Night Racing at Bristol - The Best Race of the Season?
And for good reason. Bristol usually delivers an awesome race, and the night race is usually even better than the afternoon race earlier in the summer.
Of course, since the track reconfiguration, that hasn't been the case. Now the track has been changed again, and any notes the teams might have made are redundant. Practice is even more important than it might be any other week. Luckily, the cars are so far mostly undamaged and no one has had to go to a back up car.
Casey Mears topped the charts in first practice, while Brad Keselowski and Greg Biffle were among the fastest. Biffle can lock up a position in the Chase today, with a finish of 28th or better. Matt, Dale Jr and Jimmie Johnson can also lock up Chase positions tomorrow night, but JJ needs either a win or second place. The scenarios vary depending on laps led or most laps led, but suffice to say they all need to do really well.
Carl Edwards, however, had a fast car to begin with, but reported later in first practice that he was not happy with the way the car was handling. He isn't happy with the tire Goodyear has brought to the track and needs some changes.
Kevin Harvick hasn't had the year he had hoped, and Gil Martin has been returned to the Crew Chief position to try to get their game back on track. Happy is running both the Nationwide race tonight, and the Sprint Cup race tomorrow night. Although Kevin sits 8th in the current standings, he is realistically the only RCR car with a chance to compete in the Chase. Paul Menard and Jeff Burton are both mired back near the 20th position. Harvick needs a win, however, to get him some of the bonus points that are so important in the Chase. Danica Patrick is also running double duty, but her task will no doubt be much more difficult than Kevin's as she has an ill handling car in both series, with no real clue on how to fix the situation.
Final practice will get underway shortly, while I am at work, and no doubt the leaderboard will change. Tonight the Nationwide race will run, and those running that race prior to the Sprint Cup race may be the cars to watch tomorrow, regardless of how they run in practice today. Only time will tell, but even as I sign out of this blog, reports are that adjustments are being made to allow the cars to get through the corners better.