NASCAR XFINITY heads to The Last Great Colosseum for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. Drivers are all set for their first dose of short-track racing in 2017.
The Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 is the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series events to be held at Bristol Motor Speedway. In 2016, the Bristol format was changed to include two 50-lap heat races and a 200-lap feature for a total of 300 laps, as part of the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program. In 2017 that format will not return and will return to its 300 lap distance with the new stage format. Stages 1 and 2 will be 85 laps each, with stage 3 being the final 130 laps.
Here are some more interesting facts about the track and the series to know before the race starts:
- The Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 was first run in 1982.
- It was originally a 150-lap race before getting bumped up to 200 laps 1985, 250 laps in 1991 and 300 laps in 2006.
- There was a unique format for the 2016 race as it was only 200 laps long, and the final 100 laps were divided into two 50-lap heats in the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program, in which the winner picks up an extra $100,000 (this also happens in the events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Dover International Speedway)
- Bristol Motor Speedway opened in 1961 and is one of NASCAR’s most storied tracks
- Bristol Motor Speedway held its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 1961
- NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Bristol with 60. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts.
- Joey Logano won the race after leading all 300 laps
- Erik Jones picked up his first win of the 2016 season here at Bristol, leading 62 laps from the pole. Jones was one of four drivers to lead laps in this race as Kyle Busch led 43 laps and finished second, while Kyle Larson led a race-high 94 laps en route to a third-place finish (Jeff Green led a lap and finished 27th)
- Busch leads the way with four wins at the Bristol spring race, while Morgan Shepherd and Kevin Harvick are next with three wins apiece. Elliott Sadler has two wins in this event.
- 42 different drivers have won at Bristol, led by Darrell Waltrip (12). Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch each have five wins, the most among active drivers.
- Larson is predicted to win this time if plays all his trump cards well. After his strong showing in the spring race, Larson was dominant in the fall race at Bristol, leading 200 laps only to lose in a green-white-checkered finish to Dillon (and Allgaier).
- Larson has an average finish of 6.14 in seven starts at Bristol in the Xfinity Series, counting the fall race, and he will be hungry to snap that skid, so take Kyle Larson if he is in the field.
Past Five Winners of NASCAR Flitzgerald Glider Kits 300:
Erik Jones- 2016; Joe Gibbs Racing
Joey Logano- 2015; Team Penske
Kyle Busch- 2014; Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch- 2013; Joe Gibbs Racing
Elliott Sadler- 2012; Richard Childress Racing