The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continues on Saturday in Bristol, Tenn., as the best in racing gather for the Irwin Tools Night Race.
The race is an iconic staple of the sport with its prime-time feeling. With the Chase only three races away, it will be crucial for many drivers on the bubble of qualification to run well.
Denny Hamlin won the pole for Saturday's race, which was his fourth of the season as he looks to salvage a disappointing year that was marred by injury.
Here's everything you need to know for the race.
When: Saturday, August 24
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.
Start Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Irwin Tools Night Race Lineup
1. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 128.969.
2. (78) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 128.77.
3. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 128.692.
4. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 128.684.
5. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 128.58.
6. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 128.52.
7. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 128.348.
8. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 128.236.
9. (56) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 128.159.
10. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 128.134.
11. (14) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 127.852.
12. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 127.741.
13. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 127.665.
14. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 127.622.
15. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 127.588.
16. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 127.546.
17. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 127.529.
18. (51) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 127.393.
19. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 127.048.
20. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 126.813.
21. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 126.787.
22. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 126.587.
23. (47) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 126.578.
24. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 126.495.
25. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 126.47.
26. (98) Michael McDowell, Ford, 126.362.
27. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 126.278.
28. (35) Josh Wise, Ford, 126.245.
29. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 126.195.
30. (13) Casey Mears, Ford, 125.798.
31. (83) David Reutimann, Toyota, 125.757.
32. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 125.749.
33. (40) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 125.338.
34. (36) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 125.036.
35. (32) Ken Schrader, Ford, 125.011.
36. (7) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 124.995.
37. (87) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, Owner Points.
38. (30) David Stremme, Toyota, Owner Points.
39. (93) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, Owner Points.
40. (33) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
41. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, Owner Points.
42. (95) Scott Speed, Ford, Owner Points.
43. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Owner Points.
Courtesy of NASCAR.com.
According to Weather.com, all signs point to ideal racing conditions in Bristol for Saturday night's race. After temperatures reach as high as 80 degrees earlier in the afternoon, they should dip to about 74 degrees for the race start.
Rain shouldn't be an issue either, as the forecast maintains a 10 percent chance of precipitation for the evening.
There are just three races separating these drivers from the Chase, so expect the intensity level to be picked up a few notches by these drivers, if it wasn't already.
While Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have moved themselves into contention, drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. are slipping and need big performances in order to keep the momentum rolling in the right direction.
(Note: The top 10 drivers qualify for the Chase, along with two wild cards. At the moment, the wild cards would be Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr.)
|7||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||679||0|
|12||Martin Truex Jr.||653||1|
Courtesy of NASCAR.com.
Picking Denny Hamlin to win from the pole is an attractive possibility given how much he needs a win, but it's hard to count out Matt Kenseth as the favorite Saturday.
Kenseth hasn't had a lot of success at Bristol since the 2007 change to a multi-groove surface, but the move back to the old-fashioned surface has me intrigued. After all, Kenseth's only two wins at Bristol came prior to 2007.
With four wins on the season, only Jimmie Johnson has enjoyed the winner's circle as much as Kenseth, and that experience of being at the front in big races will pay dividends Saturday.
In what cruel, messed-up race could Kyle Busch be any sort of sleeper pick? Well, probably a race that features Busch in the 43rd and final starting position.
It'll be an uphill climb, but not one that Busch is unable to make. After all, he won both Wednesday's truck race and Friday's Nationwide Series race at Bristol.
He also had a bold prediction after Friday's win, per the Associated Press (via USA Today): "Whether you're booing or cheering, glad you're here. Hope you're booing more tomorrow when we take home another trophy."
Busch only has 42 cars to pass, but it'd be foolish to count him out.
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