Nascar makes it next stop at the Food City 500 this weekend, as the top drivers will try to own the track at the Bristol Motor Speedway. A track known for drivers having run-ins regularly, we may be in for a hectic (though entertaining) race on Sunday (especially with 80% chance of rain). Of course, with any track that offers up extra chances at crashes or spin-outs, it should temper our expectations a bit for some of the favorites dominating the field.
That being said, there are definitely some drivers to follow leading into the weekend, so let’s break down the favorites, as well as our pick to win the Food City 500:
Favorites: Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch
These are easily the top favorites to win this weekend, and for a variety of reasons. If you’re looking for the guy who has had the recent success who could make it happen it might be Keselowski, who has claimed first in two of the last six races at Bristol. Harvick is another guy who has had a ton of success here, though, as he’s finished inside the top 10 12 times in 28 races, while he’s also driven well so far in 2015. He’d be looking for his third win of 2015 to add to his first place spot in the Sprint Cup Series.
Kenseth is the laps king, as he dominated the track last year and also has finished inside the top 10 at Bristol a staggering 10 times. Johnson is routinely one of the fastest drivers and won the race back in 2010, so he should be in contention again, while Busch has earned the King of Bristol nickname thanks to a ridiculous five wins in this event.
Dark Horses: Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Justin Allgaier
Gordon is wrapping up a brilliant career in 2015 so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go out on top in a number of races. He enjoyed a great 2014 and has been driving well again this year, so he could easily turn up with his sixth career win at Bristol. Stewart is another veteran driver who could see his luck turn around this weekend. He’s found himself inside the top five twice in his last eight runs at Bristol and he really could use a big win. This race could do the trick. Allgaier is a super sleeper that seems to be getting closer and closer, as he has cracked the top 20 at Bristol in each of the past two years. This could finally be the year he takes the crown.
Drivers to Avoid: Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman
Patrick has actually been really good lately but she has a rough history at Bristol, specifically. She has the talent to make a run, but her battles with the track probably keep her from being a serious candidate this year. Newman is a solid driver, but inconsistency kills him. He’s been pretty erratic at Bristol in particular, which is why he’s a top racer to avoid.
Our Pick: Kurt Busch
He’s not the King of Bristol for nothing. Busch is as fine a driver as they come and he’s enjoyed terrific success at this track. We like Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon a lot, as well, but Busch has the resume to push himself over the top.