Quite possibly the most popular race on the schedule for fans is up next. It's on the same level as the Daytona 500 because of the popularity and significance.
At only 0.533-miles in length, and surrounded by 165,000 seats, NASCAR has created it's own version of the Roman Coliseum. What once was a small track holding barely 1/5th of what the stands hold now has become the track to go see NASCAR do short track racing.
Add in the fact this particular race happens on a Saturday night, when the lights turn on, and you have the be-all to end-all race in NASCAR.
The Bristol Motor Speedway has become the hardest to get ticket in the sport simply because the race and history behind it include some of the greatest memories and heated exchanges in the sport. Things like Earnhardt's bump and run in 1999, or Carl Edwards' post-race spin of Kyle Busch in 2008. There's Johnson showing Robby Gordon he's "No. 1" and Ward Burton tossing his heat shields at Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It's a race where emotions are on a short leash, and when buttons are pushed, they will become unleashed.
At the end of the day, who is going to capture the victory. Take a look at the writer's picks for the Irwin Tools Night Race:
Misan Ayuka: Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch has took the keys from Kurt Busch. He now owns Bristol. He has just as many wins as the elder Busch and Jeff Gordon do at Thunder Valley (5) and with more on the way.
It could be finally his year to win the championship and a win at Bristol would give him morebonus points over JJ once the chase starts.
James Broomhead: Tony Stewart
Bristol brings out the worst in people. It brings out the petulance in Kyle Busch, the angry in Kevin Harvick but the forceful in Tony Stewart.
At a track where you have to be ready to put the bumper in Stewart has never been shy to. Here’s hoping for him to push his way to the front, with a win as the season heats up.
Kelly Crandall: Kyle Busch
No reason given.
Billy Fellin: Kyle Busch
Considering my last few picks have tanked, I'm going to go with something as close to a sure thing in NASCAR as you can get. Busch at Bristol. He's money. Done and done.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
He owns Bristol, they might even name the track after him when he retires.
Christopher Leone: Kyle Busch
He can beat the 48 now and we all know it. Plus he kills at Bristol. Look for him to keep proving it.
Kara Martin: Kyle Busch
No reason given.
Ryan O'Hara: NO PICK SENT
No pick was sent by the deadline.
Dustin Parks: Kevin Harvick
Heading into this week, I said on me and fellow Fan Vs. Fan writer Patti Rodish's radio show, Lugnuts and Horsepower, that I was going with Kyle Busch, and that he would sweep. But, after Wednesday night's Truck Series race where he was put into the wall, and soon after spun out Elliott Sadler, whom he blamed for his wreck, I changed my tune.
The reason, emotions run high at a short track, and despite Rowdy's great record at the track, he showed that emotions will get the best of him. I know I may be giving up a win since I'm 11th in the standings, but at the same time, I'm going with someone who needs to regain momentum heading into the Chase.
Harvick has won before at Bristol, and I think his win on Wednesday could give him the launch to catch Busch in the standings, and a win will tie him for the Chase lead with just two races to go after Saturday night.
I want to be "Happy" come Saturday night.
Sal Sigala Jr: Kyle Busch
Just a hunch but I should go with his brother Kurt.
Rob Tiongson: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
What the heck? At this juncture, as far back as I am, I gotta throw a wild pick here and it's not like Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't a bad pick. He's run well this season and perhaps the 88 team will hit the right combination at Bristol this Saturday night!
Standings following Michigan:
Sal Sigala Jr. (787) Kyle Busch WON (4)
Kelly Crandall (773) Matt Kenseth finished 10th (3)
Michael Hirshbein (772) Kyle Busch WON (5)
James Broomhead (769) Carl Edwards finished 36th (2)
Christopher Leone (756) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th (3)
Billy Fellin (747) Denny Hamlin finished 35th (2)
Ryan O'Hara (733) Denny Hamlin finished 35th (2)
Kara Martin (699) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th (1)
Rob Tiongson (698) Kyle Busch WON (2)
Misan Ayuka (692) Matt Kenseth finished 10th (3)
Dustin Parks (689) Carl Edwards finished 36th (0)
Final Thoughts: As you can see, the picks do not lie about who the favorite is come Saturday night. It's appropriate since the popular pick did sweep last year at this track, and once again in the spring. However, there will be no sweep by that driver after Wednesday night.
However, the possibility of another sweep is there, and we won't know until the weekend comes to an end.
Coverage of the Irwin Tools Night Race begins at 7 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown, with the green flag set to go approximately a half hour later.
Listen to the Lugnuts and Horsepower Hour on Blog Talk Radio as me and Patti Rodish will give a preview of the race. It airs at 6 p.m. ET on Blog Talk Radio.
Summary of Picks:
Dale Earnhardt Jr-1