NASCAR National Series News & Notes — Bristol

by Official Release On Wed, Apr. 19, 2017

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Food City 500
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, April 23
The Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 266.5 miles (500 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 125),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 250), Final Stage (Ends on lap 500)

NASCAR XFINITY Series
Next Race: Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 22
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 159.9 miles (300 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 85),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 170), Final Stage (Ends on lap 300)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Toyota Tundra 250
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Friday, May 12
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 8:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.5 miles (167 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on lap 167)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Busch Bros At Bristol
The Busch brothers will battle at Bristol Motor Speedway for sole possession of the active track wins lead in Sunday’s Food City 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX). Kyle and Kurt pace active drivers with five victories each at “The Last Great Colosseum.”

Despite their successes, Kyle hasn’t won at Bristol since spring of 2011 and Kurt hasn’t visited Victory Lane there since spring of 2006. In 23 starts at the .533-mile short track, Kyle claims eight top fives, 13 top 10s and a 14.3 average finish. Kurt has nine top fives and 16 top 10s in 32 Bristol starts.

Kyle has the second-best Bristol driver rating (100.5), while Kurt’s is fifth-best (93.1).

Harvick Hopes For Second Straight Bristol Win
Last August’s Bristol winner Kevin Harvick will go for his second consecutive victory at the Tennessee track Sunday. The No. 4 Ford driver led 128 laps last summer to beat Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to the finish line by 1.933 seconds. Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher rounded out the top five.

In 32 starts at Bristol, Harvick owns two wins, 11 top fives, 15 top 10s and a 15.4 average finish. He boasts the second-best average running position (12.2) and third-best driver rating (95.7) at the .533-mile track.

Harvick ranks first in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 419 laps led (19.6%) this season.

He is currently 10th in the points standings (117 markers behind leader Kyle Larson) and holds three playoff points as a result of his three stage wins.

Logano Looks To Continue Bristol Success
Joey Logano will attempt to continue his recent Bristol success. He has logged four top-10 finishes, including two wins, in his last five starts at the Tennessee short track.

Although he’s done well at Bristol lately, his only career top-10 finish in the spring race there was his 10th-place showing last year.

The 26-year-old Connecticut native has quietly wheeled his No. 22 Ford to a hot start this season. He has finished sixth or better in every race except for Phoenix, where he crashed after leading 82 laps and winning the first stage.

Logano is coming off a season-best third-place showing at Texas. He sits fifth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings – 72 points behind leader Kyle Larson.

Kenseth Can Build Momentum At Bristol
Although, Matt Kenseth has three top-10 finishes, he’s dug himself into a hole to start the season with three finishes of 36 or worse. He currently sits 22nd in the points standings, 189 markers behind first-place Kyle Larson.

Sunday’s Food City 500 could be a panacea for Kenseth. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has four wins, 13 top fives, 20 top 10s and a 14.2 average finish at Bristol.

Kenseth boasts the best average running position (11.4) and driver rating (100.9) at The Last Great Colosseum. He won the Bristol spring race in 2015.

Larson Heads To Bristol As Series Points Leader
Kyle Larson continued his breakout season at Texas with his fourth runner-up showing. The result marked his fifth top-two finish in the last six races.

Only four other drivers have logged as many top-two finishes as Larson’s five through the first seven races of a season: Kevin Harvick (6 top fives; 2015), Dale Earnhardt (5; 1987), Bobby Allison (5; 1972, 1979), Cale Yarborough (5, 1974).

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver has the top average finish (5.4) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but more importantly, he leads the points standings by 17 markers over second-place Chase Elliott. Martin Truex Jr. (-40) sits third, followed by Brad Keselowski (-41) and Joey Logano (-72). Ryan Blaney (-91), Kyle Busch (-104), Jamie McMurray (-106), Clint Bowyer (-111) and Kevin Harvick (-117) round out the top 10.

Larson will attempt to extend his points lead at Bristol, a track where he’s logged only two top 10s in six starts and has an average finish of 21.5.

Remember, the regular season points leader earns 15 playoff points.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Food City Celebrates 25th Year With Bristol Motor Speedway
Food City celebrates its 25th year of partnership for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The company claims the second longest race entitlement sponsorship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and is Bristol Motor Speedway’s longest serving partner.

Bayne Returns To Home State
Knoxville, Tennessee native Trevor Bayne returns to his home state to race in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In five starts at Bristol, Bayne has an average finish of 18.8 and a high showing of fifth.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

XFINITY Dash 4 Cash Returns With $1 Million Still On The Line
Returning this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway for its second installment of the 2017 season is the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash program. Justin Allgaier took home the first Dash 4 Cash win and the gigantic payload ($100K) earlier this season at Phoenix International Raceway. If Allgaier can win the Dash 4 Cash at the next three scheduled events (Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Dover International Speedway) he will not only bring home a total of $400,000 in winnings, but XFINITY will also tack on an additional $600,000 to bring Allgaier’s Dash 4 Cash win total to a cool million dollars.

But, before Allgaier becomes a millionaire, he will need to win the Dash 4 Cash at Bristol this weekend. The Riverton, Illinois native has made 12 starts at Bristol, posting his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series win (2010), five top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 12.7. In his last four starts at Bristol, he has finished in the top-10; including a runner-up finish last fall. Justin Allgaier has won the last two consecutive Dash 4 Cash events dating back to 2016 – Indianapolis last season and Phoenix a few weeks back.

The XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program began in 2009. This weekend will mark the third time Bristol Motor Speedway has hosted the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash program. Daniel Suárez won the first Dash 4 Cash check at Bristol in 2015 and Erik Jones won it in 2016.

Quick Reminder of The Dash 4 Cash Race Formats
· Coors Light Pole Qualifying will determine the starting positions for the race.
· The field will then begin the race with Stage 1, followed by Stage 2 and the Final Stage.
· Based on the participation guidelines announced last year, drivers with more than five years of full-time experience are restricted from the four races in the Dash 4 Cash program.

Dash 4 Cash Eligibility
The top two finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers who have declared for series points in each of the two stages will make up the four-driver Dash 4 Cash field for the Final Stage. Once Stage 1 is complete, the two drivers who lock into the main field won’t have their position counted against other Dash 4 Cash-eligible drivers following Stage 2 to ensure a four-driver field.
The field will then begin the race with Stage 1, followed by Stage 2 and the Final Stage. At Bristol Motor Speedway: Stage 1 (Ends on lap 85), Stage 2 (Ends on lap 170), Final Stage (Ends on lap 300)
The highest finisher in the final stage among the four Dash 4 Cash drivers wins the Dash 4 Cash and a $100,000 prize.
Plus, don’t forget if a driver earns two Dash 4 Cash bonus wins over the four Dash 4 Cash races, that qualifies them for the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs.

Six Different Winners Through First Six XFINITY Races
For the 11th time in NASCAR XFINITY Series history (since 1982) the first six races of the season have seen six different winners. Ryan Reed (Daytona), Kyle Busch (Atlanta), Joey Logano (Las Vegas), Justin Allgaier (Phoenix), Kyle Larson (Auto Club) and Erik Jones (Texas) are this season’s six different winners.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series record for largest number of different winners in a single season is 18 – set back in 1988. Last season the NASCAR XFINITY Series had 14 different winners.

A total of 44 different drivers have won in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Bristol, and of the six different winners that have an opportunity to become the first repeat winner of 2017, four of them have wins at Bristol. Just three are entered this weekend – Joey Logano has two BMS victories, Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier each have one.

Even At This Point In The Season Stage Points Are Making The Difference

Not only has the addition of Stage racing added great action on the track, but it also creates a new dynamic in the strategy to accumulate points. Teams that have embraced the new format are starting to see the dividends of their hard work.

Not surprising to see, the NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader, Elliott Sadler, is also the driver with the most Stage points at 62 through the first seven races – 26 from Stage 1 and 36 from Stage 2. Sadler’s 62 Stage points account for 27.5% of his overall driver standings total of 225 points.

Close behind Sadler in Stage point accumulation is his JR Motorsports teammate William Byron, who has the second-most Stage 1 and 2 points at 43 – 25 from Stage 1 and 18 from Stage 2. Byron is currently second in the NASCAR XFINITY Series points just six markers back from Sadler in the standings lead. Byron’s Stage 1 and 2 points make up 19.6% of his overall driver standings total of 219 points.

So why are Stage points so important this season? Consider this: If Stage 1 and Stage 2 points were not in play this season (and points were just awarded for where a driver finishes) Elliott Sadler would not be the current points leader. William Byron would hold that distinction instead (see below chart).
Tracks
Sadler’s Finishes
Sadler’s Final Stage Points
Byron’s Finishes
Byron’s Final Stage Points
Daytona
24
13
9
28
Atlanta
5
32
7
30
Las Vegas
8
29
14
23
Phoenix
5
32
4
33
California
7
30
5
32
Texas
10
27
7
30
Avg. Finishes & Total Pts
9.8
163
7.7
176
Byron has posted a better average finish (7.7) than Sadler (9.8) and in doing so has accumulated 13 more Final Stage points than Sadler. Sadler’s 19-point advantage over Byron in Stage 1 and Stage 2 point accumulation is the difference in him leading and not leading the standings following Texas. Keep in mind, finishing the regular season as the points leader guarantees the competitor 15 playoff points, which will be an advantage to advance them through the playoff rounds.
Stage points are here and as important as ever.

Five Different Winners In Last Five Races At Bristol
Bristol Motor Speedway has a current streak of five different NASCAR XFINITY Series winners dating back to the fall of 2014; boding the question, will we see a sixth?

While it could happen, it may be tough. Four of the five previous winners in the current streak are entered this weekend – Austin Dillon (2016 Fall winner), Erik Jones (2016 Spring), Joey Logano (2015 Spring) and Ryan Blaney (2014 Fall). The series leader in wins at Bristol, Kyle Busch (eight wins), is the only one not entered.

Bristol has hosted six NXS first-time winners: Justin Allgaier (2010), Martin Truex Jr. (2004), Jeff Fuller (1996), Bobby Labonte (1991), Rick Wilson (1989) and Phil Parsons (1982).

Darrell Wallace Jr. Can Tie Jack Ingram’s Series Record This Weekend
Darrell Wallace Jr. and crew chief Seth Barbour are also on a hot streak, finishing sixth in the last five consecutive races. If Wallace finishes sixth next weekend at Bristol, he will tie Jack Ingram for the series record lead in consecutive single finishing positions inside the top-10. Ingram finished second a series record six times in 1983.

Ingram’s record of six consecutive second-place finishes in 1983 started on June 25, 1983 at South Boston, and carried on to Rougemont (7/2/83), Caraway (7/6/83), Rougemont (7/9/83), South Boston (7/23/83) and Hickory (7/30/83). If Wallace does match Ingram’s feat, he will have done it on six different tracks.

Wallace’s recent success has given him the third-best average finishing positon (10.5) through the first six races this season.

Wallace has made four series starts at BMS, posting an average finish of 14.0; including a seventh-place finish last fall.

“I love racing at Bristol and in Tennessee,” said Wallace. “Growing up a huge Vols fan it’s really cool to be racing in Vol Country. This place is a ton of fun to race on and hopefully we can keep our streak going and get a couple spots better than sixth with our Leidos Mustang. I’m definitely looking forward to getting there this weekend.”

NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
Additional Milestones & Current Streaks – Elliott Sadler, for the fifth-time in his career, is looking to extend his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to six straight this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Sadler posted a career-record 16 consecutive top-10 finishes last season, tying Brad Keselowski for the fourth-most all-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. … William Byron is the only driver left in the 2017 season to complete every single lap (1,037 laps completed; 100%) of his scheduled laps this season.

Koch & Rice To Give Command For Speedway Children’s Charities 5k – Friday evening, April 21st, Kaulig Racing’s driver Blake Koch and crew chief Chris Rice will give the command to start the Speedway Children’s Charities Spring Race 5K presented by Agero at Bristol Motor Speedway before participating in the event themselves.

“Speedway Children’s Charities, Agero and BMS have done a great job organizing this event and I’m honored to be a grand marshal, but also look forward to participating in the event with my family,” said Koch. “Fitness is such a huge part of what I do in the race car and it’s awesome to be able to share that with NASCAR fans and raise money to help some great kids along the way.”

Koch participate in a meet-n-greet with fans at 7:15 p.m. ET before joining Chris Rice and “Ducky” Keller to give the command for the 7:30 p.m. ET start time. The Spring Race 5K will start at BMS’ Orange Bridge, circle the BMS campgrounds and colosseum and end with a lap around the apron of the famed half-mile speedway. At the conclusion, fans are invited to stay for a big party at the end–in true Bristol fashion. Registration is $25 with all proceeds benefitting local children through Speedway Children’s Charities.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

An Overview: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Top 8
Heading into Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250 (Friday, May 12 at 8:30 p.m. on FS1), below is the post-Martinsville NASCAR Camping World Truck Series overview of the drivers currently in playoff contention:

Christopher Bell: Bell has been the class of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field so far in 2017. In three races, Bell has one win (Atlanta), two stage wins and has led 201 laps. In his last two races (Atlanta and Martinsville), the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has led 95 laps or more in each race. With his win at Atlanta, Bell has virtually earned a 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff berth.

Kaz Grala: Through three races in 2017, Grala leads the battle in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. Grala captured his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Daytona. The win currently places Grala into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs in his Sunoco Rookie season. The GMS Racing driver has back-to-back top-15 finishes and has led 14 laps this season.

Johnny Sauter: The reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has not skipped a beat in 2017. Through three races, Sauter leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in stage wins with three and subsequently has three playoff points. Sauter has led 114 laps so far this season and has back-to-back top-three finishes.

Matt Crafton: Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton has had a strong start to the 2017 season. Crafton has finished 14th or better in all three races this season and finished a season-best second at Atlanta. He’s led three laps this season and owns an average finish of 8.3.

Timothy Peters: Peters, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 contender a year ago, is right back into the playoff mix through three races this season. He has back-to-back top-10 finishes after a 17th-place showing at Daytona.

Ben Rhodes: In his second full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing with ThorSport Racing, Rhodes is sitting pretty through three races. He’s finished top-20 or better in each race so far this season and led 20 laps at Daytona. He’s averaging a finish of 12.0 this season.

Chase Briscoe: Briscoe (-7) is currently third in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, behind Christopher Bell and Noah Gragson (-5). The Brad Keselowski Racing driver has three top-25 finishes through three races, including a season-best finish of third at Daytona.

Grant Enfinger: ThorSport Racing’s newest driver, rookie Grant Enfinger, has had a solid start to the season in his No. 98 Toyota Tundra. Enfinger has three consecutive finishes of 17th or better and has led four laps this season. He currently sits fourth (-9) in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.

GMS Racing and ThorSport Racing Off To The Races
Through three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, GMS Racing and ThorSport Racing have been neck-and-neck when it comes to team performances.

GMS Racing – led by reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Kaz Grala – own the top spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings with Sauter and are fifth overall with Grala. With Grala winning at Daytona earlier this season, he’s virtually guaranteed a berth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs.

GMS Racing also netted a win at Martinsville, with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott piloting the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet to victory.

ThorSport Racing – headed by two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton, Ben Rhodes and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Grant Enfinger and Cody Coughlin, has been equally as strong.

Crafton is third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings, followed by Rhodes in sixth, Enfinger in eighth and Coughlin in 13th.

The two powerhouse NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams account for three of the last four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions (Sauter – 2016 and Crafton – 2014, 2013).

Speaking of Bristol…
As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series both head to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, it’s a good reminder that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes a stop to race at the short track in August.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series goes to Bristol Motor Speedway for the UNOH 200, a Wednesday night race on August 16 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Ben Kennedy is the defending race winner at Bristol. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has seen seven different race winners in its last seven races at Bristol Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Countdown: Four Weeks
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is less than a month away from action. The series hits the track next at Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250 on Friday, May 12 (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

William Byron is the defending race winner. Matt Crafton (second), Christopher Bell (fourth), Ryan Truex (sixth) and Timothy Peters (eighth) all scored top-10 finishes at Kansas last season.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Hattori Racing driver Ryan Truex will compete in this weekend’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, the Zombie Auto 125, at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex last competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2010. He won two races that season for Michael Waltrip Racing – both at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Truex has five wins, 15 top fives and 17 top 10s in 22 career K&N Pro Series East races.

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