ThatsRacin

NASCAR: Food City 500 preview in 3 minutes

While Jeff Gordon is tied with Kurt Busch for the most wins at Bristol among active drivers (five), it’s been a long time since he won here (2002). It would be a fitting tribute to his final season in the Cup series if he secured a victory on a track which helped define the hate - and now love - fans have had for him over the years.
While Jeff Gordon is tied with Kurt Busch for the most wins at Bristol among active drivers (five), it’s been a long time since he won here (2002). It would be a fitting tribute to his final season in the Cup series if he secured a victory on a track which helped define the hate - and now love - fans have had for him over the years. AP

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. Three drivers – Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. – have each opened the year with seven straight top-10 finishes.

2. Fresh off his first Top-10 finish of the season, Carl Edwards will attempt to follow that up with his first win of year at the race at which he visited Victory Lane one year ago.

3. There have been six different winners in the last six races at Bristol Motor Speedway and one of them – Matt Kenseth – starts from the pole Sunday.

Observations

▪  An unusual quirk in NASCAR’s appeals process could show itself again soon. Unlike other professional sports’ leagues, in each stage of the appeals process in NASCAR, the Appeals Panel and Chief Appellate Officer can uphold the penalties, overturn them or increase them. The last option hasn’t happened often but it has occurred. So, while Richard Childress Racing is hoping to get its entire tire penalty overturned, it also runs a risk its penalty could be made worse.

▪  Good to see Ross Kenseth finally get an opportunity to run in a NASCAR national series event, driving Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota at the June Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland. He has proven to be a smart and talented short track racer and his performance last season in the ARCA race at Kansas Speedway likely opened some eyes to his potential on the bigger tracks.

▪  While Jeff Gordon is tied with Kurt Busch for the most wins at Bristol among active drivers (five), it’s been a long time since he won here (2002). It would be a fitting tribute to his final season in the Cup series if he secured a victory on a track which helped define the hate – and now love – fans have had for him over the years.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Brad Keselowski: He has two career wins at Bristol and finished second to Team Penske teammate Joey Logano in the August race last year.

Kasey Kahne: He’s shown speed nearly every week – he was fastest in Saturday’s first practice – and sooner or later that will push him through to Victory Lane.

Kurt Busch: Busch owns five career wins at Bristol and hasn’t finished worse than 14th in his four races back from suspension this season.

He said it

“Maybe we’ll be able to race all over the track on Sunday rather than just as much on the top. That would be good.” - Kasey Kahne

Notes

600 Festival full of events: This May, the 600 Festival, held in conjunction with the NASCAR events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will include five “family-friendly” events.

The events include “Movies on the Campus” (May 8 in Kannapolis); Haulers on Union (May 14 in Concord); The Valvoline Little 600 (May 19 in Mooresville); Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola (May 21-23 in Charlotte); and the inaugural PNC Speed Street 5K (May 23).

For more information, visit Facebook.com/600FestivalAssociation.

Final practice update: Five-time Bristol winner Kurt Busch led the way in Saturday’s final Cup series practice with an average lap speed of 127.554 mph. Kasey Kahne was second-fastest, David Ragan was third Jeff Gordon fourth and Brad Keselowski fifth. Kahne was fastest in Saturday’s first practice session and was fastest in Friday’s session.

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

Food City 500

Where: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

Track type: .533-mile highly banked concrete oval

Race distance: 500 laps or 266.5 miles

Green flag: 1:14 p.m.

Weather: High in the low 70s with an 80 percent chance of rain.

TV: Fox

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

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