Last week at Texas, Kyle Busch beat out Kevin Harvick to punch his ticket to the NASCAR Monster Energy Series playoffs. Big names such as Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Larson all crashed at some point in the race, ending their race day.
This week, the Monster Energy Series drivers travel to the iconic Bristol Motor Speedway, a .9 mile oval track with high banking. It is a faster track than the previous short track race of Martinsville. But like Martinsville, it will have tight racing and some bumping, where tempers will flare, causing some possible drama on or off the track. Bristol is famous for post race brawls.
My Top 4 Drivers for the Food City 500 at Bristol
Kyle Busch ($11,300): This is a momentum play as Kyle Busch is coming off of a huge win last week at Texas. Additionally, Busch won the pole for this race with the fastest car, so look for him to rack up a ton of Laps Lead points for this race. He is not stranger to victory lane as he has won here five times, including the most recent Bristol race in August 2017.
Kevin Harvick ($11,500): Harvick has been consistently dominant this season in nine races thus far. He has three wins and two 2nd place finishes. He crashed his car in practice, forcing him to go to a backup car. He will start in the back in 39th, which makes him a great start to get Place Differential points. Look for him to use pit strategy to work his way into the Top 10.
Clint Bowyer ($8,200): In the only other short track race this year at Martinsville, Bowyer ended his 190 race win-less streak. Look for him to continue his short track momentum at Bristol. He has had a great year thus far, scoring Top 10 finishes in 5 out of the 9 races. In the April 2017 race at Bristol, Bowyer finished an impressive 2nd place. Start him with confidence in your lineup.
Joey Logano ($9,300): Logano has won here twice before in 2014 and 2015. For a top driver like Logano, he has not won a race dating back to his win at Richmond in March of 2017, so he is in a bit of a slump. He has seven Top 10 finishes at Bristol. Team Penske has provided Logano with good cars this year, but he and his pit crew need to put a full race together, and Bristol may be the place where Logano scores a win.
Others to Consider
Erik Jones ($8,300): Joe Gibbs Racing felt that Erik Jones was ready to join his team after a stellar rookie season, ousting veteran Matt Kenseth from the #20 Toyota Camry. He does not have much history at Bristol, but did have an impressive finish last August at Bristol scoring a 2nd place finish in a tight race with Kyle Busch at the end. He is my sleeper pick to win this race.
Trevor Bayne ($6,000): Bayne is sneaky good at Bristol Motor Speedway for a mid-level driver. In the last four races at Bristol, Bayne has an average finish of 8.75, the 2nd best among all active drivers. Only Kevin Harvick is better. In those last four races, Bayne finished 7th, 11th, 12th, and 5th respectively. He is very affordable and provides much-needed salary relief as he costs only $6,000.