The NASCAR Sprint Cup makes its next stop at Bristol Motor Speedway's half-mile coliseum for the Food City 500. We looked at past performances, season trends, and spoke to team contacts to give the internet’s best prediction of how the field should finish.
When: Sunday, March 18; 1:13 p.m./et.
Weather: Isolated T-storms with a high around 72; wind out of the SE at 4 mph. Chance of precipitation 30%.
The Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway is a half-mile oval with high-banking the entire way around. The corners are banked 36 degrees with 16 degree banking on the straight-aways. This is a track where very few drivers have been able to dominate. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon have all had decent success at the track, but that status can change with one nudge to the left-rear bumper.
Key to Race: DON'T BRING YOUR BEST CAR
The Bullring inBristolhas been described a flying an airplane in a gymnasium. There will be no cars that escape Sunday's race without at least a little sheet metal damage. This is one of the most entertaining races on the circuit for fans and most frustrating for drivers. Expect tempers to flare as the cars bump and bang. The driver that wins the race will be the one with the best set of pit stops and the most luck.
46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Friday, March 16 at 3:40pm/et. Cars that finished in the top 35 in the final 2011 owner's points are guaranteed a spot in the race.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has had one of the top cars the past 14 races at Bristol. There is a good chance he can take the checkers again on Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has 16 top 10 finishes in 24 career starts and has led 649 laps during the last 12 races at the track. He is a great option on Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five wins and has led over 2,400 laps at Bristol during his career. He should be in the top 10 once again on Sunday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson had one of the fastest cars in the past six Bristol races and won the 2010 spring race. He will be tough to beat.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won two of the last 10 races at Bristol and has placed in the top 16 the past 12 races at the track. He is a great pick.
6 to 10
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has led 771 laps in the past 12 races at Bristol. He will just miss the top five this visit to beautiful Tennessee.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has 12 top 10 finishes in 22 career races at Bristol. He is once again a driver to consider.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has 11 top 10 finishes in 18 career starts at Bristol. He is a very good fantasy option.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has led 282 laps in the past 10 races at Bristol. He should have the No. 11 inside the top 10 when the dust settles.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski won last year’s night race and has run decent in his last four starts at Bristol. He is a good second driver in fantasy leagues.
11 to 20
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been hit-or-miss at Bristol lately. He should just crack the top 15 this weekend.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has nine finishes in the top 10, one in the teens, and four finishes in the 30s during his last 14 races at Bristol. He is a good bet for a top 15 finish again this trip to the track.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has been decent at Bristol in his career. In his last 20 starts at the track he has finished 17th or better in 19 of them. Look for him to finish just outside the top 10.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: The success Truex Jr. had at Bristol while in the Nationwide Series finally carried over with a top three finish last August. He should flirt with the top 15 again this visit to the track.
No. 51 Kurt Busch: Busch has won five races at Bristol during his career and was awesome at the track in 2010. He is a decent option.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in five of his last 10 starts at Bristol, but that was with a little stronger team. He should just miss the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton won the 2008 spring race at Bristol and has been fast at the track lately. He will be fighting for another top 15 finish this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has averaged a 15th place finish at Bristol during his career. The Terrific Tasmanian is worth using in all leagues this visit to the Volunteer State.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has cracked the top 20 in six of his past nine Bristol starts. We like his chances to do it again on Sunday.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has struggled a little at Bristol so far in his career, but we have a feeling he will be a little better this trip to the Bullring.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has cracked the top 25 in seven of the last nine Bristol races. He should do it again this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished outside the top 20 in eight of the last 14 races at Bristol. We don't recommend using him as much more than a fourth or fifth fantasy driver this weekend.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Bobby is driving well this year and has been fast at Bristol in the past. He isn’t a terrible option.
No. 22 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has just three top 30 finishes at Bristol in his career. His lack of success at the track bumps him from our top 25.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged a top 25 finish at Bristol. He will be just a little slower than his average this weekend.
No. 10 David Reutimann: Reutimann was impressive in three of the last six races at Bristol, but we advise staying away from him right now. He has struggled so far this season in his switch the No.10 car.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola is the definition of a middle-packer. He won’t help you or hurt you.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been very average at Bristol. There are better options to sneak onto your roster.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan continues to struggle at Bristol. He isn’t a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears won’t do enough in the No. 13 car to warrant using in most fantasy leagues.
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 33 Brendan Gaughan
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 49 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 40 Tony Raines
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 37 Timmy Hill
No. 74 Stacy Compton
1. Kyle Busch
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Jimmie Johnson
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Marcos Ambrose
Bust of the Week: