Better bet on Busch ... again

August, 26, 2011

The debate rages on for the new Bristol versus the old Bristol. Well, let me step in and play peacemaker by telling you the new Bristol is still pretty wild.

For one, you have the side-by-side racing replacing the previous style, in which if you weren't on the bottom of the track, you just watched car after car pass by. But for those of you looking for chaos, there's still plenty to be had.

Trevor Ebaugh and the rest of the ESPN Stats & Information team crunched the numbers, analyzed the tape and gave us some great information on the wildness at Bristol, and I pass that along to you. They're a smart bunch.

Since 2008, after the track's reconfiguration, we've seen 11.6 cars per race involved in multicar accidents, more than a quarter of the field. That's the fourth-most of any track, and second-most among non-plate tracks, behind Martinsville.

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Bristol caution flags
ESPN Stats & Research

The driver most in trouble could be Kevin Harvick. Dating back to 2005, Harvick's been involved in eight wrecks resulting in a caution flag, two more than any other driver. Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman, gunning for Chase spots, are tied for second with six.

The multiple grooves at Bristol create side-by-side action, therefore we should all be on the edge of our seats.

In March 2010, there was a 13-car accident at Bristol, the second-biggest at the track dating back to 1990, trailing only a 14-car wreck in the spring 2005 race.

So even though the bump-and-run isn't the only move at Bristol anymore, you're still going to get the fender-crunching action.

Now, let me blow your mind about not what to expect, but when to expect it.

You probably think the action's going to be at its wildest in the final part of the race, but it's quite the opposite.

Since 1990, the most accidents at Bristol have taken place in the first 50 laps, while the final 50 laps have seen the fewest accidents resulting in a caution flag.

So if you say you miss the old Bristol, don't fret, the new Bristol is still pretty similar to the old Bristol, only with side-by-side racing.

The Eliminator: Bristol

Most people just pick winners -- some by hunches, some by stats and some by just picking a name off the top of their heads. I don't pick winners, I pick losers. I'll make my race pick by telling you why all but one driver in the field just can't win.

And if you doubt the system, I did have Kyle Busch last week at Michigan.

1) The last 18 Bristol winners had a previous top-four finish at the track (25 drivers eliminated, 21 remaining).

2) The last 12 Bristol winners finished 16th or better in the last Bristol race (seven eliminated, 14 remaining).

3) Eight of the last nine and 12 of the last 14 Bristol winners finished in the top 12 in the last Richmond race (nine eliminated, five remaining).

4) The last 10 August Bristol winners finished ninth or better in last year's August Bristol race (three eliminated, two remaining).

5) The last five and seven of the last eight August Bristol winners had a win earlier in the season (one eliminated, one remaining).

Your winner: Kyle Busch



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