- Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 16:54
- Published on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 16:54
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Saturday nights are made for short track action, and short-fused tempers. Last August’s Sharpie 500 provided both as Kyle Busch led 415 of 500 laps only to get the “bump” from Carl Edwards who went on to win the Sharpie 500 for the second year in a row.
In typical Bristol fashion, tempers flared afterward and Busch retaliated after the checkered flag with a bump of his own on Edwards. Going into Saturday night’s race be sure to keep an eye on Edwards as he goes for his third Sharpie 500 win in a row.
Hard to believe, we’re coming into the 25th race of the season and Carl Edwards has yet to notch a win this season. Rival Kyle Busch, who started off like gangbusters with three wins in the first nine races of the season, now finds himself scrambling to qualify for this year's Chase.
The pressure is on and tempers are guaranteed to be short Saturday night.
Busch didn’t settle for second place in this year’s spring race at Bristol, the Food City 500. He dominated the race, leading 378 laps to earn his second victory of the 2009 season.
There has been a lot said and written about the empty seats week after week at NASCAR races this season. Blame it on the economy, or the lack of on-the-track and side-by-side racing caused by the Car of Tomorrow. The fact of the matter is that sellouts have become a thing of the past. National Speed Sport News recently reported that Daytona International Speedway did not even put a block of 50,000 seats on sale for this year's July 4 Coke Zero 400.
In light of this, the announcement from Bristol Motor Speedway last Tuesday was especially impressive. Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manager Jeff Byrd announced that Saturday night's Sharpie 500 was the tracks 55th consecutive sellout of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.
“A lot of effort by our staff here at BMS went into making this happen,” Byrd said. “But the biggest tip of the hat goes to the fans. Those members of the extended Bristol Motor Speedway family, who continue even in tougher times to come back for the Bristol experience, are the ones who put us in this position.”
"We commit ourselves every race to enhance the Bristol Experience for our loyal fans and the fans responded again,” Byrd added.
The streak began August 28, 1982, when Darrell Waltrip edged Bobby Allison by less than a second in front of an estimated 30,000 fans. Since then, the facility’s seating capacity has increased to in excess of 160,000. Not one to rest on their laurels, they have already begun taking orders for their 2010 races.
Fresh off his win at Watkins Glen, Tony Stewart needed only to start last Sunday's CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway to mathematically clinch a berth in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup. He became the first-ever owner/driver to make the Chase.
“We keep the eye on the prize at the end of the year,” Stewart said. “Those 10 bonus points for winning at Watkins Glen could be a big factor at the end.”
Speaking of going to Michigan for last Sunday’s race Stewart said, "We look forward to going there obviously because the manufacturers are there, and it’s a driver's track. You can help yourself out as a driver by moving around on the race track. It does give you that flexibility as a driver to not be just stuck with whatever your balance is. You can search around and try to find a spot that’s better for it.”
Defending three-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who is in third place in the standings, has made every Chase since its inception in 2004. Only one other driver has qualified for every Chase: Matt Kenseth, currently 11th in the points. Mark Martin slipped to the 12th and final position in the Race to the Chase after finishing a disappointing 31st in last Sunday’s CARFAX 400. Kyle Busch dropped to 15th place, 70 points behind Martin.