Race: Food City 500
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Specs: .533-mile oval; Banking/Turns: Variable (24-30°); Banking/Straightaways: 16°
2011 Winners: Kyle Busch (March); Brad Keselowski (Aug.)
2012 Race Length: 266.5 miles/500 laps
Track Qualifying Record: 128.709 mph (Ryan Newman, 2003)
Race Record: 101.074 mph (Charlie Glotzbach, 1971)
From the Spotter’s Stand
Kyle Busch has bullwhipped the concrete bullring at Bristol — having won four of the last six (and five of the last 10) Cup races, three straight (and four overall) Nationwide runs and three of the last four Truck events in Tennessee. With his fifth Cup win at Bristol in March, Rowdy moved into a tie for first among active drivers with Jeff Gordon, who last won in 2002, and older brother Kurt Busch, who won four of five from 2002-04 and again in 2006.
In August, Gordon led a race-high 206 laps and nearly took his sixth checkers — which would still trail 12-time winner Darrell Waltrip and nine-time Bristol champs Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and Cale Yarborough. Instead, Brad Keselowski continued his broken-ankle tear with his first win in his fourth Bristol start.
Crew Chief’s Take
“Bristol is the fastest short track we race at and one of the most exciting, for sure. This is considered a short track, but the setups are very different from all other short tracks on the schedule. This is a mechanical-grip setup type track where we don’t focus on aerodynamics very much. It is a very physically and mentally demanding track on the drivers. Things happen very quickly, and you can get caught up in other people’s mess.”
Classic Moments at Bristol
No one could have known the significance of the Bristol night race on Aug. 26, 2000, when the field took the green flag.
Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart clearly had the cars to beat, and the duo finished first (Wallace) and second (Stewart). For Wallace, it was his ninth and final victory at the track where he earned his first career Cup win (1986).
For two other titans of the half-mile bullring, it would mark their final starts at a track where they had enjoyed so much success.
Darrell Waltrip knew this was it for him. A record 12-time winner at Bristol, he would retire at season’s end. But no one could foresee that Dale Earnhardt — a nine-time victor at BMS — would never grace the high banks again. Earnhardt passed away in an accident at Daytona the following February.
Wallace, Waltrip and Earnhardt accounted for 30 wins over a 23-year span (46 races) in the mountains of East Tennessee.
For complete Fantasy coverage of Bristol, as well as each track on the circuit, visit “Pennell’s Picks,” published each Thursday at AthlonSports.com.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro