Friday, April 13, 2018

What's Next? Five Questions for Bristol




The field takes the green flag at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.
Photo Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs
By Stephanie Landrey

It's been an interesting open to the season so far. We've seen some domination, and we've seen other teams coming apart at the seams early on. We've watched mandated equipment fail week after week, and nothing to replace it, as of yet.

There's a lot buzzing around NASCAR as it prepares to go on another entitlement sponsor hunt, but let's face it...

This is Bristol Baby!

What happens when Monster Energy steps away from the Cup Series?
This could turn out to be interesting. In times where tracks are seeing attendance down but television ratings up in the key 18-34 demographic, NASCAR is looking for every way to maximize its reach. Monster doesn't want to necessarily end the relationship, but it's highly unlikely that a full series sponsor will exist after 2019. NASCAR is working hard to revamp its business model, and feels that shared entitlements (quite possibly with the tracks it races at and the television stations it's featured on) could be a better deal for everyone. Directors are even looking at the series not carrying an entitlement sponsor name, period. Whatever happens, we have to agree that the partnership with Monster has been beneficial for everyone involved. Monster has gotten a ton of television exposure, and NASCAR is seeing increased ratings. This evolving topic will be an interesting one to follow.

Who will win the coveted Dash 4 Cash this weekend?
This weekend there are no Cup drivers entered into the Xfinity series race. Let me say that again...

There are no Cup drivers entered into the Xfinity race.

Fans have been calling for less Cup driver involvement in its sister series for years. NASCAR has even set limits to the number of races that Cup drivers can run, and when they have to stop running Xfinity races during the season. This was done in hopes that more Xfinity drivers would get exposure to tracks, and hopefully get some wins under their belt. This weekend Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric, and Ryan Preece have all earned the right to race for $100,000 at Bristol. Who will walk away with the money? Based on past performance, I say Christopher Bell. It's going to be a great fight though! Make sure to watch.

Chad Knaus
Photo Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs


Calling the 48 team, where are you?
Let's face it. The 48 team of Jimmie Johnson has had a dismal start to the year. DNFs, tire failures and other issues have plagued the seven-time series champion since Daytona. Jimmie and Chad continue to work hard to get the team to where they need to be, but it seems that every week brings a new issue. Will this be the week that "Seven-Time" gets his first win of the season? Let's not forget that the 48 team does start to get hot towards the middle of the season.

Can Kyle Busch continue his streak at the top?
The No. 18 team has had strong runs all year, finally getting their first win at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. Can he get his second win of the season this weekend, or will he be the bridesmaid once again. Bristol has always been very kind to the younger Busch brother, so it will be interesting to see what unfolds, especially since he holds the pole for Sunday's 500 miler.

Kyle Busch in Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway.
Photo Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs


Will there be any surprises this weekend?
Could this be the week that Kyle Larson gets his first win of the season? Will Clint Bowyer win on another short track? It's all possible. Bristol is a long race, and much of what happens to the standings are dependent on what happens on pit road. Track position is going to be at a premium this weekend, and tempers will most likely flare at some point. This could shape up to be one of the more interesting weekends on the schedule, and that's fine by me.

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