Brad Keselowski is going to Bristol on a Mission to be King

Last week at Michigan International Speedway, Brad Keselowski called out the Hendrick cars; Hendrick motors failed and Greg Biffle flew under the radar and won the race.  Wide open racing at Michigan International Speedway was more exciting than it has ever been.  This week NASCAR is at the Bristol Motor Speedway, a track known for exciting racing.  This week Bristol hosts the IRWIN Tools Night Race.

The Bristol Motor Speedway is a 1/2 mile high banked race track located in an NFL stadium.  Ok, so it doesn’t fit into a NFL stadium but if you look at it from above it kind of looks like an NFL stadium.  It seats 160,000 fans all the way around the track like a football game.  That’s 50,000 more seats than the largest football stadium in America.

The race last March did not have the excitement of Bristol races past, so Bruton Smith Speedway Motorsports owner, decided to try and make it more like the racing of years past.  The track, which had been changed in 2007 to progressive banking in order to get more two and three wide racing, had the outside groove ground down to promote perhaps only two wide racing.  The thought being that the more cars are racing close together, the more exciting the racing would be.

If the results of the Camping World Truck Series are any indication, where Timothy Peters led every lap, track position will still be important like it was in the past.  It is still difficult to pass.  This leaves the possibility open to racing more like it was in the past where drivers would use their bumper to move the slower car out of the way in order to pass.

Kyle Busch has five wins here and replaced his brother Kurt Busch who also has five wins as the King of Bristol.  Jeff Gordon also has five wins but they are spread out over many years.  Matt Kenseth has two wins as does Carl Edwards but Brad Keselowski has won the past two races here and is on his way to dethrone Kyle Busch.

This is another track where driver ratings are a great indication of a drivers ability to do well at the track but don’t necessarily mean they win.  Kyle Busch, the King of Bristol, has a King like driver rating of 102.3 but Matt Kenseth who hasn’t won here since 2006 has the next highest rating of 100.8.  The rest of the top five drivers by rating are Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, and Greg Biffle.

During the race this week look for the discussion to focus upon the changes to the upper groove of the track and the Chase for the Wild Card Spots in the Chase.  Kasey Kahn has two wins and is essentially in, which leaves one wild card spot open.  Ryan Newman currently holds the next spot but Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, and Joey Logano could take it away by winning a race.  Some drivers already in the top ten could clinch a spot in the Chase but they are all but in anyway so as cool as it is to talk about, it doesn’t matter.

If you can’t get to Bristol you can watch it in prime time on Saturday Night on ABC starting at 7 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is the Lead NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary. On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary

Top 12 Driver Rating at Bristol

Kyle Busch…………………………. 102.3
Matt Kenseth……………………….. 100.8
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 99.8
Brad Keselowski……………………. 99.4
Greg Biffle……………………………. 97.0
Kurt Busch……………………………. 94.0
Jimmie Johnson…………………….. 93.2
Kevin Harvick………………………… 89.5
Ryan Newman……………………….. 89.5
Tony Stewart…………………………. 89.2
Carl Edwards………………………… 88.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 88.1

Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2012 races (15 total) at Bristol Motor Speedway.


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