What to Watch For: Bristol Motor Speedway
By Gray Caldwell
CONCORD, N.C.— On Saturday night, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes on Bristol Motor Speedway.
Before the race, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET, check out some key notes to keep an eye on:
THIS WEEK'S PAINT SCHEMES: This week, Jimmie Johnson reached out to Lowe’s to ask if the longtime partner could switch up his paint scheme from white back to #MyBoyBlue. Lowe’s agreed wholeheartedly. The blue-and-white Lowe's paint scheme first appeared on Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet for the 2012 season and has visited Victory Lane five times since its debut. In addition, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, Jeff Gordon will drive the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will man the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS.
HENDRICK AT BRISTOL: In 195 starts at Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 48 top-five finishes, 89 top-10s and 11 pole positions. Jeff Gordon is tied for first among active drivers with five wins at the track, while Kasey Kahne most recently won this race for the organization in March 2013.
SHORT TRACK POWER: Among active drivers at tracks less than one mile in length, Hendrick Motorsports ranks atop the competition in wins and laps led; Gordon is first in both categories with 16 victories and 8,257 laps led. Jimmie Johnson ranks second in both categories with 12 wins and 3,996 laps led.
GORDON AT BRISTOL: The 43-year old driver is tied for most wins among active drivers (5) while he is the active leader in pole positions (5), top-five finishes (16) and top-10s (24) in 43 Cup starts at the high-banked short track. Gordon is also the active leader in laps led at Bristol with 2,713, which is 1,209 more than second.
JOHNSON AT BRISTOL: In 25 starts at Bristol, Johnson has recorded one win, seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He has an average start and average finish of 15.4. Johnson has led 833 laps and has one pole position at Bristol.
EARNHARDT AT BRISTOL: Earnhardt's 12th-place average finish at Bristol is a personal best for the driver in the Sprint Cup Series. In the last 25 races there, Earnhardt has finished 11th or better 17 times. In 29 Sprint Cup starts there, Earnhardt has scored one win, seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. The 39-year-old driver has completed 99.0 percent of all laps he's attempted (14,364 of 14,516 total) at the short track. He has led 790 laps at the 0.533-mile oval.
KAHNE AT BRISTOL: In 21 Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol, Kahne has one win, five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He also has earned one pole position and has led a total of 472 laps. In this race a year ago, Kahne earned runner-up honors at Bristol after contending for the victory at the historic short track. Most recently at the 0.533-mile track, he led 16 laps and finished eighth in March. In March 2013, he started from the outside pole position and led 109 laps en route to his first victory at Bristol.
TOP-10 FINISHES: Gordon’s 16 top-10s in 2014 are tied with Earnhardt for series-best.