<
>

What to Watch For: Bristol Motor Speedway

Three's Company for Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch got his first win of the season last Sunday at Texas, after he had been knocking on the door of victory for several weeks. He comes into Bristol riding a streak of 5 straight top-3 finishes, tying the longest such streak of his Cup Series career (also in 2008). Busch becomes the 3rd driver in the Playoff Era (since 2004) with at least 5 top-3 finishes in the first 7 races of the season.

The only other time Kyle Busch had 5 straight top-3 finishes, in 2008, that streak was ended with a last-place finish at Pocono. But he's had better luck at the site of this week's race, Bristol. He's won 6 times there in Cup Series races, along with 9 XFINITY and 5 Truck Series wins, giving him 20 wins there in National Series competition, 7 more than any other driver.

For all the winning Busch has done at Bristol, he's done a lot of wrecking too. Before winning at Bristol last August, Busch had wrecked out of the last 3 and 4 of the last 5 Bristol races.

Who Will Get JGR's 150th Win?

If Busch picks up a 2nd straight win, or one of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates (Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones or Daniel Suárez) wins, it'll mark the 150th Cup Series win for the team. They'd be just the 3rd team to reach that mark in Cup Series History, and the 2nd active team, along with Hendrick Motorsports, which is 1 win away from 250.

This week's race is at a short track in Bristol, which bodes well for JGR. The team has won 25 of 61 short track races since the start of 2008, twice as many as any other team.

Who Needs to Watch Out

There are still 19 races left in the regular season, but 7 races into the season, there are some big names on the wrong side of the playoff bubble.

Of course, that means some drivers are looking to take advantage. Among the notables currently in the playoff field are Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman, both in their 1st seasons with new teams.

Who's Hot and Who's Not - Bristol

HOT
• Kyle Busch: 20 Bristol wins in NASCAR National Series (Cup, XFINITY, Truck) are 7 more than any other driver (more below in Not section)
• Kevin Harvick: 5 straight top-10 finishes at Bristol after no top 10s in previous 8 races at track)
• Jimmie Johnson: defending race winner; 7th or better in 5 of last 7 Bristol races
• Kyle Larson: led all drivers with 272 laps led last season at Bristol (didn't win either race)
• Clint Bowyer: 11 top-20 finishes in his last 12 Bristol races; finished 2nd in last Bristol race (his best Bristol finish)

NOT
• Kyle Busch: wrecked out of 3 of last 4 and 4 of last 6 Bristol races
• Martin Truex Jr.: 2 top-5 finishes in 24 career Bristol races (none in last 11 races)
• Brad Keselowski: finished 18th or worse in last 4 Bristol races (28.5 avg finish)
• Denny Hamlin: 18.7 average finish (best finish: 10th) in his last 3 spring Bristol races; 3.0 (3rd in all 3) in last 3 Bristol summer races
• Kurt Busch: winless in last 23 Bristol races after winning 5th Bristol race in 2006 (finished run of 5 wins in 9 Bristol starts)

--- ESPN Stats & Info ---