[media-credit name=”bristolmotorspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]I’m starting my column this week as I sit aboard a 32 foot Columbus Motor Home that has been my chariot to Bristol Motor Speedway 12 times before. For this spring race, we’re traveling a bit lighter than normal, and I have the ability to pull my laptop out and actually get some work done on the 12 hour trip to the hills of Tennessee. Its time like these that help me to remember why I am a NASCAR fan.
Swapping stories about times at our local short track, the days of working on a Limited Modified at Oswego Speedway, to my first dirt race at Brewerton Speedway, to the first time I saw the big show at Watkins Glen International with The Intimidator leading the field to the stripe. Its a 12 hour trip that I normally would dread, but each year “Bristol Eve” takes me back to the snowy Christmas Eve’s as a young pup back in Upstate New York.
Bristol Motor Speedway needs no introduction. It’s The World’s Fastest Half-Mile, is the most covenanted ticket in all of NASCAR, and has been the site of countless historic races and driving moves throughout motorsports history. I made my first trip to BMS in 2002, still wet behind the ears in the NASCAR world, and it was a place I vowed to visit until the day I died. From the moment we made our way down Route 11 and I laid eyes on The Coliseum of NASCAR, to the moment the checkered flag flew on final lap of the 2002 Sharpie 500 , I was hooked.
This is the first time I’ll visit the high banks of BMS as a member of the media, and just like in 2002, I’m looking forward to sharing some special moments and great times with 165,000 of my closest friends.
Due to limited resources here at Bristol, I will not be recapping last week’s picks at Las Vegas:
Its going to be a short column this week because it’s St. Patty’s Day and I’m finishing my column from a picnic table at the Red Barn Campground off Turn 3 here at Bristol Motor Speedway…
There’s no shock here as to who I will pick this week as the winner of the Food City 500…
Its a guy that has won 5 of the last 6 races here in Thunder Valley and has had a strong car all weekend. Kyle Busch is the man I’m putting my money on this week to make a stand for his championship run in 2012. He’s won a third of the Sprint Cup races he’s started at Bristol Motor Speedway (5 wins in 15 starts). He’s also got an additional 7 top-5 runs, and 10 top-10’s to add to his resume for my pick of the weeks. When he’s not winning, he’s finishing strong with an average finish of 9.1 in his 15 starts at the bull ring.
He was in the top-3 in both of the final two practice sessions this weekend and will pilot the No. 18 Wrigley Doublemint Toyota from the 13th spot tomorrow. I’m going with history and a dominant runs in each of the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup series practices this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Dark Horse Pick
Starting up front at Bristol can mean the difference between being collected in a mid-race bumper car fiasco, or keeping your nose clean and hanging with the leaders. Joey Logano has the starting spot towards the front that may keep him clear of any traffic in the middle of the Food City 500. Logano laid down a lap time of 15.392 seconds during Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, and was able to lead 119 laps during today’s Ford EcoBoost 300 Nationwide Series Race.
Logano’s practice speeds were less than impressive however, qualifying him as my Dark Horse of the week.
For the first time all weekend, the forecast is beautiful for the 52nd Annual Food City 500, and I will spend the day circling the .533-mile short track here in Thunder Valley. I would normally tell you to follow me on Twitter for mid-race cell phone shots and Tweets, but I’ve discovered the issues associated with 165,000 cell phones within a 1/4 mile area.
Until next time…You stay classy NASCAR NATION!