Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fantasy NASCAR: Food City 500

With a week off from the schedule the drivers get ready for the most exciting track on the circuit, Bristol Motor Speedway. This track is only a half-mile long and shaped like a bowl with bankings in the corner up to 30-degrees. In comparison, the bankings at Daytona International Speedway are 31-degrees.

This track is extremely unpredictable. It is a demolition derby at times where you'll be hard pressed to find a car on the track without a tire mark on it. Tempers will flare at this track.

In the midst of the economic times Bristol Motor Speedway continues to sellout, all 160,00 seats. NASCAR has seen a decline in attendance each race and has yet to sell out any event but I assure you that this track will be packed.

So looking at recent years on man you will consistently find near the front is Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Over the past 10 races, including night races, Earnhardt's average finish is 7th. It's no surprise that Earnhardt's name is synonymous with Bristol his father's average lifetime finish at Bristol was 9th including 9 victories.

Looking at other drivers who have had success at this track, you can look no further than last race's winner Kurt Busch. Busch along with Jeff Gordon each have five career victories at Bristol, more than any other active driver.

Where are these guys all going to finish? Over the past eight races at this track the eventual winner has started on average inside the top 10. Makes sense considering that there are fewer chances to wind up in a crash and it keeps you from being lapped.

1- Jeff Gordon: Like I said, start in the top 10 and tops amongst active drivers at Bristol in his career. The thing that makes Jeff Gordon so much better this year is his workout regimen. People don't understand how much energy goes into driving a car 500 miles without destroying it. It's hard to go against a man who has rededicated himself to the sport and has always been near the top.

2- Greg Biffle: Biffle injures his ribs this week and is forced to sit out Saturday's Nationwide race, so what does he do. He goes and qualifies 4th for Sunday's race. In 12 career races at Bristol Biffle has never won but has 7 top 10 finishes.

3- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Jr. qualified 34th for Sunday's race which goes against the grain of what I said about starting near the top, but what I didn't tell you is that in those past 10 races when Jr.'s average finish was 7th, his average starting spot in each of those 10 races was 25th.

4- Scott Speed: I haven't really given any rookie any credit this year. Scott Speed came onto the seen for Team Red Bull like a Bull in a China Shop. Speed had a great qualifying run and starts 11th. Toyota has really got things going this year and I feel that Speed can make a name for himself. Speed got his first career top 10 at another .5-mile track last year in a spot start, we will see what he can do at Bristol.

5- Aric Almirola: If you are looking for a dark horse this race look no further than Almirola. In three races at Bristol Almirola's average finish is 19th but he has finished his last two races on the lead lap, which again is a big deal at a small track like Bristol. Bristol produces a lot of interesting happenings and it wouldn't surprise me to see Almirola finish in the top 5.

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