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Track profile: Bristol Motor Speedway

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Bristol Motor Speedway basics

Track Type: Short
Distance: 0.533-mile oval
Banking/Turns: 24-30 degrees variable banking | Straightaways: 16 degrees banking

Inside look

The high-banked half-mile concrete bullring at Bristol tests a driver's toughness over 500 laps of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Strategy, luck and good old-fashioned tenacity are the keys to success at the classic short track where Darrell Waltrip (12 wins) and Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough (nine apiece) top the all-time wins list. Recently, Carl Edwards has been the man to beat in the night race, winning in both 2007 and '08. In each win, Edwards was able to hang around long enough to overtake a young gun — beating Kyle Busch (415 laps led) in '08 and Kasey Kahne (305) in '07, both of whom cruised to a runner-up finish. While the younger Busch brother has a win (March 2007), two seconds (August 2006, '08) and a ninth-place finish in his last five trips to Tennessee, it's older bro Kurt Busch who has the real track record at Bristol with five wins and nine top 10s in 16 career races. In fact, he won four out of five from 2002-04, before winning again in March 2006. Look out for Kevin Harvick, who has one win (April 2005) and nine top 5s in 16 starts. Last year, Harvick was runner-up to Jeff Burton — losing by .588 seconds and wiping out Tony Stewart (267 laps led) — in March before finishing fourth in August. Greg Biffle has never won at Bristol, but he has seven top 10s in 12 races and could be one big break (or wreck) away from checkers.

Getting around the track

Since Bristol was repaved and variable banking was installed in 2007, drivers have had the choice of two distinct grooves to utilize. Having a car that handles well in the center of the corner off is a key to working through the pack. Track position is a key as well. As the race winds down, most crew chiefs opt for position over new tires, as getting through traffic quickly is next to impossible.

Classic Bristol Moment

In what proves to be one of the most dominating performances in Bristol history, Bobby Allison leads 458 of 500 laps and whips the field by over four laps in the 1972 Southeastern 500 at what was then known as Bristol International Speedway. Allison wins the pole for the event and swaps the lead with Bobby Isaac, Coo Coo Marlin and Richard Petty during pit stops over the course of the first 186 laps. However, after Allison assumes the lead on lap 187, he blasts away from his closest competitors and runs away with the victory. A 26-year old Richard Childress makes his first career Bristol start. Driving a self-owned No. 96 Chevrolet, Childress qualifies 28th and finishes 18th, the last car left running in the 30-car field.

Who to watch for

Looking at Checkers: Kyle Busch has led 489 laps at Bristol over the last three years. Pretty Solid Pick: Clint Bowyer has averaged a 5.25-place finish over the last four races. Good Sleeper Pick: How's Aric Almirola grab ya? Runs on Seven Cylinders: A rare track that Jimmie Johnson can't be trusted on. Insider Tip: RCR pilots Bowyer, Burton and Harvick are typically top 10ers here.
Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola

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