Friday, August 24, 2012

5 Questions before Bristol's IRWIN Tools Night Race


Bristol Motor Speedway
Photo: Genevieve
NASCAR returns to Bristol this weekend for night racing, but with a reconfigured track. After the March race, Bruton Smith (promoter and owner/CEO of NASCAR Speedway Motorsports, Inc.) asked fans if they wanted changes made to the track. They did, so modifications included shaving two degrees off the top of the track, which resulted in only two racing grooves instead of three.

Wednesday night's Modified race was entertaining with wild spin outs, tires falling off and several cautions. If that's any indication of how Saturday's Cup race will run, fans are in for some excitement.

Here are this week’s 5 questions:

Will the reconfiguration of the track prove to be better for fans as well as drivers? NASCAR's goal is to entertain fans and to sell tickets. Bristol used to be the hottest track - and it still is - but tickets used to sell out far in advance. But for the Bristol race in March, the stands looked empty. Will the reconfigured track result in better racing and win over the fans?

Will the Busch brothers reign again in Thunder Valley? Kyle and Kurt Busch have won five times each at Bristol. This season, they’ve both suffered bad luck and neither driver would make the Chase at this point.

In his new book, Game Plan for Life: Chalk Talks, Joe Gibbs described Kyle Busch as a man of purpose and a fierce competitor with extraordinary talent, lightning-quick reflexes and a competitive nature. In his book, Gibbs also stated that ESPN labeled Kyle Busch the “King of Bristol.” Standing 14th in points with one win this season, the younger Busch still has a chance to win his way into the top 10 before Richmond, another track where he is strong.

Bristol Motor Speedway
Photo Credit: Genevieve
Will Danica Nation have a reason to cheer for the GoDaddy.com girl? Danica Patrick is pulling double duty this weekend in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. She started fourth in Montreal last Saturday and led 20 laps until her track bar caused complications (Sportingnews.com reported that her running over a shoe that was thrown on the track by a fan did not cause the problems. It was coincidence that the problem got worse after she drove over it.) Tony Stewart decided his newest driver would face some of the toughest tracks in the circuit this year. He believes it’s the best way for her to get experience before taking on a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013. Bristol is a difficult track that will test her driving skills.

Will the top four drivers stay the top four in points? The top drivers in the points standings are Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Each one has a realistic chance at the championship title. Poor finishes for any of them on Saturday night won’t knock them out of the Chase unless they do not finish the next three races, which is unlikely.

Since Brad Keselowski sits fifth, only 47 points behind the leader, he has the potential to jump ahead. Keselowski already has two wins at Bristol and the Miller Lite Dodge pilot is on a mission to finish first this season.
A fan's view at Bristol
Photo Credit: Genevieve
What is your theme song? The best part of Bristol is that drivers choose their own songs for driver introductions. If you had the privilege of picking a song for yourself and any driver, what songs would you choose?

Song choices from the ladies of Skirts and Scuffs:

Genevieve Cadorette: “Silent Warrior” by Enigma and "All Fired Up" by Pat Benatar for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lacy Keyser: "Wide awake" by Katy Perry. She would pick "Afro Circus" for Jimmie Johnson.

Amanda Ebersole: "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi.

Amber Klima: "Burn It to the Ground" by Nickelback. She would choose "Don't Stop Believing" for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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The Nationwide Series Race airs on ESPN Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern. The Sprint Cup IRWIN Tools Night Race is Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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