The schedule shows that Homestead did, indeed keep the final race of the 2011 Season. The 1.5 mile track is considered to be one of the most beautiful tracks in the NASCAR Circuit with palm trees lining the edges and interior of the facility. With the last race of the season being in late November there is a limit to which track can hold that final race from a weather point of view.
Vegas was discussed in circles of both media and fans to bring the season finale and the awards banquet to the same city. Although in theory this would seem to be a way to bring more fans to Vegas for the awards banquet, in reality a two-week Las Vegas event would be more of a strain on most family budgets than would two individual weekend events on opposite sides of the country.
Driver Contract and Sponsor Deals
Fans began arriving around Bristol Motor Speedway at the beginning of the week. The Camping World Truck Series Race ran on Wednesday night. Due to pre-race engine repairs Pole-sitter Kyle Busch was relegated to the back of the field to start the O'Reilly 200. Busch ran his way through the field and took the lead on lap 91.
On his way to his win, Busch spun Jennifer Jo Cobb on lap 85 when she got loose and checked up in front of Kyle. Busch was in the process of lapping Cobb when the incident occurred. The spin caused Cobb to come down on the number 31 of James Buescher and caused major damage to both trucks.
Friday night's Nationwide Series Food City 250 saw Kyle Busch starting from the third position, after racing Brad Keselowski for several laps Kyle's car got loose and moved up the track in front of Brad. Kyle admittedly thought he was clear; he was not. Brad got into the back of Busch which Kyle thought was an intentional act. From the fan view on replays, it was not. Kyle came back in the next turn on lap 219 and dumped Brad.
Kyle continued to hold off contenders Jason Leffler and Elliot Sadler to take home his second win of the weekend. Busch starts 19th in the Irwin Tools 500 Cup Race on Saturday night and will be going for a win to complete the sweep. He will not go unchallenged, however.
Eleven other drivers are pulling double duty at Bristol this weekend. Todd Bodine and Max Papis are running both the Cup Series race on Saturday night and raced the Trucks Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 200. Drivers participating in the Cup Race after having competed in Friday night's Nationwide Race are Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Elliott Sadler, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, and Paul Menard.
Beyond those drivers starting two or more races Kyle will also have to get past Jimmie Johnson on Busch's way to a possible sweep. Johnson is starting from the Pole on Saturday night and posted a win in the Spring race at Thunder Valley. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was strong in the Nationwide Race and said that his Cup car is very similar; could we see Earnhardt get winners points this week?
Photo 1: http://www.nascar.com/
Photo 2: http://www.espn.com/
Photo 3: http://www.soundandspeed.org/
Photo 4: http://www.nascar.com/
Photo 5: Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Photo 6: http://www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/