Bristol: Round five preview

* Back-to-back short tracks offer no shortage of intrigue DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 21, 2006) -- After four races at some of NASCAR's largest and fastest speedways, it's time for back-to-back short tracks. Bristol Motor Speedway and ...

* Back-to-back short tracks offer no shortage of intrigue

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 21, 2006) -- After four races at some of NASCAR's largest and fastest speedways, it's time for back-to-back short tracks.

Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway host the next two stops on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. At just over a half-mile in length, the two smallest tracks on the circuit are known for producing some of the biggest thrills.

Adding to the drama of the close-quarters racing at Bristol, Sunday's Food City 500 is a pivotal date on the 2006 schedule. In the first five races of the season, including Bristol, the top 35 teams from the 2005 car owner point standings were guaranteed a starting position in each race.

At Bristol, the pressure to maintain a "locked in" position in the top 35 is on the line. Following this weekend's race, the top 35 teams in the current 2006 car owner's point standings are guaranteed a starting position in the field.

Sunday's race also is an intriguing chapter in the ongoing story of Kurt Busch's switch to the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, owned by Penske Racing South.

With his previous team, Roush Racing, Busch mastered Bristol's high-banked layout and won four of the last eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races there.

In other words, Busch became a present-day Rusty Wallace, whose former car he now drives.

Before Busch took over driving duties in Penske's famous No. 2, Wallace brought the Penske team seven Bristol victories in a nine-year span, from 1991-2000. Wallace has a total of nine Bristol wins, dating back to 1986.

Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, says he immediately recognized the potent team-driver-track combination when he joined his new team.

"We looked at the schedule and put a big circle around [the date at] Bristol," said Busch. "We're so excited to go to Bristol; this is definitely the focal point and the beginning of the season for us. I'm excited to have a chance to drive this car at Bristol. I know how many times I tried to hold [this car] off, because it was just going that much faster than mine. We know we have the best possible car to go to Bristol with. And for myself, with four victories there, it's my favorite track on the circuit."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace
Teams Team Penske