* 400-point cut-off still might be factor in determining "Chase" field * 11th-place points-fund payout another serious incentive Record payout, New York appearance await 11th-place finisher ... Here are some numbers that do...
* 400-point cut-off still might be factor in determining "Chase" field
* 11th-place points-fund payout another serious incentive
Record payout, New York appearance await 11th-place finisher ... Here are some numbers that do not lie: this season's 11th-place finisher in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings will receive a record point-fund payout of approximately $970,000. That includes a $250,000 bonus. This payout will be approximately $400,000 more than the 11th-place finisher received in 2003. Finishing 11th also will earn the driver an invitation to the Dec. 3 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York.
Just the stats ... Three drivers have scored top-10 finishes in each of the last five Bristol races: Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie Ford), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 (GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) and Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford). Busch has won four of the last five races at Bristol and has led in all five races. Busch has only seven Bristol starts ... Series points leader Jeff Gordon have five wins and 15 top-10 finishes in 23 Bristol races; he has led in 17 of those 23. ... Starting near the front at Bristol is conducive to staying near the front. Forty-eight of 87 premier series races at Bristol have been won from the first four starting positions (56 %). Only 14 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10. ... Busch has won the last three Bristol races but that's a light year from the record of seven consecutive BMS wins by Darrell Waltrip (1981 spring race, through 1984 spring race). Waltrip holds the all-time record for BMS wins, with 12. ... At any return to Bristol, it's worth recalling Rusty Wallace's history at that half-mile. Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) leads active drivers in BMS victories (nine), top fives (21) and laps led (3,498).
Contingency Corner ... Last weekend at Michigan, Jeff Gordon won the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award with a speed of 186.374 mph on lap 2. It was almost a repeat performance: During the June event at Michigan, Gordon also won the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award with a race-high time on lap 6. And now, Gordon comfortably leads the season standings in the award. He's won the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award six times. Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) and Kasey Kahne both have won the award three times this season.
Manufacturers' Championship update Ford gains ground ... Greg Biffle's (No. 16 National Guard Ford) victory this past Sunday at Michigan gave Ford a needed boost in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Manufacturers' Championship standings. Chevrolet still leads, but the spread is down to 23 points -- 168 to 145. Dodge is third with 124 points. Ford may gain more ground this week. Fords have won seven of the last nine Bristol races, sweeping both races in 2000 and '03 along with winning the first race there in 2001 and '02.
"There is a lot of side-by-side racing and a lot of guys are racing to get into the top 10, so I don't foresee too much giving and taking going on. But, that's Bristol and you just have to go in there elbows up, hard-nosed and be ready to race the hardest race of your life." -- Elliott Sadler "Hopefully, we can give Mark another good car and we can have a solid day and stay out of trouble. If we do that, I think we can have a good run. We tested there a couple of weeks ago and we liked what we saw. We just can't wait to get back out there and hopefully make a run for the victory." -- Pat Tryson, Mark Martin's crew chief.
"I want a Bristol win really bad on my resume, because it's hard to win there and we've been so close. We're capable of doing it. We've just got to put the pieces together and not make any mistakes." -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The first event at Bristol was held on July 30, 1961. The plan originally called for the half-mile track to be called Piney Flats Raceway, named for the actual location of the track. However the name Bristol International Raceway was finally settled upon. The name was later changed to Bristol Motor Speedway after the track was purchased by Bruton Smith.
The inaugural Bristol race was known as the Volunteer 500 and it immediately became a summer classic. The race featured a 42-car starting field made up of the greatest stars of the day. "Golden Boy" Fred Lorenzen sat on the pole with his Holman-Moody Ford, turning a speed of 79.225 mph. Mountain man Junior Johnson was on the outside of the front row. The second row held 1960 Rookie of the Year David Pearson driving Ray Fox's Pontiac with an up-and-coming young Richard Petty in a family-owned Plymouth starting outside. Journeyman driver Johnny Allen, who dropped out on lap 106 due to a broken axle, was pressed into service as a substitute for Jack Smith, who had to seek treatment for feet burned by heat coming through the floorboard of his Pontiac, with a three-lap lead. Allen went on to win the event.
Smith and Allen split $3,025 in prize money for winning the 500-lapper. It was the first of several races at Bristol which would have co-winners.
This event featured the three Utsman brothers, Sherman, Dub and Layman, from nearby Johnson City, Tennessee. It was the first time three members of one family had competed in a NASCAR race since the Flock brothers in the early 1950s.
What: Sharpie 500. (Race No. 24 of the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.)
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tenn.
When: Saturday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. (ET).
TV: TNT, 7 p.m. (ET).
Radio: PRN/XM Satellite.
Posted awards: $5,820,438.
Race length: 500 laps/267 miles.
Track layout: .533-mile oval.
2003 winner: Kurt Busch.
2003 polesitter: Jeff Gordon.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Jeff Gordon 3,254. 2. Jimmie Johnson 3,186. 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3,115. 4. Tony Stewart 3,089. 5. Matt Kenseth 3,018. 6. Kurt Busch 2,909. 7. Elliott Sadler 2,864. 8. Kevin Harvick 2,832. 9. Bobby Labonte 2,799. 10. Kasey Kahne 2,792.