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Sharpie 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on August 25, 2007

sharpie500.gif

Ahh, the ‘Bristol night race,’ a race a lot of people consider their outright favorite of the year; especially to watch in person.  There will be a lot of wrecks, as always at Bristol Motor Speedway and it will be interesting to see how the “Boys of Summer” like the Car of Tomorrow on the smooth, new concrete surface under the lights at Bristol.

A few story lines to watch for tonight’s race:

  • A Chevrolet has won 8-of-9 CoT races so far this season, the only non-Chevrolet was Juan Pablo Montoya at Infineon Raceway – a road course.

  • A Hendricks Motorsports driver has won 5-of-9 CoT races thus far; however it was the first five races and the Hendricks garage hasn’t seen Winner’s Circle at a CoT race since Jeff Gordon won the Darlington race on May 12, 2007.

  • Kyle Busch, a Chevrolet AND a Hendricks driver won the first CoT race ever which just so happened to be the day race at Bristol Motor Speedway – the very track they’re at tonight.

  • Matt Kenseth, a Ford driver, is working on back-to-back victories in the Bristol night race in 2005 and 2006; Kenseth starts 12th.

  • For the first time in what I am sure is a long time at most tracks, the Starting Grid doesn’t see a Chevrolet until the 9th position; which is filled by Jimmie Johnson another Chevy/Hendricks man.  The rest of the starting grid can be found here: Sharpie 500 Starting Grid

  • Kasey Kahne, a Dodge driver, has the Pole for tonight’s race; last night’s Busch Series race at Bristol was won by none other than Kasey.

There are a lot of tie-ins to the race tonight and the beast that is Bristol never disappoints.  On to the predictions…

The predictions below are almost completely interchangeable.  I am going to give you one Ford, one Chevy, and one Dodge and I really feel like there is a good chance it could be any one of these guys.  The problem for me is that I had a hard time deciding and the problem with Bristol Motor Speedway is you have to avoid trouble at all costs.  This only benefits the guys up front, the ones ahead of most of the traffic until cars start getting lapped.

(The NASCAR predictions will look different for the rest of the season to help clean up their appearance.)

Predictions:

Winner:

Kasey Kahne – #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge – Ray Evernham Racing:

  1. Kasey starts on the Pole tonight and was nearly a half of a mile per hour faster than J.P. Montoya in the 2nd position and on a track like this, that is huge.

  2. Kasey won last night’s Busch Series Bristol race with impressive late-race driving and looks to repeat that performance tonight.

  3. It seems cliche to pick the Pole position to win, but Kasey will be out of trouble early and we will see how he fairs when it gets tricky as he approaches lapped traffic.

  4. Barring trouble, Kahne may be the one to beat tonight as Kasey is likely too far out of the Chase to have a chance so he has the luxury of driving with little to lose.

Others To Watch For:

Matt Kenseth – #17 DeWalt Ford – Roush Racing

  1. Kenseth has won the last two races here at the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway and notching three in a row is going to be tough, but Kenseth has the talent to do it as he already has one win this season. 

  2. Matt always has the fastest Pit Crew in NASCAR and that will only help on a track like this to pick up positions during caution-lap pit stops.

  3. Look for Matt to be at or near the top all day as he starts 12th and has a great chance to win tonight.

Kyle Busch – #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motorsports

  1. Chevrolets and Hendricks’ boys have owned the Car of Tomorrow races this season and luckily for Kyle, that is just the category he falls under.

  2. Busch won the very first Car of Tomorrow race ever which was the day race at this very track, Bristol Motor Speedway; needless to say Kyle knows how to get it done here.

  3. Busch finished an impressive 4th in last night’s Busch Series “tune up” race at Bristol and could easily win it from the 20th position tonight. Believe it – he started in the exact same position when he won the first Bristol race in the spring.

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