Fantasy Win Odds for the 2013 Bristol Night Race
NASCAR pulls into the Blue Ridge Mountains for Saturday night's race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch is the runaway favorite and for good reason. He's already completed step one of the trifecta by winning the Camping World Truck series race. He'll be a part of both Friday night's Nationwide race and Saturday's main event Cup series run. Can Kyle pull a three-pete once again or will someone else rise to the challenge? The odds don't favor the field in this one.
Before going any further, a quick note. We'll be looking at the statistics over the past ten races, all courtesy of racing-reference.com. Going any further back takes us into fourth generation cars and a completely different race environment in terms of competition on the track. We're also in no way advocating gambling in any way shape or form. These odds are purely for informational purposes only. The Bristol night race featured several blasts of the chrome horn last year in addition to Tony Stewart's outstanding helmet toss. Will the 2013 version be as entertaining?
2012 Night Race Crash Between Stewart and Kenseth
Read Up on NASCAR's History at Bristol
Driver: Kyle Busch
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Odds of Winning: 2-5
If offered Kyle Busch or the field, this is the weekend to take Kyle Busch. He's on the verge of locking up a Chase spot. He won the Truck race Wednesday night at Bristol in addition to the Watkins Glen cup race two weeks ago. Oh, and by the way, he's won four of the last ten Bristol races, led over 27% of the laps during that time period and has an average finish nine slots higher than he's started. There's simply no reason to believe that Busch will not dominate again Saturday night and punch his ticket for NASCAR's playoffs.
Driver: Brad Keselowski
Team: Penske Racing
Odds of Winning: 5-1
If for whatever reason Busch doesn't win the race, there's a very good chance that Brad Keselowski will do the honors. He's run seven races at Bristol so far and won two of them (with another being a top five finish). By qualifying relatively well, Keselowski gives himself a chance to run up front and avoid being caught near the end of the Bristol conveyor belt. At nearly 12%, his percentage of laps led is also impressive. After breaking back into the top ten in points, Keselowski is now looking for a win to both secure his Chase spot and earn those critical bonus points for a win. He may well do it here.
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Odds of Winning: 8-1
Calling Johnson anything but a favorite is difficult at most tracks. Despite only one win in the last ten Bristol races, Johnson has been a steady presence at or near the front of the field. He's led over 15% of the laps (second only to Kyle Busch) and has finished inside of the top five in half of those ten races. Johnson probably won't win the race; the favorites ahead of him have been too strong lately at this track. But he'll be near the front and given the possibility of a Bristol bump and run, that may be all he needs to visit victory lane once again.
Driver: Kurt Busch
Team: Furniture Row Racing
Odds of Winning: 15-1
This has not been one of Richard Childress Racing's stronger tracks and the results have impacted their Furniture Row partners as well. Kurt Busch may well be the one to help turn that luck around. He's won here before. His average finish of 11.9 (including improving his position by 6.3 spots per race, one of the best showings in the field) ranks him third overall in that category over the last five years. He also has a pair of top fives and finishes in the top ten half of the time. Busch is also sitting squarely on the Chase bubble right now and needs a win just to level the playing field against five of the six cars directly behind him in points. Bristol rewards an aggressive driver and Busch is certainly that.
Driver: Ryan Newman
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
Odds of Winning: 25-1
Despite no wins (or top five finishes) at Bristol in the last five years, Ryan Newman has the second highest average finish. He has seven top tens over those ten race. Those solid finishes are in large part due to his qualifying efforts. Newman starts near the front and tends to stay there throughout the race. A win would put him in the driver's seat for a wild card Chase spot; sitting at 15th place, he will need to pass several drivers ahead of him who also have one win to get in as things sit today. Newman may be more likely to gamble at the end as a result.
Driver: Jaime McMurray
Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
Odds of Winning: 40-1
Like Newman, Jaime McMurray likely needs a win (and some help) if he has any ideas of making NASCAR's playoffs this year. Bristol is his best track among the three left before the Chase begins. He has a pair of top fives and five top ten finishes over the last ten races. His average finish of 13.1 is one of the best in the series and represents a four spot gain over where he's started. The lack of laps led at the track is a concern but EGR's equipment has improved and he's running with Hendrick power, something he hasn't had before. Like Newman, he may be one to watch near the end for either a fuel stretch or a bump-and-run.
Driver: Joey Logano
Team: Penske Racing
Odds of Winning: 200-1
Despite winning last Sunday at Michigan, Logano is still a long shot for the Chase and the main reason is his prior performance here at Bristol. Among Chase contenders, no one has a lower average finish than Logano's 21.6. He's run nine of the last ten Bristol races but has only one top ten during that time. He's lost an average of 12.2 spots from his qualifying spot, proving that a starting up front is no guarantee of success at the track. If Logano is going to have a reasonable chance at the Chase he needs to stick as close as he can to teammate Brad Keselowski's bumper all night long.
Driver: Mark Martin
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
Odds of Winning: 100-1
Those calling Martin a good bet to win based on his past performance at Bristol are going too far into his history to find success. He's run six of the last ten races at Bristol and during that timeframe he's averaged a finish of 19.3. That number is 12.3 slots lower than he's started, worse than any other driver starting on Saturday night. He also cannot count on SHR making the difference; the driver he's starting in place of, Tony Stewart, has an average finish of 20.6 during the same timeframe.
Driver: Jeff Burton
Team: Richard Childress Racing
Odds of Winning: 75-1
As noted earlier, Bristol has not been one of Richard Childress Racing's stronger tracks of late. During the last ten races, Burton has an average finish of 20th place and has led a miniscule 0.04% of the laps he's run. His overall performance in 2013 has been underwhelming and he has zero top five finishes here over those ten races. Burton may benefit from having Kurt Busch in the RCR fold given Kurt's success at the track. But there's little reason to believe that this is the race that will break Burton's winless streak.