After two straight road-course events, the Nationwide Series makes its return to the oval. With just a half mile of pavement, the change will have to be quick for the championship contenders.
While Chris Buescher secured his first victory of the season at Mid-Ohio, he is still well outside of contention for a title. Chase Elliott continues to pace the field but has five drivers behind him separated by 52 points or less.
Full-time Nationwide drivers will be looking to knock off one dominant Sprint Cup driver in the field. Kyle Busch has victories in the last three races and six of the last eight checkered flags.
With Elliott looking to separate himself further from both Regan Smith and Elliott Sadler, the young driver will try for a another top-10 finish at Bristol. He's mastered most tracks he's raced on this season and has hopes for a fourth win on the year.
Here's a look at the schedule, standings and full preview for the Food City 300 at Bristol.
Food City 300 Information
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee
When: Friday, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Pos.||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
Equipped with three wins already this season, Busch comes in as the resounding favorite to win a fourth at Bristol. Thanks to his recent streak, it would mark a fourth in a row at the short track.
While young guns like Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ty Dillon and Trevor Bayne were all factors in the March event, Busch was again the dominant force. But the last time out on a traditional track at Indianapolis, Busch was left frustrated as Dillon captured the win.
Busch was especially candid about his feelings following the race, per Chris Estrada of NBC Sports' MotorSportsTalk:
Overall, we just never were as good as we were last year unfortunately. We never had the car or the opportunity to stay up front. I guess we did get up front but gave it away on that last restart there in Turn 1.
We came down in there, the car never turned, and the car on the inside – Ty- just drove on by and made me look stupid. He got the lead and it was over from there.
Who will win at Bristol?
Outside of the full-time Sprint Cup drivers like Larson, Busch, Kevin Harvick and others on the track, several championship contenders are in need of strong runs.
Of those, the closest to chasing down Busch in March was the younger Dillon brother. Finishing sixth, Dillon showed he has the potential to run near the top of the leaderboard on the half-mile track.
Following his win at the Brickyard, Adam Alexander of NASCAR on TNT believed Dillon would start to roll:
While Dillon hasn't quite done that, he's still just 28 points off the lead behind Elliott. If he can hold off Busch yet again at another track, he would close that gap tremendously and help his title hopes.
A cast of veteran and rookie drivers hope to make their mark at Bristol for different reasons. Whether it's to continue a run at a championship or simply get a tuneup for the main event on Saturday, the Nationwide race will be another riveting one to watch.
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