Race: Food City 500
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday March 16, 2008
Time: 1:30 pm E.T.
With 36 degree banking in the turns and 16 degree banking on the
stretches, Bristol Motor Speedway is quite possibly the most exciting
race of the season. Whether or not you like NASCAR, you will LOVE
Bristol. This track is known for its hellacious (sorry about the
language, but there are few words accurate enough to use here) wrecks
and flaring tempers on and off the track.
Bristol is the epitome of short track racing. For those unfamiliar with
the difference between a track like Bristol and other intermediate or
super speedways, let me explain a bit. Short tracks are generally
tracks that are a mile or less and are extremely exciting to watch.
This is because we have 43 cars trying to get to one spot on a half-mile
stretch whereas we are used to them having a mile and a half or two
miles to do it. Think about that. There is a quarter of the normal
length of the track if we compare to a super speedway with the same
amount of cars. That is recipe for disaster, at least for the drivers.
Ask any driver, though, and he will tell you that Bristol is where it
is at. There is no more excitement for the drivers and few challenges
more difficult to get around this speedway.
So lets take a look at this track by the numbers. Historically, this
has been a Busch track, Kurt Busch that is. Kurt Busch has won this
race five times, but his last win was back in 2006. His brother won the
spring race here last year. Edwards won the fall race last year. If a
Busch brother has not won it, its been none other than a Roush driver,
with Carl Edwards or Matt Kenseth both claiming titles here. Jr. has
won once here as have Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Jeff Gordon has
been the only successful Hendrick driver to claim multiple victories
here with the last of his five victories coming back in 2002.
This is a track that proves that qualifying position has little grounds
on finishing position. There have been drivers starting from fifth and
drivers starting from 38th who have won and few have won from the pole.
This year, its going to be a great race. The new cars have been on
this track before, and the drivers have raced here since its been
resurfaced so there shouldnt be any big surprises.
Now for the picks. I am going to go with Kyle Busch this week. I am
getting a gut feeling about this one. He won the first COT race which
was this race last year. He is coming off a win last weekend at
Atlanta. Busch is someone who has rarely struggled in his entire Cup
career. He has led more laps than virtually anyone but has failed to
follow through with the wins. I think this weekend is one where he will
follow through. He is hungry and he has been consistently awesome this
season. He is leading the Craftsman Truck Series and the Cup Series and
is running third in the Nationwide Series. Anyone with this kind of
record is going to be hard to beat. If it is not Kyle Busch, it is
going to be a Roush driver yet again. These guys are definitely coming
out of the woodworks and surprising everyone with how consistently
strong they have been. With the exception of Edwards blowing a motor
last weekend, Kenseth and Edwards have been very strong and competitors
for the win every race.
Tomorrow look for practice and qualifying to see the lineup for Sundays
race. I wouldnt be surprised if we have a few drivers to the back of
the field like what happened with Kenseth last weekend. Keep your eyes
and ears peeled because these cars are going to be flying around that
half mile track in some of the most exciting racing that you will see.