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Bristol 101: Busch brothers have the track record, but Hamlin is hot

The Busch brothers will get plenty of attention entering the Bristol Night Race at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday (NBCSN, NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), and deservedly so with 14 victories between them on the famed short track. But it’s Denny Hamlin who comes in scorching hot with top-five finishes in each of his past five races, including a win at Pocono.

RELATED: Bristol schedule

It’s the longest top-five streak of Hamlin’s career, according to Racing Insights, and the longest top-five streak by any driver in the 2019 season. Hamlin has one win at Bristol, coming in the 2012 night race. It’s been a while, but perhaps this is the time Hamlin keeps the Busch brothers out of Victory Lane.

Here is the rest of the need-to-know information for the Bristol Night Race.


Bristol Motor Speedway is a 0.533-mile concrete oval with 26- to 30-degree banking in the turns and 6- to 10-degree banking in the straightaways. The first NASCAR race at Bristol was July 30, 1961. Jack Smith beat Fireball Roberts by more than two laps in a 1961 Pontiac, but Johnny Allen relieved Smith after 290 laps and the two shared the payday.


Bristol will employ the 2019 baseline rules package, which includes a taller, 8-inch by 61-inch rear spoiler, a larger front splitter and a wider radiator pan. For short tracks like Bristol, the aero ducts are not used, and the larger tapered spacer is in play giving engines about 750 horsepower.

Goodyear notes that each team will be allotted three sets of Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials for practice, one set for qualifying and nine sets for the race (eight race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying or practice). Unlike most other NASCAR short tracks, teams are required to run inner liners in their right-side tires at Bristol.

PJ1 will be used at Bristol this weekend to give drivers an additional racing groove. At Bristol, PJ1 will be applied to the bottom lane. Goodyear, NASCAR and the track will monitor the track condition throughout the weekend.


— Looking for an upset? Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has had six top-10 finishes in the last 11 races at Bristol and finished runner-up twice.

— Jimmie Johnson owns the best average finish at Bristol over the past 11 races at 8.45. Joey Logano is second at 10.55.

— Martin Truex Jr. has an average finish of 20.93 in 27 starts at Bristol and only one top-10 finish there in the past 14 races.

Source: Racing Insights


This week’s race will air live at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBCSN and will be streamed on the NBC Sports App. Radio coverage can be found on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Also, follow along on for live Lap-by-Lap coverage, the live leaderboard, Drive (featuring in-car cameras) and RaceView (subscription: in-car audio, stats, more). Be sure to set your lineup in Fantasy Live and make your picks in the Props Challenge.


Four drivers led more laps than him, but Kurt Busch came away with his sixth Bristol win to lock into the playoffs. Kurt won despite his brother Kyle making an improbable run from the back of the pack after a Lap 2 incident left his No. 18 Toyota crumpled. Kurt Busch, who was driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, finished .367 seconds ahead of Kyle Larson, while Kyle Busch ended up 20th.


Kyle Busch, eight times; Kurt Busch, six times; Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano, two times apiece; Denny Hamlin, one time.