Kenseth fits the Bristol bill
BRISTOL, Tenn. – It’s dangerous to make glaring generalizations, but it’s true that Matt Kenseth is, relatively speaking, a calm driver and Bristol Motor Speedway has become quite a bit calmer as a track.
Kenseth won twice at Bristol when it was comparable to the Calgary Stampede. He’s finished in the top 10 in five straight races since it was reconfigured. He’s already won a race this year. Sunday’s Food City 500 ought to be right down his alley.
The Daytona 500 winner noted that Bristol fills in the blanks of NASCAR’s early season.
“Most people look forward to coming to Bristol,” Kenseth said. “The first five weeks or so of the season have a good variety and mix of the tracks we will run at all season. It’s fun to get through these first five or six weeks and see where everybody stacks up.”
This race is actually the season’s fourth. Kenseth won at Daytona, Denny Hamlin at Phoenix and Tony Stewart at Las Vegas. Next up after Bristol is Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
This race has no shortage of contenders. Three drivers in the field – Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch – have won five times at BMS. In Kyle Busch’s case, four of them were in the past six races. Brad Keselowski won the most race at Bristol last August.
“What make this sport’s true, talented teams rise to the top is the challenge of the different types of race tracks,” said Gordon. “To me, it wouldn’t matter if you went straight from Bristol to Martinsville. They are, like, complete, two total-opposite race tracks, and the challenges that just comes with that, let alone, throw in a two-mile high-speed oval all the way on the West Coast (Fontana).
“You can just go down the list on the schedule and … you’ve got to be a great team, a great driver, a great crew chief, you’ve got to have it all. That’s what I think makes it so tough to win this championship.”
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton