Crunching The Numbers: Food City 500 at Bristol

This weekend’s Food City 500 is at held at the Colosseum of NASCAR; Bristol Motor Speedway. This will mark the third short track race (much to the difference of some NASCAR media that forget that Phoenix International Raceway is a short track) and one of the most anticipated events to fall on the NASCAR schedule. With the tight banking and the 2nd shortest track, Bristol Motor Speedway can be quite unforgiving and is known to cause many feathers to be ruffled.

  • Track Length: 0.533 Miles
    • Scheduled Laps: 334 (501 miles)
  • Track Configuration: Oval
  • Turns 1 – 4 banking: 24°- 30°
  • Straightaways banking: 4°- 9°
    • 650 feet long

Bristol 1 Track Stats

Last year’s Food City 500 gave us a much closer finish than has been seen in recent years. This year, there have to been record breaking finishes; maybe Bristol will add back to that list. It is also worth to note that only 1 race has finished under caution in recent years.

MK Win

2015 Food City 500 Top 5 – 4/19/15

Driver Finish Start
Matt Kenseth 1 1
Jimmie Johnson 2 28
Jeff Gordon 3 23
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 4 25
Ryan Newman 5 18
Tony Stewart 6 21
Kyle Larson 7 14


JL B Win

2015 Irwin Tools Night Race – 8/22/15

Driver Finish Start
Joey Logano 1 5
Kevin Harvick 2 7
Denny Hamlin 3 1
Jimmie Johnson 4 10
Clint Bowyer 5 9


Both races at Bristol in 2015 provided much excitement. Ain’t it funny how the two drivers who had the most heated rivalry last year were the winners of each race? There have been a few bubbling issues with drivers this season already and Bristol is yet another place where things just seem to happen…
Past Food City 500 Pole Sitters


Year Driver Team Finish
2004 Ryan Newman Team Penske 7
2005 Elliott Sadler Roush Fenway Racing 2
2006 Tony Stewart Joe Gibbs Racing 27
2007 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 3
2008 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 18
2009 Mark Martin Hendrick Motorsports 6
2010 Joey Logano Joe Gibbs Racing 27
2011 Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Racing 2
2012 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing 13
2013 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing 2
2014 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 6
2015 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing 1
  • Pole winners have an average finish of 9.5
  • Average laps lead: 41.25 laps
    • 8.25% of the scheduled 500 lap race

Past Food City 500 Winners

  • The average race winner’s starting position is 9.83
    • Kurt Busch won in 2007 from starting P29, which is the furthest back a race winner has started
    • The Brothers Busch have won 41.67% of races
  • 8.83% of pole winners have gone on to win the race
    • Matt Kenseth: 2015
  • 32.33% of the winners have come from starting in the top 5
  • 50% of the winners have come from starting in the top 10
  • P12 and P13 are the most common starting positions for the race winner
  • Winning drivers have lead an average of 114.42 laps (22.88% of the scheduled 500 lap race)
    • Fewest laps led by race winner: Jeff Burton led 2 laps (0.40% of the scheduled 500 lap race) in 2008
    • Most laps led by a race winner: Kyle Busch led 378 laps (75.60% of the race) in 2009
  • There have been 9 different race winners from 5 different teams since 2004
    • Kyle Busch is leader of multiple wins with 3


The background of race stats and high level winner/pole sitter stats is now complete. That information will help guide the prediction for the race on Sunday afternoon. Of course, we know that manufacturers and teams can have a say in the performance.

Bristol 1 Manufacturers

Bristol 1 Team Stats

Chevrolet and Toyota and currently battling back and forth with who is better, with Toyota now having the upper hand. When it comes to the Food City 500, Chevrolet holds the top spot there. Chevrolet is anchored this season by Hendrick Motorsports and Toyota has Joe Gibbs Racing to thank for their success. That story remains the exact same when it comes to the Food City 500; when  you look at Bristol as a whole, Joe Gibbs Racing runs the roost.

Bristol 1 Predictions

Bristol 1 Past Finishes

We see some of the younger guys showing their race when it comes to this tough short track; Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. run quite well at Bristol even with their short resume here. These drivers have also made it know they are improved and ready to consistently run up front and content for victories. With all the bruises Bristol is poised to inflict, if these young gentlemen can keep their composure, they might just find themselves taking the spotlight away from the favorites of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. A changing of the guards might just be in order.



Ashley Hobbs

Birthday: 9 March 1989 (so I do not have to update my age each year)
Location: Florida (Jersey native, born and raised)

What better way to combine 2 of my favorite things, NASCAR and statistics, than providing y'all with an analytical report each weekend during the NASCAR season.

When I am not crunching the numbers, I spend time with my hubby, 3 black cats (Ninja, Daytona, and Chronos), and I watch too much TV, especially Doctor Who. Why yes, I am a geek and proud! So join forces with me and follow my weekly Crunching The Numbers segment. Who knows, I may surprise you!

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