NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series heads for its second short-track race in three weeks as teams prepare for the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” in Bristol, Tenn.
If Sunday’s race is anything like the previous two, race officials should hand over the gladiator-style battle-sword race prize to Kyle Busch right now.
Busch led 386 laps at Martinsville and Texas en route to back-to-back victories. He will try to become the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 1998-99 to win three consecutive races in back-to-back seasons. Busch won at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis last season,
Bristol’s green flag will fly about 1 p.m. ET.
That said, here are 10 things to know about the Food City 500.
1. Super Busch brothers
Kurt and Kyle might be the ones to beat Sunday in Thunder Valley. Each has five career wins at the 0.533-mile track, tied for the most among active drivers.
In his 30 starts at Bristol, Kurt has eight top fives and 15 top 10s. His 13.3 average running position and 92.7 driver rating rank fifth among active drivers.
For Kyle, Bristol is where he’s had the most success. In addition to the five wins, he has the top average finish (12.0), most laps led (1,704, 16.2 percent) and second-best driver rating (101.3) among active drivers at the track.
2. Top drivers at Bristol
Top 10 active driver ratings at Bristol
Matt Kenseth, 102.5
Kyle Busch, 101.3
Brad Keselowski, 94.1
Kevin Harvick, 93.3
Jimmie Johnson, 92.7
Kurt Busch, 92.7
Kyle Larson, 92.4
Carl Edwards, 91.7
Greg Biffle, 90.9
Denny Hamlin, 89.5
2013: Kasey Kahne
2011: Kyle Busch
3. Short track kings
Top five drivers at short tracks since 2014 (13 races)
Joey Logano: Three wins, nine top 10s, four poles, 864 laps led, 10.54 average finish, 109.6 driver rating.
Kevin Harvick: Six top 10s, one pole, 594 laps led, 15.00 average finish, 107.6 driver rating.
Matt Kenseth: Two wins, eight top 10s, one pole, 755 laps led, 14.00 average finish, 104.3 driver rating.
Kyle Busch: One win, five top 10s, one pole, 656 laps led, 12.30 average finish, 102. driver rating (10 races).
Brad Keselowski: One win, seven top 10s, one pole, 757 laps led, 15.00 average finish, 101.0 driver rating
4. Quick track facts
— Paul Menard (17 starts) leads the Cup series in starts with the fewest DNFs (0).
— The race winner started from the pole 23 times (20.9 percent), the most productive starting position. The most recent driver to win from the pole was Matt Kenseth (Spring 2015).
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with 32 starts. NASCAR’s most popular driver has one win, seven top fives, 15 top 10s and an average finish of 11.95 at Bristol.
— Twelve of the past 15 Cup races (80 percent) that have ended under green at Bristol Motor Speedway have a margin of victory of less than a second.