The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins after just three races. America’s stock car coliseum, Bristol Motor Speedway, hosts the next race, the Irwin Tools Night Race August 23 in Bristol, Tennessee.
Fans without tickets to unique .533-mile oval with 24-degree variable banking, arguably the world’s fastest short track, can view the action on ABC at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Fans won’t likely see a hat trick of wins by any one driver during the last three races, but maybe a winless driver or two will beat the odds and the competition to Victory Lane.
The chance for one of these eight drivers commenting now about Bristol, and then winning Saturday night is good. Seven have clinched a playoff spot and one is highest in points among non-winners.
Jeff Gordon probably has the most momentum rolling into Bristol, and talked about confidence heading into BMS.
“Alan (Gustafson) and the crew are giving me great cars,” Gordon said. “It’s a lot of fun going to the track right now, and this week is no exception. It’s a track that most drivers seem to enjoy racing at. It’s a track the fans love, as well.”
Kevin Harvick has the uncanny ability to chase down leaders as race laps dwindle. He spoke about BMS.
“It’s a fun place to race,” Harvick said. “Sometimes you go there and you have no success because you run into something. It’s kind of feast or famine. We want to win races and, really, nothing else matters at this point except for wins.”
Like Harvick, Brad Keselowski seeks wins as well. He pointed out the difficulty of the high-bank track.
“This has been a different track for us these last few races, and honestly it has been a bit of a struggle for us.” Keselowski said. “The team has been working diligently to improve our Bristol car. This track and this race in particular is one that I truly enjoy.”
Joey Logano is positioned well with his two wins, and stated his purpose going into BMS.
“We have been strong at Bristol since I started over here with Team Penske,” Logano said. “I’ve always loved going to Bristol, and having a good car under me these last couple of years has helped. I want to get that third win before the Chase starts.”
Matt Kenseth will no doubt make the Chase on his strong point total unless three winless drivers win in the next three races. He defined BMS.
“The track changes a lot as the top line rubbers up,” Kenseth said. “Bristol is one of the more physically demanding tracks that isn’t very forgiving, and there’s a fine line between going fast and getting stuck in the fence. It’s all about finding that balance.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a crowd favorite and crowds at BMS can see the drivers up close as they race. He shared his enthusiasm.
“I’m really hoping to just be able to make all the laps,” Earnhardt said. “If you are out there making all the laps, you’re going to be enjoying yourself because you can’t run around Bristol without having fun.”
Jimmie Johnson seems to overcome just about everything to pull out the best finishes. He seemed confident about BMS.
“Looking forward to Bristol,” Johnson said. “It should be an exciting race for the fans for sure. Looking forward to keeping all the wheels on it, under the lights Saturday night.”
Kyle Busch has had a string of bad luck lately, and it’s been mostly mechanical. Perhaps Busch the human will prevail this week. He talked about his success at BMS.
“I love Bristol,” Busch said. “I’m not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol. I’ve just had a lot of success there, but I’ve also had some misfortune there, too. Ever since I got through my rookie year, I’ve just taken a liking to the place.”
Like Busch, drivers and fans have taken a liking to the legendary motorsports coliseum over the years. The roar in the giant Tennessee bowl will sound off soon.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.