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K&N Pro East Stat Advance: Bristol

Analyzing The Zombie Auto 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Travis Barrett, Special to NASCARHomeTracks.com
April 19, 2017 - 1:15pm

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to action Saturday, April 22 with the Zombie Auto 125 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Below is a look at the Zombie Auto 125 and some of the selected participants.

Zombie Auto 125 Race Setup: 
• Ronnie Bassett Jr. leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings through two races with a win in the season opener at New Smyrna Speedway in February followed by a runner-up finish at Greenville Pickens Speedway.
• Harrison Burton trails Bassett by only seven points and is the only other driver in the series with top five finishes in both races.
• Only one driver entered at Bristol has won there previously, Eddie MacDonald, who is making his season debut this weekend.

At Bristol Motor Speedway:
History:
• Bristol Motor Speedway opened in 1961 and hosted its first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on July 30 of that year. Jack Smith picked up the win and led 243 of the 500 laps.
• To date, the track has hosted 112 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, 69 NASCAR XFINITY Series races and 19 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events.
• Kyle Busch leads all drivers with 16 total Bristol victories, while Darrell Waltrip tops the Cup Series charts with 12 Thunder Valley triumphs.
• The .533-mile concrete oval hosted its first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event in March 2012 with Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet Jr. collecting the win.

Notebook:
• This is the series’ sixth visit to the legendary Tennessee track.
• For four of the five previous Bristol winners – Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), Dylan Kwasniewski (2013), Kyle Benjamin (2015) and Chad Finchum (2016) – it marked their first K&N East victory.
• The most cautions for a K&N East race at Thunder Valley is eight (2013) while the fewest is five (2016). The most caution laps were 40 in 2014 and the fewest were 26 in 2016.
• In four races, the lead has changed hands an average of 1.6 times with a high of four changes in 2012.
• The average starting position for the winner is 6.2 while the pole sitter has an average finish of 11.2.
• Bristol is one of three half-mile tracks on the series’ schedule joining South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway and Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway.

Bristol Data:
Race: #3 of 14 overall
Race Date: Saturday, April 22, 4 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .533-mile high-banked concrete oval
Banking/Corners: Variable, 24-28 degrees
Race Length: 125 laps (66.625 miles)

Qualifying/Race Data:
2016 Winner: Chad Finchum
2016 Pole Sitter: Harrison Burton
1-lap Qualifying Record: Harrison Burton, 122.139 mph (15.71 seconds, April 2016)
125-lap Race Record: Chad Finchum, 53 minutes, 51 seconds (74.234 mph, April 2016)

Category Leaders at Bristol:
Wins
Kyle Benjamin … 1
Chad Finchum … 1
Dylan Kwasniewski … 1
Eddie MacDonald … 1
Nelson Piquet Jr. …. 1

Poles
Harrison Burton … 1
Jesse Little … 1
Michael McGuire … 1
Nelson Piquet Jr. …. 1
Ben Rhodes … 1

Laps completed
Eddie MacDonald … 524
Michael McGuire … 384
Brandon Gdovic … 362
Jesse Little … 320
Ryan Gifford … 270

Laps led
Ben Rhodes … 130
Chad Finchum … 112
Dylan Kwasniewski … 96
Kyle Benjamin … 81
Nelson Piquet Jr. … 62

Selected Driver Highlights:
Hunter Baize (No. 13 Reynolds Wrap/Lightning Auto Sales Chevrolet)
• Finished fourth in the final series standings as a rookie last season with one top five and 10 top 10s in 14 starts.
• Sits fourth in the current series standings with top 10 finishes in both races to date.
• Finished 16th in his only career start at Bristol last season.

Ronnie Bassett Jr. (No. 04 Bassett Gutters & More Chevrolet)
• Earned his first career win in the season opener at New Smyrna in February.
• Leads the current standings with a win and a second-place finish through two races.
• Has a career-best finish of 15th in three career starts at Bristol.

Harrison Burton (No. 12 DEX Imaging Toyota)
• Finished seventh in the final series standings a year ago with one top five and five top 10s in 14 starts.
• Won the pole, the second of his career, at New Smyrna in February and finished fourth to equal his career-best finish set at Columbus last summer.
• Also, finished fourth at Greenville Pickens Speedway earlier this month.
• Won the pole with a new track record at Bristol last season and finished 23rd in his only career start at the track.
• Sits second in the current standings, seven points out of the lead, is one of only two drivers to finish in the top five in each of the first two races this season.

Chase Cabre (No. 4 Max Siegel Inc. Toyota)
• Sits seventh in the current standings as a rookie.
• Made his series debut at New Smyrna in February, where he finished 12th.
• Will make his first K&N Pro Series East start Bristol.

Collin Cabre (No. 2 UTI/NTI Toyota)
• Finished a career-best sixth in the final series standings in 2016 with four top fives and six top 10s in 14 starts.
• Won the season finale at Dover in 2015, site of his only career win.
• Finished sixth at Bristol last season, his best finish in two career starts at the track.

Tyler Dippel (No. 30 TyCar Ford)
• Finished third in the final series standings last season with one win, one top five and eight top 10s in 14 races.
• Won at Mobile in March of 2016 in only his second career series start.
• Finished fifth in the series’ most recent race at Greenville for his first top 10 of the season.
• Finished 17th at Bristol a year ago.

Todd Gilliland (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Is the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion, having scored six wins, 11 top fives and 13 top 10s in 14 races in 2016.
• Became the youngest champion in NASCAR touring series history at 16 years, five months, and joined his grandfather Butch Gilliland as a K&N West champion (1997).
• Won three of the first four K&N Pro Series West races this season, including a sweep of Twin 100s at Irwindale on March 25, to give him 11 career K&N Pro Series wins.
• Sits third in the current K&N East standings with one top five and two top 10s through two races.
• Finished ninth in his only series career start at Bristol.

Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet)
• Leads all current drivers with 192 career K&N Pro Series starts dating back to 2001.
• Has eight career top-10 finishes in the final series standings, including a career-best second place finish in the championship in 2009.
• Is the only driver entered this weekend to have won previously at Bristol, winning there in 2014 from the 13th starting position, highest among any of the five drivers with wins at the track.
• Is making his season debut this weekend.
• Has four top 10s in five career starts at Bristol.

Reid Wilson (No. 66 TruNorth Warranty Programs Chevrolet)
• Sits fifth in the current standings with two top 10s in two races this season.
• Matched his career-best finish with a sixth-place effort in the season opener at New Smyrna.
• Has never competed with the series at Bristol.

Up To Speed:
• The 2017 season is the 31st for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
• The 2017 schedule features 14 races at 13 different tracks across the United States.
• Point leader Ronnie Bassett Jr. earned his first career win in the season opener at New Smyrna.
• This marks the sixth consecutive year that the K&N Pro Series East season will race at Bristol during a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend.