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2012 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

By

Bristol Motor Speedway
Logo Courtesy of NASCAR

2012 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway:

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the east coast this week with a stop at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile." Bristol Motor Speedway will host the first short track race of the 2012 season when the 2012 Food City 500 takes the green flag on Sunday afternoon.

Tickets:

Speedway ticket office (423) 764-1161

The Track:

Measuring in at .533 miles and featuring progressive banking which ranges from 24 - 30 degrees in the turns Bristol Motor Speedway is very tight and very fast. Racing here was once compared to racing jetfighters in a gymnasium.

The high speeds and close quarters makes for a lot of pushing and shoving on the track, and sometimes in the pits. Adrenaline (and tempers) run high as often the only way to pass is to shove the guy in front of you out of the way.

Race Distance:

500 laps = 266.5 miles

The Big Picture:

Greg Biffle is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to post top five finishes in all three races held so far this season. By virtue of that great consistency Biffle leads the points by ten over second place Kevin Harvick.

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings:

  1. Greg Biffle
  2. Kevin Harvick -10
  3. Denny Hamlin -12
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -18
  5. Matt Kenseth -23
  6. Carl Edwards -23
  7. Tony Stewart -25
  8. Martin Truex Jr. -27
  9. Joey Logano -27
  10. Mark Martin -28

Storylines:

The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard the appeal this week from Chad Knaus and the rest of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team. This appeal was in response to the fairly harsh penalties that NASCAR assessed the #48 team after discovering that the C-posts on the car did not meet NASCAR's specifications in Daytona. This problem was found on the car during initial inspection for the Daytona 500 before the car had been on the track.

The original penalties included: Crew chief Chad Knaus and his car chief Ron Malec were suspended from the next six Sprint Cup races, suspended from NASCAR until April 18th and put on probation until May 9th. Knaus was also fined $100,000.

In addition, Jimmie Johnson was docked 25 driver points and his car owner, Jeff Gordon, was docked 25 car owner points.

The team appealed the penalties and the results of that appeal were announced this week.

"Upon hearing the testimony, carefully reviewing the facts and historically comparative penalties, the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel was to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR."

The team can appeal one more time to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer. They have raised their appeal to this second level but at this point I do not expect a different outcome.

Because of the appeal Chad Knaus is expected to be at the race track again this week in Bristol but it is entirely likely that this will be the last time we see him until he has served his suspension.

Media Coverage:

TV: Fox Sunday March 18th 12:30PM Eastern.

Radio: PRN and SIRUIS Satellite

Actual Race: 1:00PM Eastern

Recent Events:

2011 Polesitter: Carl Edwards

2011 Winner: Kyle Busch

Last Year:

Last year Kyle Busch was crowned the New King of Bristol Kyle Busch swept the Truck, Nationwide and Cup series events at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2010. He then backed that up last spring with wins in both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series events making it five Bristol race wins in-a-row across all three of NASCAR's top touring series.

Predictions:

Kyle Busch found the right setup and avoided trouble in 2009 by spending most of the race out front. This race track clearly suits his style. Kyle swept both races here in 2009, picked up the win in August of 2010 and added another Sprint Cup win in the 2011 sprint event. Clearly Kyle makes a great pick this weekend in Bristol.

Jimmie Johnson has the spotlight on him once again this weekend but that's nothing new for "Five-Time." Johnson has had a lot of fast cars at Bristol in recent years including a win in this race in 2010. Since then he posted a pair of top fives and one bad finish. Even in that bad finish he still managed to lead 175 laps before having trouble.

Jimmie Johnson will be looking to make a statement this weekend and he has a history of speed here that would make him a strong contender even without the added incentive. Johnson makes a solid backup option this week in Bristol.

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