TV Schedule March 18-20

Last spring's Sprint Cup race at Bristol. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
We're going to Bristol, baby! With the first off-weekend of the season behind us, what better way for NASCAR to get back on track than with some bumpin' and bangin' at Bristol Motor Speedway, one of the most popular tracks - if not the most popular - on the circuit. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide series roll into Thunder Valley, where rubbin' really is racin'.

The storied short track is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Bristol has been the scene of some of the sport's most memorable moments, including Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte's legendary dust-ups in 1995 and 1999, as well as Kyle Busch's historic trifecta last fall.

The 0.533-mile concrete oval was repaved in 2007, adding progressive banking (26-30 degrees in the corners and 6-10 degrees on the straightaways). The asphalt was also resurfaced to allow for three distinct grooves for drivers to run on, making it easier to pass your competition instead of moving them out of the way. But don't let that fool you: the bump-and-run is still very much alive. For as unpredictable as Bristol can be, one thing is certain: when so many drivers hungry for the win are racing in such close quarters, tempers will flare and sparks will fly. And the fans will enjoy every minute.

Last year's race winners survived the concrete bullring to come out on top. How will they fare this weekend?

Spring: Jimmie Johnson (first Bristol win)
Fall: Kyle Busch

Spring: Justin Allgaier (only Nationwide regular to win a series event in 2010)
Fall: Kyle Busch

The Sprint Cup drivers will take to the track Sunday for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City. The Nationwide drivers will roll off the grid Saturday for the Scotts EZ Seed 300. The Camping World Truck Series is off until April 2, when it returns at Martinsville.

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage at Bristol Motor Speedway (all times are in Eastern Standard Time. Events without a channel listed will not be televised):

Friday, March 18:
8:30 a.m. NNS Practice
10:30 a.m. NNS Practice
12 noon NSCS Practice, SPEED
1:30 p.m. NNS Practice, SPEED (practice starts at 1:40 p.m.)
3:30 p.m. NSCS Pole Qualifying, SPEED
5 p.m. NNS Final Practice, SPEED
6 p.m. NASCAR Now presented by Wrangler, ESPN2
7 p.m. Trackside at Bristol, SPEED. Guests: Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose.
8:30 p.m. NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
10 p.m. NNS Final Practice, SPEED
11 p.m. Trackside at Bristol, SPEED

Saturday, March 19:
12 a.m. NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
1:30 a.m. NNS Final Practice, SPEED
2:30 a.m. NASCAR Now presented by Wrangler, ESPN2
9:30 a.m. NNS Pole Qualifying, SPEED
10:30 a.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED (practice starts at 10:45 a.m.)
11:30 a.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
12 noon NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
1 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN
2 p.m. NNS: Scotts EZ Seed 300, ESPN
8 p.m. NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
9:30 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
10 p.m. The Daytona 500: The American Dream, SPEED

Sunday, March 20:
4 a.m. NNS: Scotts Turf Builder 300, ESPN2
9 a.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
9 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
10:30 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
12:30 p.m. NSCS Pre-Race Show, FOX
1 p.m. NSCS: Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City, FOX. Green flag: 1:15 p.m.
8 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (reruns at midnight and 9 a.m. Monday)
TV Schedule March 18-20 TV Schedule March 18-20 Reviewed by Admin on Friday, March 18, 2011 Rating: 5