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The legendary Bristol Motor Speedway hosts round eight of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season. A seven-time winner at the track, championship leader Kyle Busch is a safe bet.
The 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season makes its way to another historical track. Bristol Motor Speedway, TN, hosts the eight round of the championship. With seven wins at half-mile track, championship leader and defending race winner Kyle Busch is the early favorite.
What: Food City 500
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN
When: Sunday, April 7th at 2:00 PM EST
How: Fox Sports 1 (TV) | Performance Racing Network (Web radio)
With four different winners through the first six races, securing victory at Bristol means an almost guaranteed spot in the postseason. Stage points are also important, and the legendary bullring could deliver some unexpected results.
Brad Keselowski scored his second win of the season following a dominant showing at Martinsville. The 2012 champion scored back-to-back victories in 2011 and 2012, but hasn’t won at Bristol since then. Can he carry on the momentum to change that?
Kevin Harvick is currently third in the standings but has yet to win a race this season. The 2015 champion has two wins in 30 races at the track, but his form has improved with seven consecutive top 10 finishes. Bristol might not be the most likely place for Harvick’s first win of the year, but the bullring always has a surprise or two in store.
Do not count Kurt Busch out. The elder Busch brother is second among active drivers with five wins at the bullring. The 2004 champion is also the most recent winner at the track, having secured an unexpected victory last summer.
With seven wins at Bristol, with five of those coming at the spring race, championship leader Kyle Busch is the obvious favorite. Following a strong start to the season, the driver of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing car has yet to finish outside the top 10 through six races. Busch has two race wins and a series-leading four stage victories to his name.
Joey Logano heads a three-way tie for the third most wins at the track among active drivers. The reigning Monster Energy Cup Series champion has two wins at the track, his most recent success being back-to-back wins at the summer race back in 2014 and 2015. Logano has seven top 10 finishes in the last 10 races at Bristol, and although the #22 might not be the most dominant driver at the track, he still figures among the favorites.
Brad Keselowski scored the most dominant win of the season at Martinsville. The driver of the #2 Penske Racing car won both stages and led an impressive 446 laps before surviving a late charge by Chase Elliott. Bristol and Martinsville might have roughly the same length, but the two tracks are completely different beasts. Keselowski, however, could carry that form into another short-track race.
Kurt Busch now sits ahead of his star teammate Kyle Larson in the standings. The Chip Ganassi driver narrowly missed out on his fifth top ten finish of the year at Martinsville, but the elder Busch brother is the highest-placed Chevrolet driver in the championship points table. Bristol is one of his best tracks, and let’s not forget that the driver of the #1 car won the most recent race at the bullring last summer.
Despite facing his longest career slump, Jimmie Johnson could show up as an underdog pick. The seven-time champion is second in points scored at Bristol over the last two years, behind Kyle Larson, and third in stage points, with Larson and Erik Jones ahead of him. Johnson hasn’t made a visit to victory lane since the 2017 AAA 400, but he did win at Bristol earlier that season. This is a good chance for the #48 to snap his longest winless streak.
Kyle Larson and Erik Jones have never won at the half-mile track, but the youngsters are among the top performers in the most recent races. Larson has led an impressive 489 laps over the past two seasons at Bristol – 11 laps shy of the full race distance. The #42 driver also leads all drivers in stage and overall points scored at the bullring, which makes him one of the best underdog picks for the weekend.
Jones followed a strong start to the season with a poor run, but could bounce back at Bristol. He nearly won at the track during his rookie season, scoring the pole-position and leading the most laps before eventually finishing second behind Kyle Busch. Jones has led 260 laps over the last four races at the track and sits second behind Kyle Larson in stage points.
The odds will be updated as they are made available.
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