It’s Bristol Baby! Food City 500 race preview

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday, aka The Last Great Colosseum, to race around the concrete fastest half-mile oval in the world, as NASCAR returns to racing back on the concrete of Bristol for it’s Spring Bristol race for the first time since 2020, replacing the Bristol Dirt race after just three editions of the event.

  • Race preview
  • Current points standings 

3 min read

Sunday’s Food City 500 race is comprised of 500 laps (266.5 miles), broken down into three stages of 125, 125, and 250 laps, with qualifying for the race on Saturday at 5:50pm ET/9:50pm ET and the race starting on Sunday at 3:30pm ET/7:30pm UK time.

The half-mile 24-28 degree banked oval in Bristol, Tennessee never fails to deliver on action, with plenty of fierce elbows out racing, with door to door banging being a common occurrence.

To stay on the lead lap all race with no damage is almost a victory in itself at The Last Great Colosseum. Pitting under green here will cost you two laps to the leaders, due to the short length and furious nature of the track.

Denny Hamlin won the last concrete Bristol Cup race last September in the 2023 playoff Round of 16 cutoff race, leading over 100 laps, with him exclaiming to the fans post-race “I beat your favourite driver.”

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Direct Toyota, celebrates with a burnout in front of fans after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16, 2023 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The last spring concrete Bristol Cup race was in May 2020, originally postponed from April due to the covid pandemic, that saw Brad Keselowski win for Team Penske, where he swept both Bristol races in 2020.

Brad Keselowski, in the No. 2 Team Penske Ford celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on May 31st 2020 in Bristol, Tennessee (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch is king of Bristol for current Cup drivers, having won eight concrete Cup Bristol races dating back to 2007 and most recently in 2019. He has swept all three races during the autumn edition twice, winning the Truck, Xfinity, and Cup race in 2010 and 2017.

Busch also won the 2022 Bristol Dirt 250-lap race.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing M&M’s Caramel Toyota celebrates winning the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Night Cup race and sweeping the weekend of races, holding up a broom to the fans, at Bristol Motor Speedway, August 19th 2007, in Bristol, Tennessee (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin are joint second for current cup drivers wins at Bristol with three wins each, while Joey Logano has two wins, as well as having won the 2021 Bristol Dirt race, and Chris Buescher and Kyle Larson also have a win.

Last week’s Phoenix Cup winner, Christopher Bell, also has a win at Bristol, having won the 2023 Bristol Dirt race. This is not a surprise given Bell’s extensive resume and success in his dirt racing career.

It’s close for bragging rights amongst the current Cup teams with Joe Gibbs Racing leading total Bristol Cup wins with 14, Team Penske with 13, and Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing with 12 wins each. All are chasing all-time Bristol Cup winning team of Junior Johnson & Associates with 16 wins.

Don’t miss the return of the Spring Bristol Cup race this Sunday at 3:30pm ET/7:30pm UK time.

Points standings (* = has 2024 race win, – = playoff cutoff line)

  1. Ryan Blaney – 151
  2. Kyle Larson* – 141
  3. Martin Truex Jr. – 141
  4. William Byron* – 134
  5. Tyler Reddick – 130
  6. Ty Gibbs – 130
  7. Ross Chastain – 129
  8. Denny Hamlin – 129
  9. Chase Elliott – 123
  10. Daniel Suarez* – 114
  11. Kyle Busch – 110
  12. Christopher Bell* – 102
  13. Alex Bowman – 99
  14. Bubba Wallace – 97
  15. Austin Cindric – 87
  16. Chris Buescher – 86

  17. Michael McDowell – 84
  18. Erik Jones – 84
  19. Chase Briscoe – 83
  20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 80
  21. John Hunter Nemechek – 80
  22. Brad Keselowski – 75
  23. Corey LaJoie – 70
  24. Carson Hocevar – 70
  25. Daniel Hemric – 67
  26. Noah Gragson – 53
  27. Harrison Burton – 53
  28. Todd Gilliland – 52
  29. Justin Haley – 52
  30. Joey Logano – 51
  31. Josh Berry – 48
  32. Austin Dillon – 46
  33. Zane Smith – 40
  34. Kaz Grala – 37
  35. Ryan Preece – 28
  36. David Ragan – 17
  37. Derek Kraus – 11
  38. Jimmie Johnson – 9

Featured Image: Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Dollar General Toyota, leads the field back to green in the NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17th 2016, in Bristol, Tennessee (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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