Who is Hot and Not ahead of the Bristol night race

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When Jimmie Johnson won at Bristol Motor Speedway last April, he accomplished something unusual in the recent history at “Thunder Valley.”

His win came with his pit stop on the backstretch of the half-mile track. That was the only time in the last six Bristol races a driver has won while pitting on the backstretch.

Johnson’s win was also just the fourth time in the last 14 Bristol starts that a driver not associated with Team Penske or Joe Gibbs Racing won. It was the second straight after Kevin Harvick won last August’s race. The only other instances were Kasey Kahne in the spring 2013 race and Carl Edwards (then at Roush Fenway Racing) in the spring of 2014.

Going further, Joe Gibbs Racing (eight wins) and Team Penske (four wins) combined to win 12 of the last 17 Bristol races. Four different drivers won for JGR and two different drivers won for Team Penske.

Here is a look at who is hot and not ahead of Saturday’s night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Who is Hot

Erik Jones

• Finished third at Michigan to tie his best-career finish
• Finished top 10 in the last three races, best streak of his career.
• Finished 17th at Bristol in April.
• Two Xfinity wins at Bristol.

Kyle Busch

• Finished 10th at Michigan after being penalized for pitting before pit road was open.
• Finished top 10 in the last three races to tie his best streak this season.
• Won from the pole at Pocono for only win of 2017. Had four wins at this point in 2016.
• Five Bristol wins, but last was in 2011.
• Finished 29th or worse in five of the last six races at Bristol (DNF after Accident in last three).

Kevin Harvick

• Finished 13th at Michigan
• Finished top 10 in 12 of the last 17 races.
• Won this race last year, one of two Bristol wins
• Finished top 10 in the last four Bristol races including three top threes.

Brad Keselowski

• Finished 17th at Michigan after winning the pole, worst finish in the last five races.
• Series-leading 11 top-fives this season.
• Two-time Bristol winner, in 2011 and 2012.
• Finished 18th or worse in four of the last five races at Bristol including 34th in April.

Who is Not

Kurt Busch

• Finished 11th at Michigan. Only two top-10 finishes in the last seven races.
• Three DNFs in the last seven races.
• Just 10 top-10 finishes this season after having 16 through 23 races in 2016.
• Has not had back-to-back top 10s since Richmond and Talladega.
• Five Bristol wins but last was in 2006. Four of the five wins came in the Spring race.
• Only three finishes better than 14th in the last 12 races at Bristol.

Austin Dillon

• Finished seventh at Michigan for first top-10 finish since winning at Charlotte in May.
• Only three top-10 finishes this season. Had 10 at this point last year.
• Five top-15 finishes in seven Bristol starts. Best finish of fourth in this race last year.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

• Finished 14th at Michigan. Last top-10 finish was at Sonoma in June.
• Only two top 10s in the last 11 races.
• One Bristol win in 2004 night race.
• Finished 38th with DNF after accident in April.

Joey Logano

• Finished 28th at Michigan. Tenth finish outside the top 20 in the last 14 races.
• Won at Richmond but was encumbered for failing post-race inspection.
• Now 98 points outside the bubble, must win to make the playoffs.
• Finished top 10 in five of the last six races at Bristol including two wins.