By now, it’s no hidden secret. Kyle Busch has had a frustrating follow up to his 2019 NASCAR Cup Series championship campaign, as he sits win-less through the first 28 races of the 2020 season. However, that could all be getting ready to change as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday night.
Busch has amassed an impressive eight wins at the 0.533-mile speedway in Tennessee throughout 30-career NCS starts, and he’s won three of the last six races at BMS as well. If there was ever a place for Busch to snap out of his odd funk, Bristol would be the place.
Not only does Busch’s past performance lead you to believe the driver of the No. 18 could finally get that first win of 2020, but he also has the second-best odds to win the race. According to SportsBettingDime.com, Busch enters Saturday’s race with +650 odds.
Additionally, Busch also finished fourth, after leading 100 laps, in the day-time event at Bristol in May and he also finished runner-up to Chase Elliott in the NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol in July.
So, regardless of how off Busch has seemed this season, he should be in play for a win on Saturday night at Bristol.
But who else could come out on top in Saturday night’s race?
Denny Hamlin, who has six NASCAR Cup Series wins in 2020 and who won this race a season ago, is the odds-on favorite according to SportsBettingDime.com at +480 odds.
Hamlin led a race-high 131 laps at Bristol earlier in the year, before settling for a 17th-place finish after making contact with Joey Logano while battling for the lead with 12 laps remaining in the race.
Expect Hamlin to be in contention for a win on Saturday night as well.
Other top-tier drivers expected to compete based on performance earlier in the season or in past years at Bristol include: Brad Keselowski, who won at Bristol earlier in the season and is coming off a win last week at Richmond, Chase Elliott, who won the All-Star Race at Bristol earlier in the year, and Joey Logano who has two wins at Bristol.
If you’re looking for a dark horse, don’t sleep on Matt DiBenedetto, who is still looking for his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win.
The 29-year old journeyman racer finished runner-up to Hamlin in last year’s night race at Bristol while driving Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 car. DiBenedetto led 93 laps that night and he calls Bristol Motor Speedway his favorite track. DiBenedetto also has extra motivation, as a win would advance him to the Round of 12 in the Playoffs, which would be huge.
DiBenedetto is also potentially racing for his career, as the option on his contract for 2021 still has not been exercised by Wood Brothers Racing. A win at Bristol on Saturday night, may be able to push DiBenedetto over the edge if there is a question on whether WBR are debating bringing him back to the No. 21 car for another season.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.