SHARE


Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Fresh off a thrilling restart finish in Michigan, the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series hits one of its most dramatic races of the season at Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on none other than Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. 

Those in charge couldn’t have penned a better run to the playoffs, not with Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson sparring it out for checkered flags as of late while notables such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano continue to scratch and claw for a playoff berth. 

The night race at Bristol is one of the sport’s most coveted wins, and the event requires a fine balance between aggressiveness and patience. 

After a long journey here with unexpected developments thanks to the stage format, it’s not hyperbole to say this is one of the most anticipated Bristol night races in a long time. 

            

Viewing Details

Where: Bristol Motor Speedway

When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports

Tickets: StubHub.com 

            

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

  • AJ Allmendinger
  • Aric Almirola
  • Austin Dillon
  • Brad Keselowski
  • Carl Long
  • Chase Elliott
  • Chris Buescher
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Cole Whitt
  • Corey LaJoie
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Danica Patrick
  • Daniel Suarez
  • David Ragan
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Erik Jones
  • Gray Gaulding
  • Jamie McMurray
  • Jeffrey Earnhardt
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • JJ Yeley
  • Joey Gase
  • Joey Logano
  • Kasey Kahne
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kurt Busch
  • Kyle Busch
  • Kyle Larson
  • Landon Cassill
  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Matt DiBenedetto
  • Matt Kenseth
  • Michael McDowell
  • Paul Menard
  • Reed Sorenson
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Ryan Newman
  • TBA
  • Trevor Bayne
  • Ty Dillon

            

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Standings

1. Martin Truex Jr. 933
2. Kyle Larson 804
3. Jimmie Johnson 592
4. Brad Keselowski 720
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 505
6. Kyle Busch 797
7. Kevin Harvick 787
8. Denny Hamlin 710
9. Ryan Blaney 592
10. Kurt Busch 554
11. Ryan Newman 536
12. Kasey Kahne 438
13. Austin Dillon 436
14. Chase Elliott 685
15. Jamie McMurray 675
16. Matt Kenseth 654
ESPN.com.

         

Drivers to Watch

Kyle Larson

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

As we noted a week ago, Larson entered Michigan as one of the top names to watch despite a miserable three weeks leading up to the event because it is one of his best tracks overall.

Right on cue, Larson rediscovered his form and stole a win from Truex off a late restart.

As NBC captured, Larson put on one of the restarts of the year: 


“I was running a few options through my head if I got a good jump, that was one of them, and it worked out,” Larson said, according to USA Today‘s Heather Tucker. “We weren’t as good the last two times we won (at Michigan), but we got some good restarts, persevered and got it done. It’s a week I’ll never forget.”

Now sitting on three wins this season, Larson reassumes the mantle as a dangerous driver to watch ahead of the playoffs. The odd streak of three finishes at 23rd or worse ends in emphatic fashion, though now he needs to go out and prove the win isn’t an anomaly simply because he suited up at a track he happens to love. 

Whether Larson can retain the same form will have quite the interesting ripple effect on the rest of the playoff standings. 

          

Kevin Harvick

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Remember Kevin Harvick?

Harvick sits in a similar position to the one Logano found himself in a week ago—he’s had a string of odd performances heading into a track he happens to post strong performances at each time out.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has finished outside of the top 10 in two events and counting, a run of bad luck that ended four consecutive performances in the top 10, giving him 14 on the season. 

While Harvick isn’t in major trouble on the leaderboard thanks to his lone win at Sonoma back in late June, a win would work wonders for his momentum and help him tune out the noise surrounding him right now. 

Said noise, of course, was a bit of a self-inflicted wound after Harvick made a comment about Earnhardt, which Fox summarized well: 


Meaning, Harvick couldn’t ask for a better track to hit this Sunday as he seeks to put everything behind him. He won this event a year ago on the back of 128 led laps despite starting 24th. 

A checkered flag isn’t a necessity for Harvick this weekend, though it’d go a long way toward changing the conversation and limiting his distractions ahead of the postseason. 

          

Joey Logano

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Thanks to a penalty earlier this season, Logano has a win to his name but doesn’t qualify for the playoffs.  

The situation makes for one of NASCAR’s more interesting storylines, though the driver of the No. 22 Ford for Penske Racing hasn’t exactly lived up to his end of the deal by finishing 24th or worse in each of his last three outings. 

Those hoping Logano can make a playoff push as the season winds down, though, can rejoice—he happens to know a thing or two about winning at Bristol. 

In fact, Logano has won this event in two out of the past three seasons, landing 10th during Harvick’s triumph a year ago. He hasn’t been shy about addressing his success at the track, either. 

“Bristol is probably one of our best racetracks, especially in the fall race,” Logano said, according to NASCAR.com.

Logano will need to rediscover some of the form that has propelled him to wins at Bristol in the past. Last week, starting second and landing 28th by the end of the race wasn’t a great look, to say the least. 

As fans can tell, though, a small drought isn’t uncommon for the sport’s biggest names this year. And Logano has to hope he can follow in the footsteps of others and emerge from it with a win—his playoff chances hinge on it. 

          

Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. 



Source link

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY