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Five drivers to watch at Bristol

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 22: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with champagne in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Keep an eye on these drivers in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway on NBCSN.

Carl Edwards

Joe Gibbs Racing has won four of the last five short track races with Edwards picking up the last two at Bristol and Richmond in the spring. Edwards’ four career wins at Bristol are the most he has at any track on the Sprint Cup circuit, and his 514 laps led over the last five Bristol races is tops among all drivers.

Joey Logano

Logano’s numbers at Bristol are, literally, day and night. In eight career spring races there, Logano has one top-10 finish, which came this spring with a 10th-place showing. But the Bristol night race has been much better for him, particularly the last four night races; in this span, Logano has scored two wins (2014 & 2015) and posted an average finish of 3.8.

Denny Hamlin

With the Chase getting closer, Hamlin has picked a good time to reclaim consistency. His win last time out at Watkins Glen was his fourth consecutive top-10 finish, which is his longest such streak of the year. But while Hamlin’s heating up, Bristol has been hit or miss. He won the 2012 night race, but in the seven Bristol races since then, he’s had five finishes of 20th or worse.

Kyle Larson

With Pocono winner Chris Buescher threatening to get in the top 30 in points to be eligible for the Chase, Larson is going to push hard for a win from here until Richmond to ensure a Chase spot. Getting spun on the final lap at Watkins Glen cost him a lot of points, and he obviously doesn’t need that again at Bristol. With Bristol’s lower groove now “polished” and looking much quicker, it’ll be interesting to see if Larson stays committed to the high line as he usually does.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Bristol is where we’ve seen Stenhouse at his best during his Sprint Cup career. His 11.9 average finish there is his best at any track, and he scored his Cup career-best finish of second there in the 2014 spring race. But at 45 points below the cutoff with four races to go, only a win will do now.