Bristol Motor Speedway held its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 1961.
Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race will be the 110th Cup race to be held at the famous East Tennessee short track.
Here’s a plethora of interesting facts about past and present drivers, as well as the track’s storied history:
Bristol Driver Notes & Facts:
· 436 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol; 304 in more than one.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Bristol with 60. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts.
· Jeff Gordon leads (active drivers) the series in average starting position at Bristol with a 7.667.
· Ryan Newman leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol without visiting Victory Lane at 27.
· Paul Menard (16 starts) leads the series in starts with the fewest DNFs (0) at Bristol.
· AJ Allmendinger made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup career start at Bristol (03/25/2007).
· 42 different drivers have won at Bristol, led by Darrell Waltrip (12). Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch each have five wins, the most among active drivers.
· 12 drivers have won consecutive races at Bristol led by Darrell Waltrip with seven consecutive victories from 1981-1984. The other 11 are Fred Lorenzen (1963-1964 sweep), David Pearson (1968 sweep), Bobby Allison (1972 sweep), Cale Yarborough did it twice (1974 sweep and four straight from 1976-1977), Richard Petty (1975 sweep), Dale Earnhardt also did twice (1985 sweep and 1987 sweep), Alan Kulwicki (1992 sweep), Rusty Wallace (2000 sweep), Kurt Busch (2003 sweep and 2004 spring race), Kyle Busch (2009 sweep), and Brad Keselowski (2011 fall-2012 spring).
· Five drivers have posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win at Bristol Motor Speedway: Dale Earnhardt (04/01/1979), Rusty Wallace (04/06/1986), Ernie Irvan (03/25/1990), Elliott Sadler (03/25/2001) and Kurt Busch (03/24/2002).
· Junior Johnson leads the series in car owner wins at Bristol with 16; Roger Penske and Jack Roush are tied among active car owners for the most wins at Bristol with 11 each.
· Richard Petty leads the series in runner-up finishes at Bristol with 10; Kevin Harvick leads all active drivers with four.
· Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty lead the series in top-five finishes at Bristol with 26 each. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 17; followed by Matt Kenseth (13).
· Richard Petty has leads the series in top-10 finishes at Bristol with 37. Jeff Gordon leads the series among active drivers in top-10 finishes with 25; followed by Matt Kenseth (20).
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads the series (active drivers) in average finishing position at Bristol with an 9.200.
· Two female drivers have made NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol: Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick.
Bristol Track History Notes & Facts:
· Groundbreaking for Bristol International Speedway, as Bristol Motor Speedway was originally known, took place in 1960. The track was an exact half-mile.
· First NASCAR Sprint Cup race was July 30, 1961; Jack Smith won the event (with relief from Johnny Allen).
· All of the NSCS races have been scheduled for 500 laps, except for both races in 1976 and the second in 1977, which were 400 laps.
· In the fall of 1969, the track was reshaped and re-measured to .533-miles.
· The name changed to Bristol International Raceway in 1978.
· The first night race was held in the fall of 1978.
· The surface was changed from asphalt to concrete in 1992.
· The name changed to Bristol Motor Speedway in May 1996.
· The track was resurfaced between races in 2007, and the turns were ground down in 2012 to eliminate part of the progressive banking.
Source: NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway