NASCAR Preview: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the 'The Last Great Colosseum.' Who will win?

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is back at Bristol Motor Speedway. With three races remaining in the regular season of the Cup Series, the opportunity for drivers who have not qualified for the playoffs is rapidly ending. Drivers trying to secure one of the coveted 16 playoff spots available have one simple goal—win and get in.

Thanks to NASCAR’s Big Three collectively winning 17 out of 23 races this season, only eight drivers have secured a spot in the playoffs. That list includes Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Erik Jones, and Chase Elliott. So far, this season has seen two first-time NASCAR Cup Series winners in both Jones and Elliott.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule:

Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race: (Follow live)
The Place: Bristol Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, August 18
The Time: Approximately 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 266.5 miles (500 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 125), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 250), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

Trackside Live: (Watch live)
4 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET
Press Pass: (Watch live)
2 p.m. ET: Charlotte Motor Speedway
10:30 p.m. ET: Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race broadcast


Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer, Speed)

1. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 127.792
2. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 127.665
3. Kyle Busch, Toyota, 127.639
4. Paul Menard, Ford, 127.605
5. William Byron, Chevrolet, 127.554
6. Kevin Harvick, Ford, 127.039
7. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 126.896
8. Aric Almirola, Ford, 126.880
9. Kurt Busch, Ford, 126.863
10. Ryan Blaney, Ford, 126.762
11. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 126.253
12. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ford, 125.988
13. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 125.922
14. Erik Jones, Toyota, 125.856
15. David Ragan, Ford, 125.691
16. Clint Bowyer, Ford, 125.675
17. Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota, 125.650
18. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 125.592
19. Joey Logano, Ford, 125.461
20. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 125.404
21. Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 125.363
22. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 125.117
23. Trevor Bayne, Ford, 125.068
24. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 124.347
25. A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 124.897
26. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 124.387
27. Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 124.315
28. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 124.210
29. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 124.066
30. Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 123.937
31. Michael McDowell, Ford, 123.682
32. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 123.261
33. Jesse Little, Toyota, 122.310
34. J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 121.798
35. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 121.767
36. Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 121.274
37. Timmy Hill, Toyota, 120.816
38. Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 120.687
39. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 120.407
40. Blake Jones, Toyota, 119.173
41. B.J. McLeod, Ford, 120.611

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's White Chocolate Toyota, stands by his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Past 10 Winners at Bristol Motor Speedway

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2008, Carl Edwards, Ford
2009, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2010, Kyle Busch, Toyota
2011, Brad Keselowski, Dodge
2012, Denny Hamlin, Toyota
2013, Matt Kenseth, Toyota
2014, Joey Logano, Ford
2015, Joey Logano, Ford
2016, Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
2017, Kyle Busch, Toyota

NASCAR held its first Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1961. Since opening, the Cup series has raced at the .533-mile course twice a year. The past 10 winners above represent the second race of the year at Bristol.

Kurt and Kyle for the Win

The brothers have dominated at Bristol. Kurt and Kyle Busch have shown the pace all year which could translate into capturing another win at one of NASCAR’s most celebrated short tracks. Kyle, who has six race wins this season, is no stranger to getting it done at Bristol, the track known as "The World's Fastest Half-Mile." His NASCAR Cup resume at the Tennessee oval includes seven wins, 10 top-fives, 15 top-10s, and two poles in 26 starts. Older brother Kurt Busch also has an impressive stat sheet at the high-banking short track; his stats include five wins in 35 race starts, 10 top \-fives, 17 top-10s, and one pole.

Both brothers qualified in the top-10 for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol. Will it be good enough to hold on for another win at the half-mile short track known for a high amount of yellow-flag caution laps or will one of the young guns steal a win? With Kyle Larson on pole, Chase Elliott starting from P2, and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron from P5, there are a few young guys poised to conquer “The Last Great Colosseum.”