Three things to watch
1 . Matt Kenseth is fresh off his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing and enters a track which hes enjoyed success before. Can he make it two in a row?
2. Kyle Busch has five Cup wins at Bristol but in those victories he never started better than 12th. Sunday, Busch starts from the pole for the first time.
3 . Danica Patricks first visit to Bristol last August in the Cup series was going fairly well running in the Top 20 and on the lead lap when she got caught in an accident with 66 laps remaining.
• While any publicity may seem like good publicity, there are certainly instances when the philosophy should be abandoned. Two such cases occurred Friday. Jeremy Clements, who was reinstated by NASCAR last week after being suspended for using a racial slur in an interview, elected to do a media availability at the track. He certainly didnt say anything controversial. In fact, he was very gracious. The problem is you cant write another story about what Clements said without in some way referring to the reason why he was suspended in the first place. Its likely a topic NASCAR would like to see disappear from the headlines.
And then theres Denny Hamlin. After a statement Thursday in which NASCAR said it considered Hamlins case closed, it seems to me it would have been in Hamlins best interests to leave the issue behind him. Instead, he chose to appear before the media on Friday and basically restated his belief he was in the right, belittled some of his fellow drivers for not having a backbone and said NASCAR could go not go about the business of getting its credibility back. Not sure that will go over well, either.
• Bristol Motor Speedway is always looking for new ways to highlight the unique venue and will do so again this summer when it hosts a Global RallyCross event on July 20. BMS officials said the RallyCross course will utilize some of the high banking in Turns 1 and 2 as well as the infield, since it will be absent all the NASCAR haulers which typically fill it on race weekends.
Three picks for your fantasy team from Jim Utter:
Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth
KBM adds fourth driver: Kyle Busch Motorsports will field a NASCAR Truck entry for 16-year-old Erik Jones in five races this season, beginning with the April 6 race at Martinsville, Va.
Last March, Jones became the first 15-year-old driver ever to compete in the Automobile Racing Club of America series. In 10 ARCA starts Jones earned four top-five and five top-10 finishes while leading 103 laps.
"I've been around Erik a few times running late models hes a good kid and a good driver, so we're excited to be adding him to the crop of young talent we've assembled at KBM this season," Busch said.
N.C. Hall adds drag racing: The N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville will expand its facility by more than 1,500 square feet to house historical drag racing vehicles and memorabilia.
This will be a great day for all drag racing participants and especially the fans, said Jim Turner, executive director of the N.C. Drag Racing Hall of Fame. For more information, go to ncarhof.com.
Testing at The Rock: Four drivers Max Gresham, Ron Hornaday, Justin Lofton and Brennan Newberry plan to test Thursday at Rockingham Speedway in preparation for the April 14 NASCAR Truck race. Kasey Kahne won the inaugural event last season.
Where: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway
Track type: .533-mile banked concrete oval
Race distance: 500 laps, 266.5 miles
Weather: High near 60 with a 50 percent chance of rain.
TV: Coverage begins at noon on Fox. Green flag is 1:16 p.m.
Radio: Performance Racing Network