 399 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 861 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· 4,785 Laps in the Top 15 (53.1%), 11th-most
· 443 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
· Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.5
· Average Running Position of 10.6, second-best
· Driver Rating of 101.8, second-best
· 470 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 115.129 mph
· 7,226 Laps in the Top 15 (80.2%), second-most
· Series-high 563 Quality Passes

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)
· Two wins, three top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 14.4
· Average Running Position of 13.2, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.9, fourth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.916 mph, eighth-fastest

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Top 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 28 0 1 7 14 1 11.5 89.3
2 Brad Keselowski 8 0 2 3 3 0 14.4 94.9
3 Jimmie Johnson 24 1 1 7 13 1 15.3 91.4
4 Joey Logano 10 1 0 1 2 1 19.9 77.4
5 Jeff Gordon 42 5 5 16 23 6 12.3 101.2
6 Carl Edwards 19 2 2 4 7 2 15.9 87.7
7 Matt Kenseth 28 1 3 11 18 4 12.5 101.8
8 Denny Hamlin 16 1 1 4 7 1 16.1 90.3
9 Ryan Newman 24 3 0 1 13 3 17.1 88.6
10 Kyle Busch 18 1 5 8 12 0 9.9 101.8

* – Based on last 18 races at Bristol Motor Speedway (2005 – 2013).

Bristol Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 4 of 36 (03-16-14)
Track Size: 0.533-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4-8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4-8 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 650 feet
Backstretch Length: 650 feet
Race Length: 500 laps / 266.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Bristol
Kyle Busch…………………………. 101.8
Matt Kenseth……………………….. 101.8
Jeff Gordon………………………… 101.2
Brad Keselowski……………………. 94.9
Greg Biffle……………………………. 94.8
Kurt Busch……………………………. 92.0
Jimmie Johnson…………………….. 91.4
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 90.3
Kevin Harvick………………………… 89.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 89.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Bristol

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: Kyle Busch, Toyota, 129.535 mph, 14.813 secs. 03-15-13
2013 race winner: Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 92.206 mph, (2:53:25), 03-17-13
Track qualifying record: Kyle Busch, Toyota, 129.535 mph, 14.813 secs. 03-15-13
Track race record: Charlie Glotzbach, Chevrolet, 101.074 mph, (2:38:12), 07-11-71

Bristol Motor Speedway History
· Groundbreaking for Bristol International Speedway, as Bristol Motor Speedway was originally known, took place in 1960. The track was an exact half-mile in length.

· First NASCAR Sprint Cup race was July 30, 1961; Jack Smith won the event (with relief from Johnny Allen).

· In the fall of 1969, the track was reshaped and re-measured to .533-miles.

· The name changed to Bristol International Raceway in 1978.

· The first night race was held in the fall of 1978.

· The surface was changed from asphalt to concrete in 1992.

· The name changed to Bristol Motor Speedway in May 1996.

· The track was resurfaced between races in 2007, and the turns were ground down in 2012 to eliminate part of the progressive banking.

Bristol Motor Speedway Notebook
· There have been 106 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway since the first race in 1961, two races each season.

· All races have been scheduled for 500 laps, except for both races in 1976 and the second in ‘77, which were 400 laps.

· 423 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol; 295 in more than one.

· NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Bristol with 60. Terry Labonte leads all active drivers with 58 starts.

· Fred Lorenzen won the inaugural Coors Light Pole with a speed of 79.225 mph.

· 47 different drivers have poles at Bristol, led by Mark Martin and Cale Yarborough with nine each. Martin swept both poles at Bristol in 2009.

· The race winner has started from the pole 22 times, the most productive starting position. The last driver to win from the pole was Carl Edwards, in the night race of 2008.

· Four drivers have won from the pole position multiple times: Bobby Allison (1972 twice), Cale Yarborough (1973, 1977 twice, 1980), Darrell Waltrip (1981 twice, 1982) and Rusty Wallace (1991, 1993, 1999, 2000).

· 10 different drivers have posted consecutive poles at Bristol Motor Speedway; Mark Martin is the only of the 10 to win four consecutive poles at Bristol: Fireball Roberts (swept 1962), Fred Lorenzen (swept 1963), Richard Petty (1967-’68), Bobby Allison (swept 1972), Cale Yarborough (swept 1973; swept 1977; swept 1980), Darrell Waltrip (swept 1981), Geoff Bodine (swept 1986), Mark Martin (swept 1995-1996– all four races; and swept 2009); Rusty Wallace (swept 1998) and Jeff Gordon (swept 2002).

· Jeff Gordon leads (active drivers) the series in average starting position at Bristol with a 7.476.

· Youngest Bristol pole winner: Joey Logano (3/21/2010 – 19 years, 9 months, 25 days) – his first series career pole.

· Oldest Bristol pole winner: Harry Gant (8/27/1994 – 54 years, 7 months, 17 days).

· 41 different drivers have won at Bristol, led by Darrell Waltrip (12). Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch each have five wins, the most among active drivers.

· Junior Johnson leads the series in car owner wins at Bristol with 16; Rick Hendrick, Roger Penske and Jack Roush are tied among active car owners for the most wins at Bristol with 10 each.

· 12 drivers have won consecutive races at Bristol led by Darrell Waltrip with seven consecutive victories from 1981-1984. The other 11 are Fred Lorenzen (1963-1964 sweep), David Pearson (1968 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), Cale Yarborough did it twice (1974 sweep and four straight from 1976-1977), Richard Petty (1975 sweep), Dale Earnhardt also did it twice (1985 sweep and 1987 sweep), Alan Kulwicki (1992 sweep), Rusty Wallace (2000 sweep), Kurt Busch (2003 sweep and 2004 spring race), Kyle Busch (2009 sweep), and Brad Keselowski (2011 fall-2012 spring).

· Youngest Bristol winner: Kyle Busch (03/25/2007 – 21 years, 10 months, 23 days).

· Oldest Bristol winner: Dale Earnhardt (08/28/1999 – 48 years, 3 months, 30 days).

· Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Bristol; led by Chevrolet with 43 victories; followed by Ford with 33. Toyota is ranked fifth among Manufacturers with six wins at Bristol.

· 85 of the 106 (80.1%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position; including 53 from the first four spots.

· 35 of the 106 (33.0%) races at Bristol have been won from the front row: Pole position (22 wins); second-place (13 wins).

· Five of the 106 (4.7%) races have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.

· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 38th, by Elliott Sadler; in 2001.

· Richard Petty leads the series in runner-up finishes at Bristol with 10; Kevin Harvick and Terry Labonte lead all active drivers with four each.

· Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty lead the series in top-five finishes at Bristol with 26 each. Terry Labonte leads the series among active drivers with 19 followed by Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin (16).

· Richard Petty has 37 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. Terry Labonte leads the series among active drivers in top-10 finishes with 33; followed by Jeff Gordon with 23.

· Kyle Busch leads the series (active drivers) in average finish at Bristol with a 9.889.

· Seven of the last nine races have ended with a Margin of Victory of less than a second at BMS.

· There has been three green-white-checkered finishes at Bristol – all three were the spring race: 2007 (500/504); 2008 (500/506); 2009 (500/503).

· Two of the 106 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 3/31/1996.

· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway three times; most recently August 25, 2012.

· Kurt Busch posted his first series career win at Bristol (2002), and Joey Logano won his first pole at Bristol (2010).

· All 15 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Bristol Motor Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane – among the active winners Kurt Busch won in the fewest starts (third) at Bristol.

· Jeff Burton competed at Bristol Motor Speedway 28 times before winning (2008 spring race); the longest span of any the 15 active winners. Burton is the only active driver to have made 20 or more attempts before his first win at BMS. Kasey Kahne, who won in the spring of 2012 made 18 previous starts before his win at BMS.

· Bobby Labonte leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol without visiting Victory Lane with 42.

· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol was the 3/25/2007 race won by Kyle Busch with a MOV of 0.064 second.

· Two female drivers have made NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick.

· Four car numbers have produced eight or more Bristol NSCS wins: No. 11, 19 wins (most recent – Denny Hamlin, 2012); No. 2, 12 wins (Brad Keselowski, 2012); No. 17, 8 wins (Matt Kenseth, 2006); and No. 3, 8 wins (Dale Earnhardt Sr., 1999)

NASCAR in Tennessee
· There have been 167 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Tennessee: 106 at Bristol Motor Speedway, 42 at Nashville Speedway, 12 at Smokey Mountain Raceway in Maryville, 2 at Chattanooga International Raceway, and 2 at Tennessee-Carolina Speedway in Newport.

· 104 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Tennessee.

· 14 drivers from Tennessee have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series.

  • Darrell Waltrip (84 Cup, 13 Nationwide)
  • Sterling Marlin (10 Cup, 2 Nationwide)
  • Bobby Hamilton (4 Cup, 1 Nationwide, 10 Truck)
  • Joe Lee Johnson (2 Cup)
  • Trevor Bayne (1 Cup, 2 Nationwide)
  • Paul Lewis (1 Cup)
  • Bobby Hamilton Jr. (5 Nationwide)
  • Jeff Purvis (4 Nationwide)
  • L.D. Ottinger (3 Nationwide)
  • Mike Alexander (2 Nationwide)
  • Casey Atwood (2 Nationwide)
  • Brad Teague (1 Nationwide)
  • Chad Chaffin (2 Truck)
  • John King (1 Truck)

With 200 IndyCar wins in the books, Penske looks for No. 201 at Indy

Leave a comment

The history of Team Penske at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a storied one that features 16 Indy 500 wins, including a pair of four-time winners in Al Unser and Rick Mears, and number of utterly dominant performances.

Yet, they’ll head to this year’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 looking to avenge a pair of relatively subpar performances in each of the last two years.

Power was the only Penske driver to finish in the Top 10 in 2016, with Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud finishing 11th and 19th after fuel strategy intervened late in the race. And last year, all the Penske cars were somewhat down on pace compared to other teams, notably the Honda cars.

Power was the only Penske driver to qualify for the Fast Nine Pole Shootout last year – he qualified ninth. Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves were 18th and 19th in the grid, while Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud were 22nd and 23rd.

And only Castroneves was in winning contention in the final laps as he battled eventual winner Takuma Sato – Montoya was sixth, while Pagenaud was 14th and the only other Penske running at the end. Both Newgarden and Power crashed out on Lap 183.

This year, however, could see a return to the dominant form we’re used to seeing from the Penske outfit. All four cars entered – Pagenaud, Power, Newgarden, and Castroneves – qualified inside the top nine, with Pagenaud and Power on the front row.

They have all been near the front of the time sheets, especially in laps without a tow from another car, and the indication is that the Penske cars may be the fastest ones in the field.

All told, it leads to very high expectations for a team that already expects highly of itself.

Leading the way for Penske is current points leader and defending IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden. Newgarden’s best Indy 500 finish is third in 2016, but he only has one other Top 10 there – ninth in 2015.

But, with an IndyCar title now under his belt, Newgarden has his eyes set on an Indy 500 win.

Josef Newgarden looks to add an Indy 500 crown to his 2017 championship. Photo: IndyCar

“I think Indianapolis…is certainly next on the list for me,” he detailed in a press conference ahead of qualifying. “It’s not next on the list for the team, they’ve won it many times. The good thing is we have four great opportunities, especially having Helio back. I think we have one of the best opportunities in the entire field to win this race.”

Pagenaud, like Newgarden, is also looking for his first Indy triumph, though his record there isn’t quite as good. He has been fast at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but only has two Top 10s to show for it – eighth in 2013 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and tenth in 2015 in his first year with Penske.

And a Pagenaud win would be somewhat historic – it would be only the fourth time a French driver has won the “500,” and the first since 1920 (Gaston Chevrolet).

Pagenaud explained that this race always holds a place as a top priority, and that success at Indy is all about preparation.

Simon Pagenaud looks to become only the first French driver to win an Indy 500 since Gaston Chevrolet in 1920. Photo: IndyCar

“It really is our number one goal. In Roger and Tim’s heart, it’s the most important one,” Pagenaud declared. “We prepare really hard. The team does a fantastic job at just understanding every bit and component of this new aero kit, trying to extract the best out of the equipment.”

Pagenaud added, “On the driver side, there’s a lot you can do obviously to review the past races, try to focus yourself, try to put yourself into the race before it happens, try to just improve. That’s what we try to do every day. That’s the goal. That’s why this group is so good. We push each other so hard that you always try to push the limits away.”

Power, the man who delivered Penske his 200th IndyCar win, is no stranger to success at IMS, having won the Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course three times. But, he is yet to find Victory Lane on the oval, and that leaves a void in an otherwise stellar career.

Will Power has won the INDYCAR Grand Prix three times, and looks for his first win at the “500” this weekend. Photo: IndyCar

Power spotlighted the opportunity in front of him, and detailed that running in traffic has been a strength thus far through practice.

“It’s fantastic to have that opportunity. Obviously very focused on (trying to win),” he revealed. “I feel like we have a really good opportunity to win this year. I mean, I think Chevrolet has brought a really good engine. I feel like we’re really fast. Running in traffic and such, I felt like we’ve been pretty strong, especially when you get to the front.”

Castroneves is the only Penske driver with Indy 500 wins on his resume. But, with three wins to his name, Castroneves is more than familiar with IMS glory.

Now a part-time IndyCar driver who races full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship with the Acura Team Penske outfit, Castroneves’ sole focus is on getting that elusive fourth win.

Helio Castroneves looks to join the four-time winners club at the Indy 500. Photo: IndyCar

And he has momentum on his side too, coming off a debut IMSA win for the Acura Penske outfit at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. A fourth Indy 500 win would put an exclamation point on the month for Castroneves.

“I think about it every day,” he said when asked about how often he ponders getting that fourth win. “It was one of those incredible ones, I have phenomenal car, the Pennzoil car was really strong last year. Obviously coming back here, first of all, I want to thank Roger and (team president Tim Cindric) for giving me the opportunity to be back at the Indy 500. It’s such a special place for so many people. Just to be back and able to continue our goal and pursue for the number four, it’s incredible.”

Pagenaud and Power will flank pole sitter Ed Carpenter on the front, starting second and third respectively. Newgarden starts fourth, while Castroneves will start eighth.

Follow@KyleMLavigne