NASCAR returns to Bristol Motor Speedway, this weekend for the Bristol Night Race. On Saturday night NASCAR’s best will be turning 500 laps at the Last Great Coliseum. As the playoff race is heating up with only two races remaining after Saturday night, will we see a new winner or will the Big Three continue to dominate week in and week out?
Here are the Drivers to watch:
#18 Kyle Busch is a proven winner at Bristol not only in the Cup series but across all three NASCAR series. Busch has won 21 times at the track. Including sweeping all three series races in August 2010. He has won the last two Bristol races and will have a strong chance to get yet another win at Bristol on Saturday night.
#4 Kevin Harvick also knows how to get it done at the Last Great Coliseum. Harvick has two wins at Bristol the last coming in August 2015. Odds are he will be dueling for another win this weekend. With seven wins on the season already Harvick has a great shot to get to 10 plus on the year, even before the playoffs begin, as he is a proven winner on the next two tracks as well at Darlington and Indianapolis, watch the closer could do something big.
#2 Brad Keselowski is a former winner of the Bristol night race, which is one of his two wins at the track. A strong runner-up finish last weekend at MIS has Brad in a good spot as he is still searching for his first win of the season. Bristol is a great opportunity not only for Brad, but also for teammates #12 Ryan Blaney, who has won in both the trucks and Xfinity series at Bristol, and #22 Joey Logano who has back to back Bristol Night race wins. Team Penske could use a boost as the playoffs are fast approaching, and the next two tracks none of the three drivers have ever won before.
#11 Denny Hamlin is yet another former Bristol winner. Can he get his third straight pole position? What about getting his first win of the year? He hasn’t been the competitive driver we have seen in previous season’s, he runs in the top 10, but hasn’t been close to winning at all this season. Can that end on Saturday night?
#9 Chase Elliott the awesome story from two weeks ago, when he won at Watkins Glen, finished in the top 10 at MIS, can he make up for the unfortunate early wreck that knocked him out of contention in April’s Bristol race. He will be a contender, he is one of the better short track racers who hasn’t won on a short track in the Cup series. Another driver who hasn’t won at a short track is #78 Martin Truex Jr. 19 wins, and the smallest track he has won at is Dover. No Bristol or Martinsville wins, he has been close throughout his career, can he finally get over the gremlin, and get a short track win.
#48 Jimmie Johnson is very good, at being under the radar, much like when he won at Bristol in April 2017, it was kind of a shock really after the race was led by Kyle Larson and Martin Truex for a majority of the race. Can Johnson return to victory lane at Bristol? He has never won the night race, now wouldn’t be a bad time to tie Darrell Waltrip on the all-time wins list at 84 wins. One other driver to keep as a dark horse, is the #17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who must win to even make the playoffs, and this is his best opportunity, he has consistently run very well at Bristol, including multiple top 5s. I would have him as my dark horse on Saturday.
After Saturday there is only Darlington and Indianapolis remaining until the playoffs. Here are the standings with three races remaining.
1st #4 Kevin Harvick seven wins 40 playoff points
2nd #18 Kyle Busch six wins 35 playoff points
3rd #78 Martin Truex Jr four wins 27 playoff points
4th #14 Clint Bowyer two wins 10 playoff points
5th #9 Chase Elliott one win eight playoff points
6th #22 Joey Logano one win seven playoff points
7th #20 Erik Jones one win five playoff points
8th #3 Austin Dillon one win five playoff points
9th #41 Kurt Busch +270 points above the cutoff two playoff points
10th #2 Brad Keselowski +229 points above the cutoff four playoff points
11th #12 Ryan Blaney +207 points above the cutoff four playoff points
12th #11 Denny Hamlin +204 points above the cutoff two playoff points
13th #42 Kyle Larson +201 points above the cutoff
14th #10 Aric Almirola +159 points above the cutoff one playoff point
15th #48 Jimmie Johnson +92 points above the cutoff
16th #88 Alex Bowman +62 points above the cutoff
17th #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr -62 points below the cutoff two playoff points
18th #21 Paul Menard -70 points below the cutoff one playoff points
19th #19 Daniel Suarez -82 points below the cutoff
20th #31 Ryan Newman -86 points below the cutoff
The drivers below the cutoff are running out of time. Will, we see any other winners or is the playoff field set, Saturday night is going to be exciting, check out all the action.