CONCORD, NC (Aug. 18, 2010) --- Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford heads into this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway with some impressive statistics on his side. Kenseth has the opportunity to lock himself into the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship based on numbers this weekend. In order for drivers to earn a berth into the 2010 Chase, they must reach the “magic number” which is 391. Any driver who can move themselves to 391 points ahead of 13th place following Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway would lock themselves in to Chase contention. Kenseth is currently 241 points ahead and thus needs 150 points Saturday night.
Fortunately, Kenseth has some pretty impressive stats when it comes to racing at Bristol Motor Speedway’s high-banked half-mile track. The Wis. native has finished within the top 10 in seven of his last eight August races at the track. Kenseth ranks seventh-best of current Sprint Cup drivers in best average finish with an average of 12.7 and he also ranks fifth in top tens (with a total of 13) as well as fifth in the most wins at the speedway with a total of two. Kenseth’s two Cup Series wins at Bristol came in consecutive years during the August races (2005 and 2006.)
So can the 2003 Sprint Cup Series Champion clinch a spot in this year’s Chase? The numbers don’t lie that it’s possible, but as is the case with any race weekend, oftentimes there are factors beyond a driver’s control; especially at a short track like Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights Saturday night. Kenseth finished fifth when the series raced at Bristol in March earlier this year and he is fresh off a top-five finish at Michigan International Speedway last Sunday.
Kenseth and his No. 17 Crown Royal Black team will have their first practice session of the weekend on Friday, Aug. 20 from 12:00pm – 1:30pm EST. Final Practice will take place from 2:45pm-3:30pm EST followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at 5:40pm. Coverage of the Irwin Tools Race Night from Bristol Motor Speedway will begin on Saturday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. EST on ABC with radio coverage provided by the Performance Racing Network (PRN.)