NASCAR Bristol Saturday Night Race Preview – Kyle Busch Favored
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
It’s round two at Bristol as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits the famed short track for the second time in the 2018 season. The Bass Pro NRA Night race is set for Saturday evening under the lights at a track where oddsmakers seem to have a clear favorite in the form of Kyle Busch.
The driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing is listed at +300 heading into the weekend's action. And there’s a good reason for Busch to be the frontrunner – he’s won the last two races at the track including grabbing the pole for the spring Bristol race earlier this season.
Plus, he’s won seven times at the track over his Cup Series career with 10 top-five and 15 top-ten finishes. He’s also won 9 Xfinity Series races and 4 Camping World Truck Series races at Bristol. That’s a total of 20 checkered flags for Busch at the East Tennessee Track.
So, Busch being the favorite of oddsmakers is no surprise. Especially when you factor in his six wins so far in 2018. What is surprising is that the rest of the top-ten has shuffled a bit as Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Ford for Stewart – Haas Racing, is not listed as second behind Busch.
Harvick and Busch have been swapping the top spot over the last month, or more, as the two have won a combined 13 races this season. But, this weekend it's Kyle Larson who’s second at +375 with Harvick at +450 in the third spot. Here’s a look at the shuffled top-ten drivers favored at Bristol.
Martin Truex Jr.
Harvick losing a spot to Larson, driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Chip Ganassi Racing, this weekend stands out because Harvick has seven wins in 2018 and two wins at Bristol. His last win at the track was at the nigh race in the 2016 season. Larson has yet to win this season and he’s never won at Bristol in a Cup Series or Xfinity Series race.
Other Bristol Winners in the Field
The Bristol Cup Series race will have several drivers that have won there in the past racing on Saturday night. As mentioned above, Both Busch and Harvick have 9 combined wins at the facility in the Cup Series. Other active Cup Series drivers with Bristol Checkered flags are as follows.
2002, 2003, 2003, 2004, 2006
2005, 2006, 2013, 2015,
*Matt Kenseth is not entered in the race as he is swapping seat time with Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Ford for Roush-Fenway Racing.
Futures for the Bristol Night Race
Martin Truex Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
As of the writing of this article, there were two cars listed in the field without drivers attached to them. Both the No. 51 and No. 52 Chevrolets for Rick Ware Racing have their drivers listed as TBA.
NASCAR Weekend Viewing Guide:
All three series are at Bristol this weekend. The NASCAR Camping World Truck series raced on Thursday night in primetime on FX1 with Johnny Sauter taking the Checkered flag. The NASCAR Xfinity race is set for Friday night with the Monster Energy Cup Series race running on Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon. All times eastern.
Friday, August 17
• 10:35 – 11:55 a.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN) • 12:40 – 1:50 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN) • 3:40 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN • 5:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting • 5:40 p.m. – Cup qualifying (NBCSN, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) • 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity Race Food City 300 (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Saturday, August 18
• 7:30 p.m. – Cup race; 500 laps/266.5 miles (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)