BRISTOL, Tenn – Heading into this weekend, the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway seemed like a track that we should see Chip Ganassi strong again. For whatever reason, it’s a place that just suits the current drivers’ driving style. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that both drivers enter this weekend trending up as well.
Kyle Larson has four top 10 finishes in his last five Bristol starts including a runner-up in both races last year. He led 202, 70, 200 and 17 laps respectively between 2017 and 2018. Also, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has four top eight finishes in his last five starts on the season and six top 10’s in his last eight overall. He’s really starting to find his stride.
KANSAS CITY, KS – OCTOBER 21: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, speaks with Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 21, 2017 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
He’s now +71 in the playoff standings and looking like not only is he going to make the postseason but he can make some noise in it too.
His teammate Kurt Busch is arguably one of the best drivers to ever race on the half mile track. He won already this season in the last primetime event at Kentucky in July. He is the defending race winner of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race too. He finished runner-up to brother Kyle in the spring race as well. Kyle, finished runner-up to Kurt last month in Kentucky.
The elder Busch has three top five finishes in his last four Bristol starts overall.
While all that is good, both drivers struggled in practice on Friday in terms of long run pace. Larson, was 10th and sixth respectively on the speed charts in single lap runs but Bristol isn’t about one lap, it’s about 500. We’ve seen some long green flag runs in the past. On the 10 lap average chart, Larson was just 11th and 15th respectively.
Busch, was 15th and 21st respectively.
If they can make the changes in the setups for good longer run pace, then watch out.