Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee holds two races annually, dating back to 1961. However, in recent years, the Bristol Night race has taken on a life of its own.
From the time that the second race was changed from a day race to a night race, it has held several memorable races.
In the mid-1990s, Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte tangled not once but twice in the Bristol night race, creating two memorable finishes.
Due to the combination of high banks and high speeds (for a half-mile), the race usually involves several cars that have at least one or two donuts (tire marks from other cars) on them.
Through the years, several drivers have found victory lane multiple times at Bristol, especially in the second race there. Darrell Waltrip leads all drivers in second-race wins there with seven. Cale Yarbrough is close behind with five.
Of the active drivers, it has been either Roush or a Kyle Busch who have come to dominate the night race at Bristol. Since 2005, the winners of the night race have come from one of those two names.
From 2005 to 2008, Roush-owned cars won the night race with Matt Kenseth winning the events in 2005 and 2006 and Carl Edwards prevailing the next two years.
Since 2009, though, it has been Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota who has won the event.
Toyota’s only victories in the night race have come from Kyle Busch—thus they have only won two of the second events at the track known as Thunder Valley.
General Motors cars (Buick, Pontiac and Chevrolet) have had the most success in the night race at Bristol with 25 wins in the event. However, some did come before the second race was moved to a night race.
Ford is a close second with 17 wins. Dodge, however, has five wins in their products (Dodge and Plymouth) but the last time a Dodge won the second race at Bristol was back in 1975 when Richard Petty found victory lane.
Oldsmobile has one victory at the track in 1978.
For those of you keeping track at home, there have been 50 editions of the second Bristol race.
Since Bristol is just .533 miles long, track position is very key, as the average starting position for the race winner has been 5.8.
Pole winners don’t have too much of an advantage at the track for the second race since only 24 percent of them have found victory lane from starting in the first position.
Passing is not impossible at the track, but as stats will show, it's close to that. The furthest back a person has started to win the second Bristol race was back in 2004 (it’s also the last time a Chevrolet won the Bristol night race) when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won starting from in the 30th position.
The last two years, Kyle Busch has moved his way up from a mid-pack starting position winning from the 15th and 19th starting positions.
This year’s Bristol Night race will air on ABC starting at 7:30 P.M. EST. Radio hosts for the race will be PRN starting their broadcast at 6:30 P.M. EST
Stats in this article were found with the help of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup media guide
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