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Frontstretch Folio: IRWIN Tools Night Race

Frontstretch Folio: IRWIN Tools Night Race
by Brad Morgan

The Sprint Cup Series revisits Bristol Motor Speedway for the 24th race of the 2014 season Saturday (August 23). Television coverage of the IRWIN Tools Night Race begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC, or tune into you local Performance Racing Network (PRN) affiliate or SiriusXM Channel 90 for the radio broadcast. Drivers will compete for at least 500 laps (266.5 miles) before the checkered flag waves.

Records and Facts

Matt Kenseth collected his fifth victory of the 2013 campaign in the IRWIN Tools Night Race last season; it was anything but a typical Bristol evening. Kenseth led the final 126 laps and beat Kasey Kahne to the line.

Carl Edwards put on a similar showing at the historic short track in March’s visit, leading the final 78 circuits before earning his breakthrough victory.

Track Facts

Track Length: 0.533-mile concrete oval
Pit Road Speed: 30 mph
Degree of Banking: 24-30 degrees
Frontstretch: 650 ft., 4-9 degrees of banking
Backstretch: 650 ft., 4-9 degrees of banking
Grandstand Seating: 160,000
Website: http://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bristolmotorspeedway
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BMSupdates

Pre-race Schedule

Practices: Friday, August 22, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
Happy Hour: Friday, August 22, 1:30 – 2:20 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
Qualifying: Friday, August 22 at 5:40 p.m. ET on ESPN2

VIPs

Grand Marshal: TBA
Command to start engines: TBA
Honorary Starter/Wave Green Flag: TBA
Invocation: Michael McDowell, driver of the #95 Ford
National Anthem: MRO children of drivers and crews
Flyover: TBA

Race Day Forecast

Sunday: Chance of Storms
Precipitation: 40 percent
High: 82
Low: 66

They Said It:

“I love Bristol and getting back there running all three divisions is going to be fun again. Being able to get back in the Truck of course and then run the Nationwide car and also run the Cup car. We’d love to be able to repeat 2010 — that would be amazing — and do another trifecta. But, since they’ve ground that place it’s not necessarily been my best track lately. So, I’ve got some work to do to figure out how to get better there and make it happen.” – Kyle Busch

“I think every racer loves Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s a fun little bullring. In the spring, the day race pretty much turned into a night race because of the weather and it worked out well for our team. We ended up having a really decent run there, so I have been looking forward to this race for awhile. It’s the type of track where you just have to stay in the race the whole time and fight until the end.” – Austin Dillon

“I always look forward to going to Bristol because I think that the racing has always been pretty good there. Certainly the track changes a lot as the top line rubbers up throughout the weekend, but I’m looking forward to getting there this weekend. The last three races at Bristol, our No. 20 team has run really well even though we got wrecked out of two of those races and won the third. Bristol is one of the more physically demanding tracks that isn’t very forgiving and there’s a fine line between going fast and getting stuck in the fence, so it’s all about finding that balance.” – Matt Kenseth

They really haven’t changed the track in a couple of years, so it’s going to be where it was in the last few races. We’re just up by the fence and with the ride-height rule and more aero this year, the cars handle better so you can run lower longer, but as the tires wear and the pace slows down you’ll want to move to the top.”- Paul Menard

“The speeds at Bristol are so much greater than they used to be. It used to be where they would fall off two, three or four seconds a run while fighting forward drive. Now it’s not so much that, so it’s pretty intense both mentally and physically.” – Ryan Newman

About Brad Morgan

Brad Morgan
Brad starts his third year with the Frontstretch in 2014, in charge of our weekly Sprint Cup trends column Who’s Hot and Who’s Not (Tuesdays). Brad also contributes to our free e-newsletter while popping up at just about every Sprint Cup race Talladega has ever had. He lives in Alabama.