2009 Food City 500 Preview and Picks

Race: Food City 500
Date: Sunday March 22, 2009
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Time: 1:30 pm ET
Channel: FOX
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

One word describes this weekend’s race: short-track! Bristol is one of my favorite races ever. This is the kind of racing that is exactly what race fans want to see. We don’t want to see restrictor plates and clean fenders. We want to see tire rings and flying sheet metal and cars going the wrong way. That’s exactly what we’ll see at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is a fan and driver favorite.

At just over a half-mile, there’s barely enough room to get those 43 cars on the track at the same time, let alone without rubbing on each other. The banking is also pretty impressive with 36 degree banking in the turns and 16 degree banking on the short 650 foot front and backstretches.

There have been quite a few winners here, with the Busch brothers racking up a good majority of them. Kurt Busch did very well here in the late 90s and early 2000s. Maybe this year is a reflection of that past dominance. The Roush guys, including Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards are also ones to watch, with Edwards holding the last win here. Matt Kenseth also has his fair share here as well.


What’s a short-track without talking about Jeff Gordon, though? I really think that he is going to be the one to watch here. No doubt, Gordon is one of the best short-track races, and with his continued strength that he’s shown early on, with 2 second place finishes, I think Gordon is going to give everyone a run for their money.

This weekend is going to be a huge shootout, though. There are so many guys who are so strong. Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and even Kevin Harvick are all going to be threats. The trick of this weekend is going to be staying out of the wrecks. There are sure to be plenty. Bristol is always a place where drivers are tested to the max to maintain their composure and their talent while on the track. It’s so easy to try and go three wide on a track built for two-wide racing and just run someone into the wall. Going down into the corners, guys are going to have to watch out as those in front of them get bunched up even if they get a run.

This track is all about control. It’s about determining when to make a move and when to hold back until there’s enough room and time to get around that guy in front. The beauty of this track is that you can get away with bumping the guy next to you or in front of you and justifying it. After all, rubbin’ is racin’, right?

Here’s a recap of your current top twelve in points:

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Kurt Busch
4. Carl Edwards
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Tony Stewart
7. Kyle Busch
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Kasey Kahne
10. Greg Biffle
11. Brian Vickers
12. David Reutimann

I think this weekend is going to be a good recap of last weekend, with Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon showing their strength throughout the race to the very end. Ultimately, Gordon is a better short track racer and maintains better control on these types of tracks. Look for this weekend to bring out the true excitement in the fan world. Bristol is the real reason we all love NASCAR.