NASCAR's very best will take part in the world's fastest half mile on Sunday as the Sprint Cup heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500. While it may not have the same prestige as larger tracks like Daytona or Talladega, Bristol may be the most exciting race in NASCAR.
With so little room on the track and speeds exceeding 120 mph, few tracks offer as much paint trading and spectacular pile ups as Bristol. The biggest risk takers tend to get rewarded by taking the checkered flag, but they could just as easily wreck and find themselves in last.
There is a lot of risk and reward when it comes to Bristol, and that is part of what makes it one of the most popular tracks on the circuit. Here is everything you need to know for Sunday's Food City 500.
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.
When: Sunday, March 18 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: TrackPass
Listen: Motor Racing Network
Qualifying will take place Friday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET
3/16/12 Ford EcoBoost 300 (Nationwide) Practice at 10:30 a.m. ET (Speed)
3/16/12 Food City 500 Practice at 12 p.m. ET (Speed)
3/16/12 Ford EcoBoost 300 (Nationwide) Final Practice at 2 p.m. ET (Speed)
3/16/12 Food City 500 Qualifying at 3:30 p.m. ET (Speed)
3/17/12 Food City 500 Practice at 9:30 a.m. ET (Speed)
3/17/12 Ford EcoBoost 300 (Nationwide) Qualifying at 10:30 a.m. ET (Speed)
3/17/12 Food City 500 Final Practice at 12 p.m. ET (Speed)
3/17/12 Ford EcoBoost 300 (Nationwide) at 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)
3/18/12 Food City 500 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
Drivers to Watch
Although he hasn't been a part of the Sprint Cup Series for that long, Kyle Busch is already one of the most prolific drivers in the history of Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR's biggest villain has won there five times, including the March race last season and a clean sweep in 2009.
There is no more aggressive driver in NASCAR, and that is a big reason why Busch has had so much success. He hasn't endeared himself to his counterparts in any way, but Busch is out there for one reason and that is to win races. He is likely the favorite heading into Sunday.
This year will mark Brad Keselowski's third as a full-time Sprint Cup driver, but he has already earned himself a reputation of being a big risk taker. While Keselowski isn't as hated as Busch, few seem to like driving against him, and that was evident when he won the August Bristol race last season.
Keselowski isn't afraid to turn it loose, and that gives him a great shot at taking the checkered flag on Sunday. Keselowski has had a rough go it so far this season with two finishes outside the top 30 over the first three races, but this could be just what the doctor ordered.
Carl Edwards has yet to reach victory lane in this young season, but the opportunity may present itself this weekend at Bristol. Edwards is a two-time winner at Bristol and has finished in the top 10 in each of his past three races at the half-mile track.
Edwards was the runner-up to Kyle Busch in last season's March race at Bristol, and he will certainly be looking to cross the finish line first on Sunday. Edwards has turned into a perennial title contender, and a win at Bristol would give him a great boost early in the year.
Expect Kyle Busch to reach victory lane for the sixth time in a Sprint Cup car at Bristol.