Cup Series Playoff drivers at Thunder Valley Stats

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Bristol Motor Speedway, a high-banked, concrete, 0.533-mile short track, is one of the most challenging venues the NASCAR Cup Series competes on. And this weekend the famous short track deemed ‘The Last Great Colosseum’ will hold the final race in the Playoff’s Round of 12. Below is a look at the top 16 Playoff contenders and their career performances at Thunder Valley.  

Kevin Harvick currently leads the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings and has secured his spot in the Round of 12 with a victory at Darlington. Harvick has made 39 career starts at Bristol posting one pole, two wins, 12 top fives and 19 top 10s. His average finish at the Tennessean half-mile speedway is 13.7.

Denny Hamlin rests in second in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and has secured his spot in the Round of 12 by clinching on points. Hamlin has made 29 series starts at Bristol putting up four poles, two wins, nine top fives and 14 top 10s. His average finish at Bristol is 14.4.

Brad Keselowski rides in third in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and has secured his spot in the Round of 12 with a win last weekend at Richmond Raceway. The Michigan native is also the most recent winner at Bristol Motor Speedway, taking the checkered flag at the historic track earlier this season. Keselowski has made 21 series starts at Bristol posting three wins, six top fives and seven top 10s. His average finish at Thunder Valley is 16.5.

Joey Logano currently is fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 51 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Logano has finished third in the last two Playoff races (at Darlington and Richmond) and is looking to advance to the Round of 12 like he has the last two seasons (2018, 2019). He has made 23 starts at Bristol posting one pole, two wins, six top fives and 10 top 10s. Logano’s average finish at 0.533-mile track is a 15.3.

Martin Truex Jr. resides in fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 38 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Truex opened the Playoffs with a 22nd-place finish at Darlington and followed that up with a runner-up last weekend at Richmond. Truex has made the Championship 4 round of the Playoffs the last three straight seasons (2017-2019). Truex has made 29 series starts at Bristol posting two top fives and three top 10s. His average finish at the half-mile raceway is 20.6.

Austin Dillon is off to one of the best postseasons of his career, currently sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, a comfortable 36 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Dillion has put up a runner-up finish at Darlington and then a fourth-place result last weekend at Richmond. The North Carolina native has competed in the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs three times (2016, 2017, 2018) prior to 2020 and has only advanced to the Round of 12 once (2016). Dillon has made 13 starts at Bristol posting one top five and three top 10s. His average finish at Thunder Valley is 17.3.

Chase Elliott holds on to the seventh position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs 28 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Elliott finished 20th in the Playoff opener at Darlington and then fifth last weekend at Richmond. The Georgia native has qualified for the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs four times prior to 2020 and has made the Round of 12 all four times. Elliott has made nine starts at Bristol putting up one pole, three top fives and four top 10s. His average finish at ‘The Last Great Colosseum’ is 12.6.

Alex Bowman sits eighth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 27 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Bowman has run well this postseason putting up a sixth-place finish at Darlington and a ninth-place finish at Richmond. Bowman has advanced to the Round of 12 the last two seasons (2018, 2019). The Hendrick Motorsports driver has made nine series starts at Bristol posting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at half-mile speedway is 22.6.  

Kyle Busch, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, clings to ninth in the 2020 Playoff standings with just 18 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Busch kicked-off the Playoffs with a seventh-place finish at Darlington and a sixth-place last weekend at Richmond. Busch is looking to advance to the Round of 12 this weekend to keep his streak of making the Championship 4 round for the sixth consecutive season still a possibility. Busch has made 30 series starts at Bristol posting two poles and a series-leading eight wins (Spring 2007, 2009 sweep, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019). He finished fourth at Bristol earlier this season (May).

Aric Almirola currently is 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, a mere seven points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Almirola has been consistent this postseason finishing ninth at Darlington and eighth at Richmond. The Tampa, Florida ,native has competed in the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs three times (2014, 2018, 2019) prior to the 2020 season and has only advanced out of the Round of 16 once (2018). Almirola has made 22 starts at Bristol posting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish at 0.533-mile track is 25.0. He finished 29th Bristol back in May due to an incident. 

Kurt Busch grips the 11th spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, tied in points with Aric Almirola, a slim seven markers ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Almirola holds the tiebreaker of best finish in the current Playoff round. Busch has finished eighth at Darlington and 13th at Richmond. Busch has made the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs all six previous seasons (2014-2019) but has only advanced out of the Round of 16 three times (2015, 2016, 2018). The Las Vegas, Nevada native has made 39 series starts at Bristol posting one pole, six wins, 12 top fives and 21 top 10s. His average finish at Bristol is 14.0. 

Clint Bowyer hangs on to the 12th and final transfer position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings by a scant three points over the Round of 12 cutoff heading into Bristol this weekend. Bowyer has been consistent this postseason finishing 10th at Darlington and Richmond. Bowyer has qualified for the ‘elimination style’ Playoffs three times prior to 2020 (2015, 2018, 2019) and has advanced out of the Round of 16 the last two seasons (2018, 2019). Bowyer has made 29 series starts at Bristol posting eight top fives and 16 top 10s. His average finish at Thunder Valley is 13.6. He finished runner-up at Bristol earlier this season (May).

William Byron is currently 13th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, just three points outside the Round of 12 cutoff. The 2020 season marks just the second time Byron has made the Playoffs, but in his first postseason appearance last year he advanced to the Round of 12. This year, Byron has started the Playoffs with a fifth-place finish at Darlington and a 21st-place finish last weekend at Richmond.  Byron has made five series starts at Bristol posting one top-10 finish – eighth earlier this season.

Cole Custer, the lone rookie of the 2020 Playoff contenders, sits 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, eight points back from the Round of 12 cutoff. He kicked the postseason off with a 12th-place finish at Darlington and then followed it up with a 14th at Richmond. Custer will have his work cut out for him this weekend as the youngster from California made his series track debut at Bristol earlier this season starting 22nd and finishing 35th due to being involved in an incident.

Matt DiBenedetto’s first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs is off to a slow start. He is currently 15th in the Playoff standings 25 points behind the Round of 12 cutoff. The Wood Brothers Racing star finished the first two races of the Round of 16 in 21st at Darlington and 17th at Richmond. DiBenedetto has made 11 series starts at Bristol posting one top five and two top 10s; including a runner-up finish in the August 2019 race. He was caught in an incident and finished 31st at Bristol earlier this season (May).

Ryan Blaney resides in the 16th position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings, 27 points behind the Round of 12 cutoff. Blaney’s postseason has been wrought with trouble since the start. At Darlington, his No. 12 Ford failed pre-race inspection with an improperly mounted ballast which resulted in a penalty. He finished 24th at Darlington and then 19th last weekend at Richmond. Blaney has made 10 series starts at Bristol posting one top five and four top 10s. His average finish at Bristol 20.7. He finished last (40th) at Bristol earlier this season after being caught in an incident.

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