Race: Jeff Byrd 500
Date: Sunday March 20th, 2011
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Touted as one to watch this year, Carl Edwards did his notorious back flip in Sin City a couple of weeks ago after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart was making a strong run for a win, but came up short with Juan Pablo coming in third place. Marcos Ambrose and Ryan Newman wrapped up the top 5.
This Sunday, we are headed to one of the best races of the year after having a long week off from racing. Bristol Motor Speedway is undoubtedly the most exciting short track race of the year. With other short tracks like Martinsville and Richmond coming up, Bristol seems to have to come on strong, never failing to produce an action-packed and often-times temper-filled race for both drivers and fans.
This track is a very short 0.533 mile concrete true oval. The turns are 24 to 30 degree variable banking, which means that the degree changes up the bank. Furthermore, the straights have variable banking from 6 to 10 degrees. This is a fast 500 lap event that leaves very few cars without scratches.
Bristol is the true meaning of racing. After all, rubbin’ is racin’, right? This track tends to bring out the best and worst in the drivers as they all struggle to bang their way to the front. Quite frankly, it’s awesome to watch because you have those guys like Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart with short fuses who will literally move people out of their way. Then you have the guys like Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards who will silently work their way to the front.
Honestly, this track is a great track for Gordon and, dare I say, Denny Hamlin. It mirrors Martinsville in size, although Martinsville is much flatter. However, Hamlin and Gordon have extreme success at Martinsville that almost certainly translates over here to Bristol. Now, we can’t go on without mentioning Jimmie Johnson. He’s great here also, but his luck so far in this early season has been far from good. On the other hand, the Busch brothers, more specifically Kurt, have a great shot here too.
Overall, I’d have to say that I am going with Denny Hamlin to win
and Jeff Gordon as my second pick for this one. Hamlin has been good this
season. This is a track he can pull off a win at. Look for him to be a contender
with Gordon in tow and Johnson and the Busch brothers somewhere there in
the top 10 throughout the day.
Here’s a recap of your current top 12 after Las Vegas:
1. Tony Stewart
2. Kurt Busch
3. Carl Edwards
4. Juan Montoya
5. Ryan Newman
6. Paul Menard
7. Martin Truex Jr.
8. Denny Hamlin
9. A.J. Allmendinger
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11. Mark Martin
12. Jimmie Johnson
This race is going to get everyone back in the momentum, with a slew of short tracks and intermediate tracks coming up in the next few weeks. Bristol certainly will bring out the worst tempers but hopefully the best in the drivers to keep these guys on the track instead of in the wall.
Again, your top contenders are looking to be Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, the Busch brothers, and I’ll even through in a little Tony Stewart.
Stay tuned for an awesome day of racing as we resume the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season!
Virginia’s Pick to Win: Denny Hamlin.