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This weeks Jeff Byrd 500 from the historic half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway should prove to be another interesting race in the 2011 schedule. Nestled in the Northeast Tennessee hills this half-mile track is the fourth largest sports venue in America and the eighth largest in the world housing up to 165,000 people. Darrell Waltrip holds the track record with 12-wins while Mark Martin and Cale Yarborough hold the track record for poles with nine.

[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]This weeks TV schedule for the Jeff Byrd 500.

 – 12 p.m. ET Fri. on Speed

American Muscle

 – 3:30 p.m. ET Fri. on Speed

 – 10:45 a.m. ET Sat. on Speed

Noon ET Sat. on Speed

Jeff Byrd 500
1 p.m. ET Sun. on FOX

*Wood Brothers Bristol return sparks fond memories.
The return to Victory Lane for the legendary Wood Brothers at the Daytona 500 coincides with the 10-year anniversary of it last win before 2011: at Bristol in 2001, with Elliott Sadler.
 A couple of Wood Brothers story lines mesh together this weekend. There’s the anniversary on the heels of the Daytona 500 win. But there’s also its driver returning to his hometown track. Trevor Bayne, a Knoxville, Tenn. native returns home to race for the first time since his win in The Great American Race.

*‘Golden’ Rule: History Continues At Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway, one the more storied tracks on the NASCAR schedule, celebrates its 50th anniversary this season – and the history it has built is staggering.
The wins list alone features some of the most iconic names in the sport’s history. Eight of the top nine are series champions, and five of those are either NASCAR Hall of Famers, inductees or nominees. The top nine: Darrell Waltrip (12), Dale Earnhardt (9), Rusty Wallace (9), Cale Yarborough (9), Kurt Busch (5), Jeff Gordon (5), David Pearson (5), Bobby Allison (4) and Kyle Busch (4).

Here’s a quick ‘By the Numbers’ look at Bristol since its first Cup race in 1961, won by Jack Smith.
.064 – In seconds, the closest margin of victory at Bristol since the inception of electronic scoring in 1993. On March 25, 2007, in the first race with the new car, Kyle Busch edged Jeff Burton to the finish line by that miniscule figure. Each of the last four races at Bristol has had a margin of victory under one second.
9 – Bristol poles by Mark Martin and Cale Yarborough, most all-time there. Martin would reach career milestone 50 poles if he wins the pole this weekend.
16 – Different leaders at Bristol on April 9, 1989. Won by Rusty Wallace, 16 of the 32-car field – half the competitors – led at least one lap.
40 – Lead changes at Bristol on April 14, 1991, the most ever at Bristol. Starting from the pole, Rusty Wallace won that event. Eight different drivers exchanged the top spot, with Ricky Rudd leading the most laps (145).
50 – Career win number of Jimmie Johnson when he won his first Bristol race, March 21, 2010. It was also the site of Rusty Wallace’s 50th win, on March 26, 2000.
500 – Laps led by Cale Yarborough on March 25, 1973. It was the only time a driver led every single lap at Bristol. Yarborough won the race by two laps over runner-up Richard Petty.

*Notes for Bristol
There have been 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the first race there in 1961, two races each season.
All races have been scheduled for 500 laps, except for both races in 1976 and the second in 1977, which were 400 laps.
Fred Lorenzen won the first pole.
The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was won by Jack Smith
(with relief from Johnny Allen).
*From the Bristol Notebook.

There have been 44 different pole winners, led by Cale Yarborough and Mark Martin (nine). Martin swept both poles at Bristol in 1995, 1996 and 2009.
38 different drivers have won, led by Darrell Waltrip (12).

Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon each have five wins, most among active drivers.

The race winner has started from the pole 22 times, the most productive starting position. The last driver to win from the pole was Carl Edwards in the night race of 2008.

80 of 100 races have been won from a top-10 starting position, including 52 from the first four spots.

The deepest in the field that a race winner has started is 38th, by Elliott Sadler in 2001. Prior to this year’s Daytona 500, that race was the last win by legendary owners, the Wood Brothers.

How the top Ten in points have fared at Bristol:

Driver Races Poles Wins Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Tony Stewart 24 1 1 16.9 93.8
2 Kurt Busch 20 1 5 13.0 95.9
3 Carl Edwards 13 1 2 13.3 89.4
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 8 0 0 18.8 80.2
5 Ryan Newman 18 2 0 17.6 87.9
6 Paul Menard 7 0 0 22.9 61.8
7 Martin Truex Jr 10 0 0 22.9 73.6
8 Denny Hamilin 10 0 0 14.6 91.8
9 AJ Allmendinger 7 0 0 30.0 58.8
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr 22 0 1 11.5 88.7

Point Standings after race 3 of 36

Rank Driver Points Behind
1 Tony Stewart 113 Leader
2 Kurt Busch 113 Leader
3 Carl Edwards 106 -7
4 Juan Montoya 106 -7
5 Ryan Newman 103 -10
6 Paul Menard 96 -17
7 Martin Truex Jr. 95 -18
8 Denny Hamlin 95 -18
9 AJ Allmendinger 94 -19
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr 91 -22
11 Mark Martin 91 -22
12 Jimmie Johnson 87 -26
13 Kasey Kahne 87 -26
14 Kyle Busch 86 -27
15 Bobby Labonte 84 -29

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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