Through the first three races of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season, teams have begun to figure out what type of shot they’ll have at winning the championship this year. The Nationwide Series will hit their first short track this weekend which may be hectic for some.
There are 43 cars on the entry list vying for 40 positions. The additional three cars is a rather well sign for NASCAR for the second straight weekend. 40 cars were on the entry list for Phoenix which was a terrible thing for NASCAR. The lack of teams is due to the limited funding throughout the sport and is nothing new. Yet, each time the sport hits the high-banked short track in Tennessee, teams make sure they don’t miss this event.
The Bristol Motor Speedway plays host to this weekend’s race which will be a preview of what will come for the Generation Six’s short-track debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday. Brian Vickers will be doing double-duty for the first time this season. Vickers will have to maintain his focus on his Nationwide Series car as he’s contending for the championship, but will need to have a strong outing on the Sprint Cup Series side, trying to lock up a ride with Michael Waltrip Racing for 2014.
Vickers isn’t the only driver pulling double duty this weekend. Brad Keselowski will also be participating in both events at Bristol as will be Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joe Nemechek.
Expect Elliott Sadler to seriously contend for the win this weekend. Sadler won last year’s Ford EcoBoost 300, but it was on the track before they changed it back to the old style. Joey Logano dominated the race last year, but now Sadler is at Joe Gibbs Racing which could mean that they can combine their setup history to create an unstoppable car for this weekend’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300. Logano also won the race on the new configuration and Sadler also led some laps.
For those who want to see an underdog this weekend, keep your eye’s out for Justin Allgaier. Allgaier was strong at Phoenix which is nearly a short track, but is too fast and long to be one. However, Allgaier has won at Bristol before and seems to be strong at most short tracks. Another underdog would have to be Reed Sorenson. Sorenson will be in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford for the second consecutive week and usually does well with a team once he’s acclimated with their style.
Alex Bowman’s incredible start will probably continue this weekend. The rookie of the year candidate has been running more consistent than the other top rookies, Travis Pastrana and Nelson Piquet Jr., and should run well at Bristol as the team usually does well on low horsepower tracks.
The Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300 at Bristol should be a great race to watch. Race fans will have the opportunity to see how the track will be during the cold weather with severely different conditions from August.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR and can be reached via e-mail at Joseph.Wolkin@gmail.com.