Joey Logano – Joey Logano will be a good fantasy NASCAR pick to win the Bristol Food City 500. Since Bristol was reconfigured Logano has been one of the best drivers. In the five races on the current layout he has the 2nd best driver rating, a 10.2 average finish and has led 228 laps. One attribute that’s helped him over this stretch is his qualifying prowess. Over this stretch he’s started in the top ten every race and has a 5.8 average starting position. Last August Joey Logano had a clutch performance and reeled in Matt Kenseth and held off a hard charging Brad Keselowski at the end to reach victory lane. Also in the race Logano earned the best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led 76 laps. In March 2014 Logano had a very fast car but walked away with a misleading result. In the event he started in 4th, led 12 laps and through the first 90 laps I would estimate his average running position was around 2nd. Then before lap 100 he lost his power steering. That led to him free falling through the field and eventually coming in for a long pit stop to correct the issue. Since the race had a high attrition rate he was able to battle back and finish only 3 laps down in 20th. If he didn’t have that power steering issue I think he would’ve been one of the drivers to beat. In August 2013 he had a very good race at Bristol. He started in 6th and finished 5th. Also in the race he earned the 7th best driver rating. What makes his result remarkable is that the race wasn’t incident free. On lap 107 Kyle Busch got into the wall and Logano had hard contact with him that damaged his right front. In the 2013 Bristol spring race he was extremely competitive. In that race he had a top five car and was running in 2nd around lap 350 until Denny Hamlin spun him. That incident is what fueled the spark that led to Hamlin’s broken back. In the first race on the new surface he had an impressive performance. He qualified 4th, had a 7th place average running position, led 139 laps, finished 8th and earned the second best driver rating. (Yahoo A Driver)
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Kevin Harvick – In 2014 at Bristol Kevin Harvick arguably had the strongest car between the two events. In the combined races he earned the 5th best driver rating and had a 6.5 average running position. His average running position ranks as the second best and that’s amazing when you consider he didn’t complete 53 laps in the spring event. Last August Kevin Harvick had a very strong showing. He started on the pole, earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position, finished 11th and led 75 laps. In the race he performed better than his result. His chance at getting a good finish was dashed on lap 432 under yellow when he got a speeding penalty while running around 7th. If his race was incident free he likely would’ve finished in the top five. In spring 2014 Kevin Harvick had one of the best cars. He started in 27th and by lap 100 he was up to 4th. Between laps 100 and 450 he was a driver who consistently ran in the top 8. I would estimate his average running position over this portion of the race was around 5th. With about 50 laps to go his day went up in smoke, literally when his engine blew up. Despite not completing about a tenth of the race he still earned the 8th best driver rating, had an 8th place average running position and led 28 laps. In August 2013 he had top ten potential but he pitted from the front of the field and got stuck back in traffic. Then late in the race while he was running around 13th he got swept up in the “Big One”. Despite failing to complete 51 laps he had a 13th place average running position, earned the 15th best driver rating, led 7 laps and ran in the top fifteen in 72% percent of the laps completed. In March 2013 his car was slightly better than his 14th place result. In that race he had a 9th place average running position and earned the 8th best driver rating. In the first race on the ground down surface he finished 15th, had a 10th place average running position and earned the 10th best driver rating. In his career at Bristol he has one win (2005) and has finished in the top eleven 57% percent of the time. (Yahoo A Driver)
Matt Kenseth – Matt Kenseth should be on your short list of contenders at Bristol. He gets around “The Last Great Coliseum” as good as anybody. He’s won here three-times and has averaged leading 91.6 laps per race over the last 7 events. Although he has some bad finishes on the current configuration an extremely strong case could be made that he’s been the best overall performer. Between the five races on the current layout he has the best driver rating and has led the most laps. Last August Kenseth had a great car. He finished 3rd, earned the 5th best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position and led 62 laps. His car was extremely fast and ran well on old tires. In spring 2014 he had a great car and his 13th place finish underrates him in my opinion. In terms of his PROS Rankings I have him slated in at #1. Also in the race he earned the best driver rating and led 165 laps. His race wasn’t without adversity. While he was running near the front under caution Timmy Hill ran into the back of him which caused substantial damage to his rear. Fortunately it was mostly cosmetic and nothing was structurally wrong with his car. After it was repaired he was able to drive up to the front again. Then late in the race he got scuffled back because of pit strategy and for whatever reason he couldn’t battle his way to the front again. In 2013 Matt Kenseth had a fast car in both races. In the August 2013 race he took two tires during his final pit stop and held off Kasey Kahne who took four. Also in that race he earned the #1 position in our PROS Rankings, earned the best driver rating, led the most laps and had a 7th place average running position. What really made his performance remarkable is that around the mid-point he got a speeding penalty. In spring 2013 Kenseth finished 35th. That poor result can be attributed to a wreck. In the race he was running in 2nd but leader Jeff Gordon had a flat tire and shot right up the track in Kenseth’s path which led to massive damage to the #20. In that race he started in 12th and cracked the top five in the first 20 laps. Also in the race he led 85 laps and earned the 6th best driver rating. In the first race on the new surface in August 2012 he was good despite his 25th place finish. In that race he had brake line issues which caused him problems early. Later in the race he found himself in the lead and led 25 laps. Then on lap #331 he was battling Tony Stewart for the lead but they took each other out. Prior to that race Kenseth had six consecutive Bristol top ten results. (Yahoo A Driver)