Although it may not seem like it based on the outside looking in, the NASCAR season is a lot more competitive at Bristol Motor Speedway than you’d think. In fact, some of the drivers have racked up more wins at this track than they have at their native tracks! Let’s take a look at the top five drivers at Bristol so far this year.
1. Josh Wise
Wise may be best known for his performance in Season 12 of The Amazing Race, where he was a part of the “All Stars” team that came in second place to eventual winners James and Jennifer. Since then, he’s been competing full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and has found huge success with a dominant run at Bristol.
This year, Wise has nine wins at Bristol, which is one behind the leader Austin Dillon. His nine wins are also more than he’s won at any other track, with NextEra Energy (formerly known as Florida Power & Light) Stadium being the exception. However, even that is starting to feel like déjà vu for Wise; he’s already earned championship points at that track as well! What’s even more amazing is that even though he’s only been around for a short time, he’s already won a championship and proven to be one of the best up-and-coming drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He definitely fits the bill as an exciting, young competitor to watch this year!
2. Austin Dillon
Dillon is best known for his performance in the 2018 The Amazing Race, where he came in second place to eventual winner Jonny Gray. Since then, he’s been competing part-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and had a breakout season last year with five wins. He’s carried that momentum into this year, as he currently has six wins at Bristol, which is two behind the points leader Josh Wise. With two more wins this season, it’s clear that Dillon has the early momentum in the chase for the 2018 NASCAR Cup.
3. Chase Elliott
The 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year, Chase Elliott, has found huge success in his initial season in his rookie campaign. He has seven wins at Bristol, which is one shy of the leader Austin Dillon. Although Elliott is only 17 years old, he has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and it’s clear that he has the potential to go the distance this year and win the championship. With seven wins so far, it’s fair to say that Elliott is having an amazing year. However, if he wants to become the 2018 NASCAR Cup champion, he’s going to have to keep up this momentum at least through the end of the year.
4. Daniel Suarez
If there’s one thing that Daniel Suarez is known for, it’s his ability to compete at Bristol. The Formula One veteran has been very successful at this track, winning twice in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and once in the Xfinity Series. He also has two wins in the Camping World Truck Series, which came shortly after he became a full-time NASCAR driver. What’s exciting about Suarez is that he is always a threat at every track; he either wins or comes close. Hopefully, the experience in F1 will help him translate that consistency to the NASCAR season.
5. Matt DiBenedetto
It’s fair to say that Matt DiBenedetto is one of the most successful NASCAR drivers never to have won an overall championship. Although he has been a part of the chase for the title several times, he’s never been able to pull it off. He’s had a lot of success at Bristol, however, winning three times in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and once in the Xfinity Series. Most recently, he won the Camping World Truck Series in October, which is his fourth victory at that track.
What Does this All Mean?
Let’s take a step back and look at all the names on this list. First, we have two The Amazing Race competitors in the top five. Second, we have three rookie competitors (Elliott, Suarez, and DiBenedetto). Third, all the drivers but one have multiple wins at Bristol. Finally, all the drivers on this list have either won a championship or are in the championship hunt currently.
Even though it may not seem like it based on the outside looking in, the NASCAR season is a lot more competitive at Bristol Motor Speedway than you’d think. In fact, some of the drivers have racked up more wins at this track than they have at their native tracks! Let’s take a look at the top five drivers at Bristol so far this year.