The NASCAR Series visits its first short track this weekend as the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series drivers take on Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol is known to be one of the best tracks on the circuit and race fans LOVE it. There is always drama, excitement, and energy packed into this half-mile track and it is one of the few that many are proud hosts two race weekends a year. There are a few drivers who are going to run well and there are also some who NEED to run well this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson is one of the few drivers who are good at any track, whether it be a short track, intermediate and yes, even a super speedway. Johnson and his No. 48 crew have been unstoppable so far this season. With a win at Daytona, a second place finish at Phoenix and a 6th place at Las Vegas, Johnson is looking to continue that streak this weekend. With a victory at Bristol in 2010 and many top-10 finishes, Johnson has mastered the patience side of Bristol. He often lies in wait, protects his car, and comes in to fight for the finish. Definitely don’t count out Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus this weekend.
With 6 top-5 finishes to round out the season in 2012, Kyle Busch is looking for a win. Since 2008, he has won 4 events at Bristol Motor Speedway. After a tough season in 2012, especially missing the Chase, Busch is more than ready to get back to his winning ways. Toyota has had some engine troubles in recent races, including last season and that will be one thing to watch for, not only in Bristol but the season in general.
Tony Stewart hasn’t run well at Bristol since he started Stewart-Haas Racing. Although he did finish 2nd in 2010, his average finish is below Top-20. Many of you might remember his famous helmet toss last season during the Irwin Tools Night Race. Stewart had a rough start to 2013 after getting wrecked out of the Daytona 500. He needs to get back up to the front of the pack in because the reality of it is; the Chase starts from race number one.
She may have only one start at Bristol in the Cup car but her run there was pretty impressive. Danica Patrick started 43rd in the night race last season but quickly made her way into the top 20 all while staying on the lead lap. She was hit on lap 435 which ultimately took her out of the race. After a whirlwind week in Daytona to start off the season, her last two appearances have been less than spectacular. Bristol should play well into her skillset. She tends to run well on tracks with a lot of grip and a lot of banking. She needs to come out and run well here at Bristol to prove to herself and her critics that she can hang with the boys in the Sprint Cup Series.
Bristol Motor Speedway will be the first short track these new Gen-6 cars have run on. It will be interesting to see how these new cars and their aero packages run on this track. Bristol is always full of excitement and NASCAR fans shouldn’t expect anything less this weekend.