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Bristol 500 Race Preview

Written By Gabriel Tsui, Edited by Meghana Sree

Image credit - Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images

After a dramatic overtime finish in Kansas, where we saw Tyler Reddick win the Kansas 400 by overtaking the leaders on the final lap, we will be heading to Bristol, Tennessee for the final race of the round of 16. Currently Martin Truex Jr, Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Michael McDowell are below the cut line. Can they get enough points to pull through? Or will they be eliminated in the first round?


Track Preview

The Bristol Motor Speedway is located in Bristol, Tennessee. Built in 1961, Bristol is one of the oldest tracks on the NASCAR calendar. Unlike other races run in Bristol, this weekend’s race will be run at night.


Of all sports venues, this track has the fourth largest seating capacity in America and tenth in the world. is 0.533 miles (0.858 kilometers) long, with a banking on the turns of 22-24 degrees. This track also hosts the only dirt race on the calendar, but the cars will run on concrete this weekend.


The weather forecast shows that there will be no rain coming into the weekend. The race will start at 19:30 ET (16:30 PT, 01:30 CEST), on September 17th.


Playoff Lookout

Martin Truex Jr, the regular season champion, is hanging on to the playoff race by a thread, and is seven points behind the cut line. He doesn’t have the best history in Bristol, only having one top five finish in Bristol, in 2011. The Toyotas are not the best in short tracks either, which prompts the question: can he push through and get enough points to go through? Vegas certainly believes so, given he still has the fifth best odds at the championship. We will see this weekend if he will make the transfer, or if he will fall short.


The other driver on the cut line is Kevin Harvick, who is in his final season. Unlike Truex, Harvick is one of the best performers in Bristol. In the 23 seasons he raced in the Cup Series, he has racked up eight top-five finishes in Bristol, with two wins in 2016 and 2020. Currently the odds are stacked against him, but Harvick is nicknamed “The Closer” for a reason. He has clutched up in the most important moments, Phoenix 2006, 2013, 2014, Homestead 2014, and Dover 2015, just to name a few. He might just work his magic again and avoid elimination.



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