Back Seat Driver

Back Seat Driver: Bristol

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*Editor’s Note* Every Monday, after every race weekend, contributing writer Jacob Mullins will recap the top story lines from the track in our weekly feature, Back Seat Driver.

WHEN IN ROME

Bristol Motor Speedway has many nicknames including “The Last Great Colosseum” and on Saturday, Joey Logano was a Gladiator. As the driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford slashed the way over the four concrete corners of Bristol, he left all his competitors behind him. After starting second, he took the lead on the first lap and never looked back.

After 300 laps were completed, Logano found himself in victory lane. Not only was he in victory lane, whe made NASCAR XFINITY history at Bristol as he led all 300 laps, a feat never done by any other driver. Logano becomes the 10th driver in the series to lead every lap, an accomplishment done 16 times. The last driver to do this was Kyle Busch in 2014 as he led all 250 laps of the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 from Richmond International Raceway.

KENSETH IS IN THE CHASE

Matt Kenseth’s victory in the Food City 500 has all but solidified the driver a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Not only did Kenseth weather the rain and melee that plaque the East Tennessee region Sunday, he snapped a long 51-race winless streak. The last time Kenseth visited victory lane was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2013, his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. He won seven races that year.

After a disappointing 2014, Kenseth made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and ultimately finished 7th in the standings. Proving to make the point that 2014 was a fluke season, Kenseth has three top-five’s, four top-10’s and one pole so far this year. Make no doubt, but by the end of the year, Kenseth will be a true contender for the Championship.

DANIEL SUAREZ CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 18 Arris Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, also made history Saturday afternoon as he became the highest finishing Mexican-born driver in the XFIINITY Series. Despite not being able to track down Logano in the Drive To Stop Diabetes 300, Suarez came home an impressive second. The previous best finish for a Mexican-born driver was Jorge Goeters back in 2007 at the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 in Mexico City.

Everyone in the XFINITY Series knows the talent that Suarez has and it was great to see him run so well at Bristol, a track not known to be kind to rookie drivers. After the race, Suarez attributed that him running in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East series from 2012-2014 helped him Saturday as he has ran at Bristol before. His best finish in that series came in 2012 when he finished 15th.

YOU GET A TOP-10!

Nearly 10-hours after the start of the Food City 500, the checkered flag flew in Bristol. When te race was over, many names stood out as having good runs including top-10 finishes from Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Justin Allgaier and Danica Patrick. Although these finishes may be surprising to some, others are thinking it’s about time.

For Stenhouse this was a much needed finish for not only the driver, but for his owner, Jack Roush. It has been a rough year for RFR and in 24 total chances this year, the drivers only have two top-10. In addition to Stenhouse, Greg Biffle has the other top-10 that came at Daytona. In just his third full-time season in Cup, Stenhouse has three top-5’s and nine top-10’s.

Allgaier is another driver that desperately needed the top-10 finish. This was the driver of the No. 51 Brandt Chevrolet 1st career top-10 in Sprint Cup. Driving for HScott Motorsports, Allgaier grew up on the short tracks and that type of racing fits right into his wheelhouse.

Love her or hate her, Patrick drove the tires off her car Sunday afternoon/night. This is Patrick’s second top-10 of the 2015. She finished 7th at Martinsville two races ago. Is this a trend for the driver of the No. 10 Go Daddy Chevrolet? We shall see as the next race is at Richmond, another short track.

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About Jacob Mullins

Jacob Mullins serves as the managing editor and senior NASCAR writer covering all three national touring series's. You can find him on on Twitter at @JMulls15. An intercollegiate athletic administrator by trade, Mullins can be found at the big tracks as well as the local short tracks in the Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Mullins enjoys social media, photography and graphic design. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Mullins follows all forms of racing, Major League Baseball (Baltimore Orioles) and college football (Virginia Tech Hokies).

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