Race Weekend Central

Numbers Game: 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol

The number of top-10 finishes registered by Richard Childress’s four Sprint Cup cars on Saturday night (Aug. 27); Jeff Burton was the highest-finishing driver in the organization at 15th place. Since Paul Menard won at Indy to close out the month of July, no one at RCR has finished better than sixth the entire month of August. (Kevin Harvick, Watkins Glen)

Number of weeks Jimmie Johnson has held at least a share of the lead atop the point standings this season. Johnson finally climbed up to first, tying with Kyle Busch after a fourth-place finish at Bristol Saturday night. (Technically, Busch still holds the tiebreaker based on four wins to Johnson’s one.)

Brad Keselowski‘s finishing position in the last four Sprint Cup races. He has finished first, second, third and first to climb from 21st to 11th in the Sprint Cup standings.

The number of cautions during 500 laps at Bristol Saturday night. That’s the fewest number of yellows in a Cup race there since the spring of 1996.

Times Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished outside the top 10 in his last 10 races. He was 16th at Bristol Saturday night.

Average finish for AJ Allmendinger in August; that includes four consecutive top-15 finishes. Greg Erwin replaced former head wrench Matt Shiplett on the pit box midway through last month.

Average finish for Greg Biffle in August; that includes just one top-15 finish, an eighth at Pocono Raceway. Biffle is working with new crew chief Matt Puccia after Greg Erwin was released last month.

Tony Stewart‘s winless streak after finishing a disappointing 28th at Bristol. During the first nine years of his career, from 1999-2007 Stewart had exactly zero winless streaks of 30 or more races. Since the start of the 2008 Cup season, he’s now endured three (with the first lasting from Aug. 2007 to the fall 2008 Cup race at Talladega).

Points now separating Denny Hamlin from Menard for the final wildcard spot in the Chase.

Nationwide victories for Kyle Busch, making him the all-time win leader in that series following Friday night’s neck-and-neck triumph over Joey Logano at Bristol. Busch broke a tie with veteran Mark Martin, who had 49.

The number of points Keselowski has gained on 10th in just the last four races alone. Following Indianapolis, Kes was 21st, 95 points behind 10th-place Earnhardt; now he’s 11th, 21 points behind new “bubble driver” Stewart.

Laps led by Keselowski Saturday night; that’s a single-race career high for him on the Cup circuit.

The first lap someone spun out during the 500-lap race at Bristol Saturday night. That’s the longest we’ve gone to start without a spin at the track since at least 1984 (official records on specific caution flags, at least the ones we can find only go back that far).

Laps completed this season by Joe Nemechek through 24 Sprint Cup races. He ran 42 laps at Bristol before “the brakes gave out” en route to a start-and-park, 40th-place finish.

Laps led this season by Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series, a number that leads all drivers. He paced the field for just four laps, though Saturday night at Bristol, a track where he had led 436 of the last 1,000 laps run heading into the event.

Career laps led by Jeff Gordon at Bristol after adding another 206 to his total Saturday night. A five-time winner at BMS, he’s only led more laps at Martinsville (2,981) during his 18-year career on the Cup circuit.

Money won by David Starr, whose single-car, family-owned Cup effort had the best result of their limited schedule: 27th place on Saturday night. Slowly building up their program, it was the first time the No. 95 car was able to finish without wrecking.

Money won by David Reutimann, whose multi-car, fully-funded Michael Waltrip Racing program spent nearly 70 laps repairing the No. 00 Toyota in the garage. After wrecking, Reutimann came back out well off the pace and finished the race in 37th – some 10 positions behind Starr.

The listed attendance at Bristol for Saturday night’s race. Last year, the listed attendance was 155,000.

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