One of the shortest, loudest, and most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit, Bristol Motor Speedway is a venue unto itself. With its steep banking, concrete surface, two pit roads, and surround seating, Bristol is unlike all other tracks.

As a result, in addition to all the standard metrics we normally consult . . .

  • Projected finishing position
  • Starting position
  • Short- and long-run practice times
  • Year-to-date performance
  • Short-track history

. . . track-specific history is important this week: How drivers have performed at Bristol in the past is predictive of how they are likely to do at the Food City 500.


Because of its steep banking in particular, Bristol is a high-variance track. It’s not as random as the restrictor-plate tracks of Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, but cars at Bristol go faster than they ordinarily do at other tracks of similar size and length, so we should expect to see an elevated degree of randomness in the race. With that in mind, the drivers I’m highlighting are those with significant plus odds.

Per usual, I rely on the machine learning statistical models and similarity scores at RotoViz. For more on the race, check out the podcast I recorded this week with Nick Giffen (RotoDoc).

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