NRA 500 2013: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2013

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 04:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates during the victory champagne toast in The Speedway Club after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season is still young, but Texas Motor Speedway always provides drivers with a measuring stick early in the year. A poor finish won't necessarily sink anyone, but performing well in Texas can often catapult drivers to successful campaigns.

After the wildness that ensued at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway last week, things should be a bit tamer in Texas. The speeds will be significantly higher on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, though, so the potential for a big wreck certainly exists.

Here is everything that you need to know about when and where to catch the NRA 500 on Saturday night, complete with the preliminary lineup as well as which drivers you should keep an eye on.

Where: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas

When: Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX

Listen: PRN

Live Stream: FOX Sports Mobile

NRA 500 Lineup

There are 45 cars entered to qualify for the NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, according to FOXSports.com. Qualifying will take place on April 12 at 6:40 p.m. ET on SPEED Network.

1 Jamie McMurray

2 Brad Keselowski

5 Kasey Kahne

7 Dave Blaney

9 Marcos Ambrose

10 Danica Patrick

11 Brian Vickers

13 Casey Mears

14 Tony Stewart

15 Clint Bowyer

16 Greg Biffle

17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18 Kyle Busch

19 Mike Bliss

20 Matt Kenseth

21 Trevor Bayne

22 Joey Logano

24 Jeff Gordon

27 Paul Menard

29 Kevin Harvick

30 David Stremme

31 Jeff Burton

32 Timmy Hill

33 Landon Cassill

34 David Ragan

35 Josh Wise

36 J.J. Yeley

38 David Gilliland

39 Ryan Newman

42 Juan Pablo

43 Aric Almirola

44 Scott Riggs

47 Bobby Labonte

48 Jimmie Johnson

51 Austin Dillon

55 Mark Martin

56 Martin Truex Jr.

78 Kurt Busch

83 David Reutimann

87 Joe Nemechek

88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

93 Travis Kvapil

95 Scott Speed

98 Michael McDowell

99 Carl Edwards

Drivers to Watch

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson is obviously worth watching, no matter where the race is held, as the current Sprint Cup points leader is the best in the business. He has also been particularly good at Texas over the years. Johnson won the November Texas race last year after starting on the poll, and he won there back in 2007 as well, so he has a track record of success.

Johnson has been dynamite thus far in 2013, and there is little doubt that he'll be among the top contenders on Saturday night. Johnson nearly swept the Texas double last year, as he finished second to Greg Biffle in the April race, and he will give it another try this season. There are plenty of drivers in the field who excel at Texas, but nobody would argue with the notion that J.J. is the odds-on favorite.

Brian Vickers

Perhaps the most disappointed person on Saturday night will be Denny Hamlin, as the injured driver of the No. 11 car will be unable to race due to a back injury. A very capable driver will be filling for him, however, in the form of Brian Vickers.

Hamlin swept the Texas slate in 2010 and he is a constant threat at this track. A lot of that has to do with his skill as a driver, but it also means that his car has been good at Texas, as has his pit crew.

Although Vickers only has two career victories, he has never really been blessed with a top-notch ride over the course of his career. He was a member of Hendrick Motorsports, but he was always No. 4 on the priority list behind Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. All the resources will be poured into Vickers and his ride this weekend, though, so he has a real chance to prevail.

Carl Edwards

After an incredibly disappointing 2012 season that saw him miss The Chase, Carl Edwards has bounced back in 2013. Not only does Edwards have a win to his credit, but he has compiled three top-five finishes and currently sits in seventh place in the standings. He figures to build on that positive momentum on Saturday night, as nobody in the field has more Sprint Cup wins at Texas.

Edwards has come out on top on three occasions and he has won twice on the Nationwide Series as well, so it's blatantly obvious that Edwards loves to race in the Lone Star State. His confidence has to be higher now than it has been in nearly two years, and that means Edwards is easily among the favorites to reach victory lane.

Projected Winner: Jimmie Johnson

It may seem like the obvious choice, but it simply isn't smart to pick against Johnson at Texas. He's extremely consistent and is nearly always near the front, so the odds are definitely in his favor. There are a number of drivers who can give him a run for his money—including Vickers, Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and many more—however, the No. 48 car is the one that all others will be chasing.

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