The Backstretch Blog's Race Day: Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
I know it is incredibly cliche', but there really is only one Bristol Motor Speedway. Drivers, teams and fans a like circle this date as soon as the schedule comes out. They all believe a trip to Bristol, a night race win, is bucket list material. Short track racing wasn't born here. But sometimes it feels like it was.
"There's not another one like it," said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "It has always been a surprise to me that nobody has ever tried to emulate it somewhere else because it's such an incredible place. And it's surprising to me that nobody has tried to rebuild that sort of racetrack somewhere else to see how it would do. But maybe it's best there's only one."
There is also only one Dale Jr. and this will be the sports most popular driver's final race at Bristol. As you may have heard (haha), Junior is retiring at the end of the season, but this is one on the tracks he will truly miss racing on.
"A lot of tracks, the bigger tracks, you need a lot of race car to do well," said Junior. "And here you need a really good driver. And I felt lucky and fortunate to have got a victory here."
You all so have to be mentally and physically strong, because 500 laps around the last great coliseum, with take a lot of you.
"I still get chills walking into it, but it's also a place where you know you are going to spend 500 laps racing around cars, bouncing off each other and bouncing off the walls," said AJ Allmendinger. "A place that after I'm done my forearms are so worn out just because you are so tense. One of those places that you know it's a grind, but if you can run in the top 10 or more importantly pull your car into Victory Lane it's a very special place. It's a love/hate relationship, but it's the fastest, most crazy racetrack you have ever been to, so if you have been there you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you have to come."
Kyle Busch has been crazy fast all weekend, sweeping every stage and both wins int he Truck Series and Xfinity Series races. Busch swept all three races back in 2010 and he's two-third of the way to doing it again.
" Two for two right now, so we do have the opportunity to go for three," Busch said after his Xfinity series win. "Having fast race car and having a really good handling M&Ms Camry will help me be able to get through 500 laps."
Busch will have to work a little harder for it tonight. Unlike the previous two races, Busch will not start on the pole fo the Bass Pro Shops/NRA NIght Race. He will start 18th. P1 goes to Erik Jones. It's Jones' first career Cup series pole and Bristol is a pretty special place to get it.
" I was hoping to be able to accomplish that this this year it was one of our goals one of my goals for sure," said Larson. "Pretty awesome especially at Bristol. It's a cool place to get your first pole"
Joining Jones on the front row will be Kyle Larson, followed by Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth. Tennessee native Trevor Bayne will start 20th at his home track.
"Bristol is such a special place for me," said Bayne. "A win here would mean the world to me with it being my home track. I remember coming here as a kid and it would be incredible to add my name to the list of winners here, especially in the Night Race. Plus, it would get us into the playoffs which would be huge for this entire team and for Roush Fenway as a whole to have two cars in the playoffs."
The green flag drops on the Bass Pro Shops/NRA Night race at 7:48 pm. You can watch the race right here on News 5 WCYB.