Once again, not a very exciting race this past weekend. The only thing that kept it kind of close were different pit strategies and drivers going off sequence. In the end there was never a challenge for the lead the last 30 laps or so. What did we learn? The Hendrick teams made huge gains on the intermediate tracks with Jimmie Johnson finishing fifth and William Byron in sixth. They have found something and we will see if they can repeat that in the near future.
FOOD CITY 500
The series heads to my favorite track on the circuit this week as the drivers go to the Bristol Motor Speedway for the running of the Food City 500. This short high banked oval tends to give some exciting fast racing as it takes around 15 seconds for the drivers to complete a lap here. Hopefully the racing will still be exciting with the larger spoiler on the cars this year.
Kyle Busch Kyle has won two of the past three races here and leads all active drivers with seven wins at this track in his career. I don’t think it is going to matter to Kyle what size spoiler is on his car. He is going to get the job done once again this week.
Kurt trails his brother in wins at Bristol, but he has six of them himself. He has looked very good so far this year in his first year with Chip Ganassi Racing. He won the fall race last year and has won with three different teams. That tells me he is just plain good here and this week should be no different.
Kyle Larson: Kyle finished second in both of the races at Bristol last season and this is the type of track where he can do some damage at this point of the season. They haven’t shown the speed they need on the intermediate tracks, but he should be good on the short tracks yet. I look for him to be a contender this week.
Kevin has seven straight top ten finishes here including one of his two wins in that stretch. He hasn’t qualified the greatest here in that stretch and it has taken him a while to get into the top ten, but at the end of the day he has been a contender here.
Jimmie has finished in the top ten in seven of his last nine starts at Bristol and the short tracks are where he can make hay until they figure out the aero package on the intermediate tracks which they made big gains on last week. I think they will continue to improve on the intermediate tracks as the season progresses, but if you want to use him this is one of the weeks to do it.
Joey has also had seven top ten finishes in his last nine starts here including both of his wins at this track. Joey has looked very good this season as have all of the Penske drivers. There is just something about this track that Joey likes and that equates to great consistent finishes here.
Clint has five top ten finishes in his last seven starts at this track and is still looking for his first win here. I think this team keeps improving now in his third season at Stewart-Haas Racing. He is a little bit like Harvick in the fact that he doesn’t necessarily qualify well here, but at the end of the day he finds himself in the top ten with a chance to win the race.
Chase Elliott: Chase has been getting better as his career is in its early stages every time he comes to this track. His confidence is high now every week and he finished third here last fall and led over one-hundred laps in that race. I think he is going to be a contender once again this week and like the other Hendrick drivers, if you start him you probably want to start him on a short track right now.
Ryan has been very good here throughout his career where he has finished in the top ten in over half of his starts at Bristol. If this team is going to make any noise this year this is the week to get started. The thing that surprises me about Ryan at Bristol is he has never won here and has never led more than thirty laps in any race here.
Alex Bowman: Alex is my dark horse this week. In his two starts with Hendrick Motorsports at this track he has finished in the top ten both times and he won the second stage here in the fall race last year. I think this is a track where he will come with confidence and speed isn’t as big of a factor as handling and making passes here which he has shown he can do.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Kyle Busch
- Kyle Larson
Driver Group Game Group B
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kurt Busch
- Alex Bowman
- Clint Bowyer
Driver Group Game Group C
- David Ragan
- Matt DiBenedetto
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Kyle Busch
- Kurt Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
Dark Horse: Alex Bowman
Stay Away From: Aric Almirola
Big 18: Kyle Busch