Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Sprint Cup Championship Odds: Is Gordon best equipped to win 5th title?

Six-time Champ: Johnson at Homestead last year
The final three races before the "Chase for the Cup" is very cool, but it should pale in comparison to the thrill we can expect when the Chase begins at Chicago on Sept. 14. There are so many equally good heavyweights at the top with four drivers sharing a season high three wins each.

Think of these next three races as wild card rounds, like a play in-game to start the NCAA basketball tournament. Only 16 drivers can move on. Twelve have been locked in and 18 more drivers (not logically) are eligible to take the four remaining spots by points or winning. Who will make the Chase and who will come away with the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup title?

There are so many quality contenders and with a format in the Chase that eliminates four drivers every three races until there is a final four at Homestead where the best finisher wins, there is no driver that can just run away with it.

Let’s take a look at the latest LVH SuperBook Sprint Cup Championship odds on a few of the favorites:

Jimmie Johnson (7/2): The six-time Cup champ merits being the favorite just because we have seen it so many times, but never under this format which adds so much intrigue to the whole situation. What makes it even better is that Johnson is struggling with no top-5 finishes since winning at Michigan on June 15 and that includes four finishes 28th or worse. By no means am I rooting against him to achieve greatness and tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most Cup titles, but things don’t look so easy this time around. And if Johnson is one of the final four drivers to make Homestead, it’s one of only four tracks he’s never won at.

Jeff Gordon (9/2): His win Sunday at Michigan was his first there since 2001, the year he won the final of his of his four Cup titles. He also won at the Brickyard, like he did last month, in 2001 as well. He’s tied with three other drivers for the most wins this season (3) and he leads in points showing that he’s been the most consistent. The cool thing about rooting for Gordon right now is that he may finally get the cheers and adulation from the NASCAR Nation, maybe more so than even Junior. After having everything seemingly handed to him in his early years, which irritated many fans, he’s paid his dues in his elder years and fans now seem to want to see the great champion wind down his years with one more title.

Brad Keselowski (5/1): He’s the top non-Chevrolet candidate to win, which would be his second Cup title in three seasons and put him into another stratosphere in NASCAR history. He’s got the power to compete with all the Chevy drivers on the five 1.5-mile tracks we’ll see in the Chase and is also very adept at the other five tracks. When he won in 2012, he came right out of the gate swinging with a win at Chicago and two weeks later at Dover and finished 15th or better in all 10 races.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (6/1): He’s NASCAR royalty and yet has never won a title. Most of us thought he would have had two or three by now, but it was like he was in a sleep walk for his first six years at Hendrick Motorsports where he won only two races. Now he has three wins with a series leading 11 top-5 finishes. He’s been good everywhere this season, including road courses where he always had difficulties. Junior winning a title, or at least making the final four, would provide huge ratings at Homestead, even as it competes against an NFL Sunday.

After those four, the top two candidates to at least make the final four are Kevin Harvick (6/1) and Joey Logano (8/1). Then there is a huge drop-off in probability with Matt Kenseth (10/1) still searching for his first win and teammate Kyle Busch (10/1) looking for better engines to compete with Chevrolet. Kasey Kahne (15/1) is still outside looking in to the Chase, but if he gets in he has the team to get well quickly. Denny Hamlin (15/1) is in the same boat as Kenseth and Busch as they have no speed on horsepower tracks. The real wild cared of all is Kurt Busch because we’ve seen him be right up there with Harvick and the Hendrick drivers, but just not do it consistently enough.

Bristol: ‘Racin’ like it oughta be’
With all the surface and banking changes at Bristol Motor Speedway since 2007, there haven’t been any real patterns established on the half-mile track. For a while we had Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski winning multiple times in a row, but there have been five different winners in the past five races.

Read More Here......Top-5 Finish Prediction


LVH SUPER BOOK 2014 SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS 

JIMMIE JOHNSON 7-2
KYLE BUSCH 10
MATT KENSETH 10
DENNY HAMLIN 15
BRAD KESELOWSKI 5
KASEY KAHNE 15
JEFF GORDON 9-2
DALE EARNHARDT JR 6
TONY STEWART 100
KEVIN HARVICK 6
KURT BUSCH 25
JOEY LOGANO 8
CARL EDWARDS 75
CLINT BOWYER 100
GREG BIFFLE 75
RYAN NEWMAN 100
MARTIN TRUEX JR 1000
BRIAN VICKERS 500
JAMIE McMURRAY 300
RICKY STENHOUSE JR 500
AUSTIN DILLON 500
PAUL MENARD 500
KYLE LARSON 60
MARCOS AMBROSE 1000
DANICA PATRICK 1000
FIELD 200

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kenseth at Bristol: Great opportunity to win first 2014 race

Matt Kenseth is 7/1 to win at Bristol Saturday night; won last fall
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Preview
IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway
No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News and Notes:

KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS:
In 29 Sprint Cup Series career starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Matt Kenseth has an average finish of 12.5. He’s completed 14,104 of 14,516 (97.2 percent) career laps, and has led for a total of 1,321 laps. Kenseth has earned three wins at Bristol, with his most recent win coming in last year’s IRWIN Tools Night Race. He’s also earned one pole, 11 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes at BMS.

JOE GIBBS RACING AT BRISTOL: Joe Gibbs Racing has 95 Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol and has earned seven wins, 19 top-five, and 33 top-ten finishes. The organization has led for a total of 3,983 laps, has an average start of 17.3, an average finish of 17.8, and has completed 44,414 of 47,390 (93.7 percent) laps.

THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Oreo, Gildan, AmeriGas Propane Exchange, Sundown Naturals, Ragu, Glad, Cottonelle, Nestle Drumstick, Finish and STP will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

RACE INFO: The IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (0.53-mile) begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 23rd. The race will be broadcast live on ABC, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.
  
Kenseth’s 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish
2308141350$4,133,80015.613.8
Kenseth’s Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish
53131146262129,276$103,676,06418.414.2

From the Cockpit:
Matt Kenseth:
“I always look forward to going to Bristol because I think that the racing has always been pretty good there. Certainly the track changes a lot as the top line rubbers up throughout the weekend, but I’m looking forward to getting there this weekend. The last three races at Bristol, our No. 20 team has run really well even though we got wrecked out of two of those races and won the third. Bristol is one of the more physically demanding tracks that isn’t very forgiving and there’s a fine line between going fast and getting stuck in the fence, so it’s all about finding that balance.”

From the Pit Box:
Jason Ratcliff:
“It seems like recently Bristol has been such a challenge for us during practice sessions where then we truly have worried about how things would shake out on race day, because our expectations seem so high. We know that Bristol is a track that Matt (Kenseth) does well at and has had success at. Ever since Matt has been with the No. 20 team, it’s just been one of the tracks where we’ve raced pretty well at so we usually beat ourselves up in practice wanting to be at the top of the sheet. It’s always a fun race under the lights and I’m anticipating a good race for usSaturday night.”

About Dollar General:
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for 75 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at low everyday prices in convenient neighborhood locations. With more than 11,300 stores in 40 states, Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America. In addition to high quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo. For more information on Dollar General, please visit www.dollargeneral.com.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Kyle Busch searching for sixth Bristol win Saturday night

Kyle Busch is 7/1 to win at Bristol Saturday night
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 19, 2014) – When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the half-mile bullring at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, many naturally look to Kyle Busch as the driver to beat in northeast Tennessee’s “Thunder Valley.”

Busch has five Sprint Cup wins at Bristol while also recording eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 19 career Sprint Cup starts.

But, looking at his most recent starts at Bristol, while he still has had several solid finishes, his record isn’t as strong as it was in 2009 and 2010, when he won three of the four races at the .533-mile short track those two seasons.

Iconic chewing gum brand Doublemint – which happens to be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year – will be along for the ride on Busch’s Sprint Cup Toyota in Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race.

Saturday night’s event will mark the first of two races in 2014 that Doublemint will serve as primary sponsor for Busch. The brand’s mint paint scheme will also adorn Busch’s No. 18 Toyota at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October.

The driver of the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will look to repeat an impressive feat from 2010, when he posted the first “triple’ in NASCAR history by winning the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series races that week. Busch will again compete in all three races this week, starting with Wednesday’s Truck Series race.

While he’s a factor any time he travels to Bristol, it’s interesting to note Busch didn’t immediately take to the place. During his rookie year in 2005, he posted finishes of 28th and 33rd. But Busch’s record in his last 15 starts at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” has been nothing short of amazing. After bringing home finishes of eighth and second in 2006, Busch captured his first Bristol Sprint Cup win in March 2007. The track was resurfaced after that race and, from 2008 to 2011, nobody has been better at the concrete short track than Busch. He scored four wins and six top-10s from 2008 until another change to the track surface prior to the August 2012 race weekend. Busch is looking to recapture the magic from his four years of dominance there on the current surface.

So as Busch goes for his sixth career Sprint Cup win at Bristol Saturday night, he’ll hope a “fresh” start wearing Doublemint colors at the “The Last Great Colosseum” will help him add to his gaudy statistics there.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

Are you looking forward to returning to Bristol?

“I love Bristol, and getting back there running all three divisions is going to be fun again. Being able to get back in the Truck, of course, and then run the Nationwide car and also run the Cup car. We’d love to be able to repeat 2010 – that would be amazing – and do another trifecta. But, since they’ve ground that place, it’s not necessarily been my best track, lately. So, I’ve got some work to do to figure out how to get better there and make it happen. We’re excited to have Doublemint on the car this weekend. It’s the company’s 100th anniversary this year and it was on my car for the sweep in 2010, so hopefully we can bring them back to victory lane on Saturday night.”

What makes you so good at Bristol Motor Speedway?
“I’m not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol. I’ve just had a lot of success there, but I’ve also had some misfortune there, too. Ever since I got through my rookie year, I’ve just taken a liking to the place. But, when they changed the track to this current surface in 2007, I just really took to it right away. I really liked it and I’ve been fast there, but also I’ve had great racecars from Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s just a fun racetrack no matter what series I’m running there. Like I said, we haven’t been as good since they made the changes in 2012 there, but we have been gaining on it and I’m hoping we can get back to form there this weekend. You really have to be on your game at Bristol. You make one mistake,or someone else makes one mistake, that’s it. We’re hoping things will fall in place this weekend with our Doublemint Camry and we get to victory lane.”

What is your most memorable experience at Bristol?
“The one that stands out the most for me is August 2010 – being able to do the sweep. We won the Truck race on Wednesday night, backed it up in the Nationwide race Friday and took home the trophy from the Cup race on Saturday night.”

What is the most challenging aspect of Bristol?
“I think the most challenging aspect of Bristol is just how difficult it is to transition through from the straightaways to the corners, back to the straightaways and have your car set up in order to do all that. Sometimes you can be really loose getting in, or you can be really tight in the middle – you just seem to never be able to get a good-flowing car that works well there. Drivers have to do a lot of manipulation on the racetrack with their car in order to try to make the best of it.”

How have you figured out the best way to get around Bristol Motor Speedway?
“Things have just kind of really worked well together. It’s a fun place that you like going to. You enjoy the race around there. We grew up at the ‘Bullring’ (in Las Vegas) and stuff like that. They aren’t as banked as Bristol is, but I love going and racing at Winchester (Indiana) and at Slinger (Wisconsin), Salem (Indiana) – those are all really high-banked racetracks that are a half-mile in distance, or a quarter. They’re really fun to race around and you kind of get a great feel for racing in a bowl. You go down the straightaway and you slam it into the corners and you mash the gas and you kind of sling right back out of the corners. It’s a lot of fun to do that. It’s kind of an art. Some guys are really good at it, and some find a knack that makes them really good at it and makes it seem easy.”

What makes Bristol Motor Speedway so unique and a place that fans love?
“Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the best racetracks on the circuit. All the fans love it because of the excitement, the run-ins, and the close-quarter action with all the cars being packed on top of one another at a half-mile racetrack with us 43 lunatics running around in a tight circle. With the fans, the atmosphere there always makes for a good time.”

KYLE BUSCH’S BRISTOL SPRINT CUP SERIES PERFORMANCE PROFILE
YearDateEventStartFinishStatus/LapsLaps LedEarnings
20143/16Food City 500729Running, 496/50373$138,806
20133/17Food City 50012Running, 500/50056$188,893
20123/18Food City 5001332Running, 423/5000$131,243
 8/25=Irwin Tools Night Race106Running, 500/5000$161,998
20113/20Jeff Byrd 500121Running, 500/500153$192,416
 8/27Irwin Tools Night Race2414Running, 500/5004$143,666
20103/21Food City 500389Running, 500/5000$139,631
 8/21Irwin Tools Night Race191Running, 500/500283$331,731
20093/22×Food City 500191Running, 503/503378$232,998
 8/22Sharpie 500151Running, 500/50068$341,073
20083/16†×Food City 5002217Running, 504/5067$97,000
 8/23Sharpie 50092Running, 500/500415$220,675
20073/25×Food City 500201Running, 504/50420$179,400
 8/25Sharpie 500209Running, 500/5003$116,875
20063/26Food City 500208Running, 500/50034$102,450
 8/26Sharpie 500192Running, 500/5001$202,375
20054/3Food City 5003928Running, 428/5000$89,400
 8/27Sharpie 5001133Running, 448/5000$89,795

× Race length extended due to green-white-checkered finish.

 Qualifying canceled due to weather, starting position set via car owner points.

Qualifying canceled due to weather, starting position set via practice time.

- True Speed Communication for Kyle Busch Motorsports/Joe Gibbs Racing

Five-time Bristol winner Kurt Busch: "I love to attack the track at Bristol"

Kurt Busch is 15/1 to win at Bristol Saturday
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Aug. 19, 2014) – It’s difficult not to think of Kurt Busch when talking about Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Over the years, the driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has crafted quite the highlight reel when it comes to racing and conquering the .533-mile concrete oval.

In 27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the high-banked, short track, Busch has earned five victories, seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. This weekend, Busch would like nothing more than to return to his winning ways at Bristol in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race.

Busch’s success at Bristol started early in his career. In fact, Busch scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win in the Food City 500 in March 2002. The win came in just his third start at Bristol, making him the driver with the fewest starts at the Tennessee short track ever to record his first win.

After a sixth-place finish later that season in the 2002 Bristol night race, Busch reeled off three consecutive wins at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile” – sweeping both races at the track in 2003 and also winning the March race in 2004.

Two years later, in March 2006, Busch returned to victory lane once again for his fifth Bristol win. In that race, Busch came back from two laps down and led 33 laps en route to victory on a cold and snowy Sunday afternoon. After he took the checkered flag, Busch climbed from his car, laid on the snow-covered concrete oval and channeled his inner-child – moving his legs and arms back and forth to create a snow angel right there on the track.

Busch’s five career victories at Bristol place him in a four-way tie for third on the all-time winner’s list at the track. The group of drivers ahead of Busch on that list is an elite group featuring former champions and drivers who already have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Former champion and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip tops the all-time list with 12 career Bristol wins. Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough is in a three-way tie for second on the list with former Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and the late Dale Earnhardt with nine wins each. Hall of Famer David Pearson, Jeff Gordon and his brother Kyle Busch share third-place honors on the win list with five apiece. Additionally, the five wins each by the Busch brothers and Gordon top all active drivers.

While the Las Vegas native hasn’t visited victory lane at Bristol since 2006, his success at the track speaks for itself. He continues to be considered a favorite for a win at the track that is famously dominated by fast-paced beating, banging, gouging, door-to-door action. Earlier this season at Bristol, in his first start at the track with SHR, Busch led 28 laps and appeared to be headed for a solid finish before being collected in an unavoidable incident on lap 394, which relegated him to a 35th-place finish.

This weekend, Busch would like nothing more than to add another win to his already impressive stats at Bristol. Not only would a win move him ahead of Pearson, Gordon and Kyle Busch and put him all by himself in third place on the all-time win list at the track, it would also give Busch and his No. 41 Haas Automation team valuable bonus points as they prepare for the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The No. 41 team officially clinched a berth in the 2014 Chase this past weekend, thanks to their win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in March. A win at Bristol this weekend also would move Busch ahead of the four other single-race winners of the 2014 season thus far. The 16 drivers who qualify for the Chase will have their point total reset to 2,000 and will be seeded based on bonus points – three per win – earned prior to the start of the Chase. A second win would enable Busch to jump from 12th to eighth in the Chase standings.

With the Chase just four races away, Busch and the Haas Automation team are determined to find their way back to victory lane, and there’s no better place to start than this weekend at Bristol. After all, the team’s one win this season came at another short track, and Busch’s success at Bristol is hard to beat. Busch feels it’s time to add another win to his already impressive Bristol highlight reel.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

Is there a sense of excitement for you when you think about Bristol?

“Yes. Bristol is one of those tracks that I get a little extra pumped up for. For me, I think that feeling gets a little stronger when you’re talking about the night race at Bristol. There’s just something special about that race. I knew it before I ever made it to the big-league level of the Sprint Cup Series but, the first time I was able to experience the night race as a competitor, it’s almost indescribable. It’s a place that gives you a big adrenaline rush. You can literally feel the energy around the track from the competitors and the fans that are just excited for 500 laps of racing at Bristol. There’s really nothing quite like it.”

With the way Bristol has been the last few years, what has been the most difficult part?
“For me, the most challenging aspect is getting into those long, green-flag runs. It’s about being able to settle into a steady groove and making the best lap times you can. It’s tough at that place because it’s so fast for a short track and you can get dizzy there pretty quickly. It’s a physical track but it’s also mentally taxing, and you really have to be on your game when it comes to the concentration that is required to run well at Bristol.”

You earned your first Sprint Cup win at Bristol. You’ve got four wins in the spring race and one in the night race. Talk about heading to Bristol.
“I love to attack the track at Bristol. The track really seems to fit my driving style. Ever since they polished the outside groove, you have to wait for it to come in. But when it comes in, it’s fast up there. So, I expect a lot of the fast cars to be up there on the high side. One of the important tasks of the weekend is getting the splitter control set properly on the Haas Automation Chevrolet this time around if we want to be better than we were in the spring.”

You clinched your 2014 Chase berth Sunday at Michigan. However, there are three open spots left for first-time winners to fill. Do you think you’ll see guys race more aggressively going for a win, maybe more so than in years past since we’re coming so close to the cutoff?
“Oh yeah. Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond – the short tracks lead to opportunities for others that haven’t been on the cutting edge of the setups this year. So, you could easily see a surprise winner coming out of Bristol Saturday night.”

Kurt Busch’s Bristol Motor Speedway Performance Profile:
YearEventStartFinishStatus/LapsLaps LedEarnings
2014Food City 5001335Running, 473/50328$89,590
2013Food City 500194Running, 500/5001$134,255
 Irwin Tools Night Race231Running, 476/50054$122,740
2012Food City 5002718Running, 498/5000$116,893
 Irwin Tools Night Race2028Running, 440/5000$101,250
2011Jeff Byrd 500207Running, 500/5000$140,150
 Irwin Tools Night Race1017Running, 500/5000$139,025
2010Food City 50023Running, 500/500278$167,523
 Irwin Tools Night Race209Running, 500/5000$147,273
2009×Food City 5003211Running, 503/5030$109,075
 Sharpie 500137Running, 500/5000$126,975
2008׆Food City 5003612Running, 506/5060$91,825
 Sharpie 5001915Running, 500/5000$99,175
2007×Food City 5004229Running, 499/50410$118,483
 Sharpie 500196Running, 500/5002$145,608
2006†Food City 50091Running, 500/50033$175,858
 Sharpie 500137Running, 446/50027$128,413
2005Food City 5002635Accident, 360/5000$129,165
 Sharpie 5001310Running, 500/5000$148,625
2004Food City 500131Running, 500/500119$173,465
 Sharpie 500248Running, 499/5000$107,515
2003Food City 50091Running, 500/500116$162,790
 Sharpie 50051Running, 500/500121$237,565
2002Food City 500271Running, 500/50089$143,840
 Sharpie 50086Running, 500/50045$83,265
2001Food City 5003942Accident, 118/5000$49,535
 Sharpie 5002625Running, 490/5000$58,980
† Qualifying canceled due to weather, starting position set via car owner points.
× Race length extended due to green-white-checkered finish.

-True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing

Stenhouse on Bristol: "'could be the breakout weekend for the No. 17 team.”

Ricky Stenhouse is 100/1 to win at Bristol Saturday; second in March race
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – IRWIN Tools Night Race Advance
Team: No. 17 Ford Ecoboost Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Mike Kelley
Primary Chassis: RK- 888 – last raced at Bristol – finished second
Backup Chassis: RK-877 – last raced at Loudon – finished ninth

ADVANCE NOTES

Stenhouse at Bristol

o Stenhouse has three Sprint Cup career starts at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile earning one top-five and one top-10 finish.
o Stenhouse has an average starting position of 25.3 and average finishing position of 12.
o In the spring, Stenhouse earned his highest Sprint Cup finish at Bristol when he finished second behind teammate Carl Edwards.
The Car
o Chassis RK-888 is the same chassis that the team raced at Bristol in the spring, earning a second place finish.
Ford EcoBoost
o Delivering up to 20 percent better fuel economy than conventional engines, EcoBoost uses smaller overall size combined with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection to bring customers the power they want and the fuel economy they need.

Stenhouse on Bristol:
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend after finishing second at Bristol in the spring. You can feel the excitement of the fans at the Bristol night race. Since track position is so important, we will focus on trying to qualify up front and then stay up front with pit strategy. I think this weekend could be the breakout weekend for the No. 17 team.”

Mike Kelley on Bristol:
“I think as a team we have all looked forward to returning to Bristol after our second-place finish there in the spring. Bristol is a tough track because anything can happen so quick. It is 500 laps and you have to be there at the end. I feel confident that we will be a contender for the win this weekend.”

- Roush Fenway Racing

Almirola looking to better third-place Bristol finish from March

Aric Almirola is 100/1 to win at Bristol Saturday; third in March race
STP Returns to the No. 43 and Celebrates First Entry into The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 team, now #ChaseBound, return to Bristol Motor Speedway confident in a top finish. The team contended for the lead late in the race earlier this season and scored a third-place finish, Almirola’s career-best Sprint Cup finish at the Tennessee track.

Almirola has 10 Sprint Cup Series starts at the half-mile, concrete track and 18 NASCAR starts. He tallied three Top-Fives and seven Top-10s in all 18 starts.

STP returns to the No. 43 this weekend with the iconic paint scheme made famous by “The King” Richard Petty. In addition, STP will join the No. 43 in celebrating that the team is #ChaseBound. The team locked into The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and will bring STP to The Chase for the first time.

Almirola Weekend Chatter
“I think that Bristol puts on an awesome race. We obviously don’t have to wreck each other to pass anymore, so the fans may not like it as much. I love that track. We’ve run really well there. I thought we had a shot to win the first race there and finished third. But we had a strong car. Bristol is a race I have circled as somewhere we could potentially win another race.

“I think there is a little more waiting around all day at the night race. All the drivers are pent up in their bus all day long and have all this stored up energy, so we’re dying to get going by the time the race starts. We usually end up really aggressive in the beginning but calm down in the middle of the race. By the end of the race, everyone starts wrecking each other again and doing all they can to try and fight for a win. Night racing at Bristol is what it’s all about. That’s NASCAR racing at its best in my opinion.

“We locked into The Chase last week which is really big for our team. It’s really cool to be able to bring a sponsor like STP, who has been in the sport for so long, into The Chase for the first time. I’m excited to be driving such an iconic car in the night race at Bristol. And we will have some celebratory decals on the STP car which is really awesome.”

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP, Strike Ten Entertainment and Fresh From Florida, and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners STANLEY, DEWALT, Mac Tools and Twisted Tea. In addition, Dakoda Armstrong wheels the No. 43 WinField Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is headquartered in Concord, N.C.

- Breaking Limits, LLC., for Richard Petty Motorsports

Why not Ambrose to win at 100/1 odds Saturday night at Bristol?

Marcos Ambrose is 100/1 to win at Bristol Saturday night; fifth in March
Team Finished Fifth in March
If there is a track where Marcos Ambrose feels he can put himself into The Chase in the remaining races, Bristol Motor Speedway is one of them. Ambrose has six Top-10 and three Top-Five finishes at the half-mile oval and finished fifth at the track in March. It has proved to be one of the most successful ovals for Ambrose in his Sprint Cup career.

Ambrose loves the high-banking and aggressive nature of the 500-mile race. He has a best finish of third and two fifth-place finishes. He’ll be racing the No. 9 DEWALT Ford this weekend.

Ambrose Weekend Chatter
“Yes, I really enjoy the challenge of Bristol. You have to be aggressive, and I love racing hard. It’s a track and race that really proves how much mettle you have as a driver. That’s played into my hands. I can really muscle the car and race with it. I just enjoy this track, the challenge and am looking forward to Saturday night.

“I feel we have a good chance. This team gave me a good car in March, and we had good strategy. We know what we need to do. Our cars have been good here. We have had decent finishes, a few Top-Five results and now just looking to get that win. If you are in it in the final 100 laps, you have a chance to win.”

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP, Strike Ten Entertainment and Fresh From Florida, and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners STANLEY, DEWALT, Mac Tools and Twisted Tea. In addition, Dakoda Armstrong wheels the No. 43 WinField Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is headquartered in Concord, N.C.

- Breaking Limits, LLC., for Richard Petty Motorsports

Carl Edwards to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing beginning 2015

Carl Edwards won at Bristol for third time in March
What's long been rumored is now official. Carl Edwards will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015.

The organization is making the move to a fourth car in 2015 and Edwards will drive the No. 19 Toyota alongside Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

Edwards will be sponsored by Arris for 17 races in 2015. Not familiar with Arris? It's a telecommunications equipment manufacturing company. No sponsor for the other races was announced on Tuesday but Joe Gibbs said that most of the remaining races were accounted for.

"It will be nice to be able to talk about this now with all the work that's gone into it," Edwards said.

"Obviously a huge day for me and my career and I'm looking forward to next year. We're competitors for the rest of this season and I'm going to try to make it as tough on [Joe Gibbs Racing] as I can for the rest of the year. But starting next year it will be really exciting to race for championships with [Joe Gibbs Racing.]"

Read More Here......Yahoo! Sports

Toyota acknowledges Hendrick Chevrolet engines have 'edge'

Kyle Busch hasn't won a race since Fontana in March
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Toyota Racing Development is continuing to look at ways to produce more horsepower as President David Wilson acknowledged that the Toyotas are behind Hendrick Motorsports in that department.

Wilson said the TRD engines are not as far down in horsepower as Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin indicated after the race Sunday at Michigan when Hamlin in frustration said he had 50 less horsepower.

“We need to be better,” Wilson said Tuesday. “Hands down, the folks over at the Hendrick shop have done a great job this year, and they’ve got an edge, not just on us but the others as well.

“We’re happy with our reliability. The funny thing about the sports, we finished second, third and fourth at the Brickyard (three weeks ago) no less. The past couple of races have been frustrating for us and for the drivers.”

JGR and Michael Waltrip Racing, the two primary Toyota teams, use TRD engines in Cup. Last year, Toyotas won 14 of the 36 races, with JGR winning 12. Through 23 races this year, JGR has won twice and MWR still seeks its first victory.

Read More Here.......Sporting News

McReynolds likes Gordon's Chase chances

After Sunday's victory at Michigan, where Jeff Gordon joined teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson with three wins for the season, a lot of race fans are asking me if Gordon's No. 24 bunch is the best of the four Hendrick teams right now. My answer to that question is simple. I kind of think Jeff Gordon's team is the best team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series right now -- period.

The driver and team simply aren't making any mistakes. They only have three finishes outside the top 15. We say it all the time, but that is what makes a championship. None of those three finishes were because of the way they performed. They are simply that solid right now, no matter the type of racetrack.

I think Jeff would tell you he still needs a little fine-tuning in the restart area. Granted, the restart at Indianapolis and the restart Sunday won him both races, but he knows he can be even stronger there. His pit crew isn't making any mistakes. Crew chief Alan Gustafson is on his game making some great calls.

Read More Here.......McReynolds, Fox Sports

Keselowski, Harvick favored to win 2014 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol

Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth are both 7/1 to win at Bristol Saturday.
LAS VEGAS -- Get ready for some good old-fashioned short track racing at Bristol Motor Speedway this Saturday night. The fans in the Smokey Mountains will be fired up, and stakes will be high for several drivers with only three races remaining until the Sprint Cup Chase field is set.

Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick come into the Irwin Tools Night race as the LVH SuperBook's 6-to-1 co-favorites. Those odds are extremely high for favorites in comparison to how things used to be at Bristol before 2007 when Speedway Motorsports Inc. changed the layout of the track, giving it multiple grooves.

There used to be only three to four drivers that had a legitimate chance of winning and the odds reflected it.

Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch combined to win races in bunches over a three-decade stretch prior to the change, but since then it's been wide open. There have been five different winners over the past five Bristol races, a streak that has been matched only four times over 107 Bristol races since its first Cup race in 1961.

Keselowski won back-to-back races in the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011, while Harvick's only win came in 2005 under the old layout. Harvick appeared to have the best car at least five other Bristol races but hasn't had a top-5 there in his last 11 starts.

Three drivers come in at 7-to-1 odds, led by five-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch, who is searching for his first win since Fontana in late March.

Busch took the baton from his five-time winning brother and won the final race on the old Bristol layout. The bottom line was the only way around the old track, and drivers fought hard to take positions away to the point where there were many fisticuffs after races -- part of the reason fans flocked like no other.

From 2009 through 2011, Busch won four of five Bristol races on the new layout, but hasn't won there in his last six starts. Even though the trio of Joe Gibbs cars hasn't been given engines that can compete with Chevrolet on the big horsepower tracks, Bristol will kind of neutralize that edge with the short straight-aways, which again makes the Gibbs cars major players this week.

Matt Kenseth is also at 7-to-1 odds as he searches for his first win this season after having a series-best seven wins in 2013. He's a three-time winner at Bristol -- two prior to the track changes and one in last season's Irwin Tools Night Race. He finished 13th in the first Bristol race on March 16, but he led a race-high four times for 165 laps and was leading with 104 laps to go.

Jeff Gordon (7-to-1) is a five-time winner, but the last win came in 2002, his only win in the fall race. He had won four straight spring races in his glory years from 1995-98 with the mentality of getting out front and staying out front as no one could catch or bump him out of the way. Since the changes to the track, he's had four top-5 finishes and has been seventh in his last two starts.

After those five drivers, no one else is lower than 12-to-1 odds including 2010 winner Jimmie Johnson and three-time winner Carl Edwards (25-to-1). Edwards won the Bristol race in March, and because this is a track where a horsepower advantage is lessened, he and every other team not in a Chevy or a Penske Ford can make a serious run at winning.

Expect all the Joe Gibbs cars to run very well this weekend, including 2012 winner Denny Hamlin

(12-to-1). Also, pay close attention to qualifying this week because 70 of the 107 races have been won from a top-6 start position. The bulk of those numbers are enhanced from the early days, but it's still relevant today as well.

Read More Here......LVH Odds to win

Bristol Track Facts: 2014 Irwin Tools Night Race

Bristol Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 24 of 36 (08-23-14)
Track Size: 0.533-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4-8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4-8 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 650 feet
Backstretch Length: 650 feet
Race Length: 500 laps / 266.5 miles
 
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Bristol
Kyle Larson............................... 104.5
Matt Kenseth............................. 102.7
Kyle Busch............................... 101.7
Jeff Gordon.............................. 100.6
Brad Keselowski......................... 95.9
Greg Biffle.................................. 93.7
Jimmie Johnson.......................... 91.2
Kurt Busch.................................. 90.7
Denny Hamlin............................. 90.7
Kevin Harvick.............................. 90.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (19 total) among active drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway
 
Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
128.969 mph, 14.878 secs. 08-22-13
 
2013 race winner:
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
90.279 mph, (2:57:07), 08-22-13
 
Track qualifying record:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
129.991 mph, 14.761 secs. 03-14-14
 
Track race record:
Charlie Glotzbach, Chevrolet
101.074 mph, (2:38:12), 07-11-71
 
 
At Bristol Motor Speedway:

History
·         Groundbreaking for Bristol International Speedway, as Bristol Motor Speedway was originally known, took place in 1960. The track was an exact half-mile.
·         First NASCAR Sprint Cup race was July 30, 1961; Jack Smith won the event (with relief from Johnny Allen).
·         In the fall of 1969, the track was reshaped and re-measured to .533-miles.
·         The name changed to Bristol International Raceway in 1978.
·         The first night race was held in the fall of 1978.
·         The surface was changed from asphalt to concrete in 1992.
·         The name changed to Bristol Motor Speedway in May 1996.
·         The track was resurfaced between races in 2007, and the turns were ground down in 2012 to eliminate part of the progressive banking.
Notebook
·         There have been 107 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway since the first race in 1961, two races each season.
·         All races have been scheduled for 500 laps, except for both races in 1976 and the second in 1977, which were 400 laps.
·         431 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol; 296 in more than one.
·         NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Bristol with 60. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 43 starts.
·         Fred Lorenzen won the inaugural Coors Light pole with a speed of 79.225 mph.
·         47 different drivers have poles at Bristol, led by Mark Martin and Cale Yarborough with nine each. Jeff Gordonleads all active drivers with five.
·         The race winner has started from the pole 22 times, the most productive starting position. The last driver to win from the pole was Carl Edwards, in the night race of 2008.
·         Four drivers have won from the pole position multiple times: Bobby Allison (1972 twice), Cale Yarborough(1973, 1977 twice, 1980), Darrell Waltrip (1981 twice, 1982) and Rusty Wallace (1991, 1993, 1999, 2000).
·         10 different drivers have posted consecutive poles at Bristol Motor Speedway; Mark Martin is the only of the 10 to win four consecutive poles at Bristol: Fireball Roberts (swept 1962), Fred Lorenzen (swept 1963), Richard Petty (1967-’68), Bobby Allison (swept 1972), Cale Yarborough (swept 1973; swept 1977; swept 1980),Darrell Waltrip (swept 1981), Geoff Bodine (swept 1986), Mark Martin (swept 1995-1996– all four races; and swept 2009); Rusty Wallace (swept 1998), Jeff Gordon (swept 2002) and Denny Hamlin (fall 2013, spring 2014).
·         Jeff Gordon leads (active drivers) the series in average starting position at Bristol with a 7.442. 
·         Youngest Bristol pole winner: Joey Logano (3/21/2010 – 19 years, 9 months, 25 days) – his first series career pole.
·         Oldest Bristol pole winner: Harry Gant (8/27/1994 – 54 years, 7 months, 17 days).
·         41 different drivers have won at Bristol, led by Darrell Waltrip (12). Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Buscheach have five wins, the most among active drivers.
·         Junior Johnson leads the series in car owner wins at Bristol with 16; Rick Hendrick, Roger Penske and Jack Roush are tied among active car owners for the most wins at Bristol with 10 each.
·         12 drivers have won consecutive races at Bristol led by Darrell Waltrip with seven consecutive victories from 1981-1984. The other 11 are Fred Lorenzen (1963-1964 sweep), David Pearson (1968 sweep), Bobby Allison(1972 sweep), Cale Yarborough did it twice (1974 sweep and four straight from 1976-1977), Richard Petty(1975 sweep), Dale Earnhardt also did twice (1985 sweep and 1987 sweep), Alan Kulwicki (1992 sweep),Rusty Wallace (2000 sweep), Kurt Busch (2003 sweep and 2004 spring race), Kyle Busch (2009 sweep), andBrad Keselowski (2011 fall-2012 spring).
·         Youngest Bristol winner: Kyle Busch (03/25/2007 – 21 years, 10 months, 23 days).
·         Oldest Bristol winner: Dale Earnhardt (08/28/1999 – 48 years, 3 months, 30 days).
·         Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Bristol; led by Chevrolet with 43 victories; followed byFord with 34. Toyota is ranked fifth among Manufacturers with six wins at Bristol.
·         35 of the 107 (33.0%) races at Bristol have been won from the front row: Pole position (22 wins); second-place (13 wins).
·         85 of the 107 (32.7%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position; including 53 from the first four spots.
·         Five of the 107 (4.6%) races have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·         The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 38th, by Elliott Sadler; in 2001.
·         Richard Petty leads the series in runner-up finishes at Bristol with 10; Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers with four.
·         Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty lead the series in top-five finishes at Bristol with 26 each. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 16.
·         Richard Petty has 37 top-10 finishes at Bristol, more than any other driver. Jeff Gordon leads the series among active drivers in top-10 finishes with 24.
·         Kyle Busch leads the series (active drivers) in average finish at Bristol with a 10.895.
·         Seven of the last 10 races have ended with a Margin of Victory of less than a second at BMS.  
·         There has been four green-white-checkered finishes at Bristol – all four were the spring race: 2007 (500/504); 2008 (500/506); 2009 (500/503); 2014 (500/503).
·         Two of the 107 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 3/31/1996.   
·         Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway three times; most recently August 25, 2012.   
·         Kurt Busch posted his first series career win at Bristol (2002), and Joey Logano won his first pole at Bristol (2010).
·         Joe Nemechek leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol without visiting Victory Lane with 38.
·         Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol was the 3/25/2007 race won by Kyle Busch with a MOV of 0.064 second.
·         Two female drivers have made NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick.
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Janet Guthrie
21
11
4/17/1977
Janet Guthrie
9
6
8/28/1977
Danica Patrick
43
29
8/25/2012
Danica Patrick
41
28
3/17/2013
Danica Patrick
22
26
8/24/2013
Danica Patrick
36
18
3/16/2014
 
·         Four car numbers have produced eight or more Bristol NSCS wins:
Car Number – (Number of Wins) – Most Recent Win
o    No. 11  - (19 wins) – Denny Hamlin, 2012
o    No. 2 – (12 wins) – Brad Keselowski, 2012
o    No. 17 – (eight wins) – Matt Kenseth, 2006
o    No. 3 – (eight wins) – Dale Earnhardt, 1999
 
NASCAR in Tennessee
·         There have been 168 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Tennessee.
Track Name
City
NSCS
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol
107
Nashville Speedway
Lebanon
42
Smokey Mountain Raceway
Maryville
12
Kingsport Speedway
Kingsport
3
Chattanooga International Raceway
Chattanooga
2
Tennessee-Carolina Speedway
Newport
2
 
·         105 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Tennessee.
·         14 drivers from Tennessee have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series.
Driver
NSCS
NNS
NCWTS
Darrell Waltrip
84
13
0
Sterling Marlin
10
2
0
Bobby Hamilton
4
1
10
Joe Lee Johnson
2
0
0
Trevor Bayne
1
2
0
Paul Lewis
1
0
0
Bobby Hamilton Jr
0
5
0
Jeff Purvis
0
4
0
L.D. Ottinger
0
3
0
Mike Alexander
0
2
0
Casey Atwood
0
2
0
Brad Teague
0
1
0
Chad Chaffin
0
0
2
John King
0
0
1