Picking up the Thunder with Bristol

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 22:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2009 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Well after an exciting time in Michigan I am back with this weeks picks for Bristol. Bristol is a track that everyone seems to love. The place is small, there’s a lot of action and the ending is always exciting.

Things don’t figure to be much different this week.

The first two names that came to mind when I began thinking about Bristol were those of Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle. And for good reason.

Busch has three career wins at the track, has the best average finishing position of 10.1 and has 8 top-10’s in 11 career starts. Simply look at the last 10 races, the last 9 races, the last 8 races, on and on and the guy with the most points at Bristol is always the same. Kyle Busch. Everyone makes a big deal about the 2438 laps Jeff Gordon has led but Busch has led 935 laps. Divide those numbers by their total races and Busch is well ahead in terms of laps led per race.

Biffle’s name is also on those list ranking anywhere from second to tenth but he’s on them all. In 15 starts he’s yet to win a race but has 9 top-10’s and 6 top-5’s.

That’s not to say Biffle is the only member of Roush-Fenway Racing to consider. Carl Edwards is also looking good and  he’s got two Bristol wins to his credit. Edwards may have won the race at Michigan if there was a late race caution but alas a yellow never came for him.

Matt Kenseth is another Ford worth taking a look at. Kenseth came home fifth at Michigan, a much needed run for moral. He’s historically good at the small track and has 2 career wins in 21 starts. He’s also finished inside the top-10 on 13 occasions and has led 742 laps.

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 21:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2009 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)

Ok so the big giant elephant just walked in the room. You know like when you are missing the obvious. Kurt Busch. Oh yea he’s also racing for Penske a team that very well be a synonym for Bristol. Busch has 5 wins and if you need any other reasons then you simply are a fool.

Also with 5 wins is Jeff Gordon but he’s had 16 more starts then Busch. Still you can’t count Gordon out at a place like Bristol.

Early season favorites Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin are solid bets this weekend but neither has the shine they once had this year. Don’t count them out but don’t expect to strike it big either.

Some guys I’m not too keen on this week are Tony Stewart and Mark Martin. Stewart does have one win at the place but he’s been pretty much a bust in his other runs. Martin remains in an up and down battle with Clint Bowyer over 12th in the point standings but neither driver figures to be a Chase contender should they qualify.

Throw Dale Earnhardt Jr in that category as well. The radio talk has been loud and following Sunday’s race he seemed like a guy who was finished.

Kevin Harvick may be the only guy currently locked into the chase and coming off a win but I don’t like his chances this week despite good results in the past. The reason is short track, nothing to lose makes Harvick a driver only out there for the win which just as easily could result in a crash and burn when it comes to picks.

Daytona Beach, FL - Feb 11, 2010: Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart and Marcos Ambrose race closely during the Gatorade Duel 2.Two guys I like this week from the back pack boys are Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose. Keselowski was 13th at the track earlier this year and led 26 laps. Keselowski also has good Nationwide numbers at the track with 1 win and 4 top-5’s in 7 starts. As for Ambrose he’s fresh off a big announcement of a move to RPM for next season. Last year he finished 10th and 3rd at Bristol. Ambrose may not win this event but don’t be shocked with a top-10 or better.

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