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NASCAR at Bristol: How to watch, track info, starting order

Alex Andrejev, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

Cup racing returns after less than a week as NASCAR heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday's 3:30 p.m. race on FS1. Brad Keselowski will start on the pole with Aric Almirola in the front row. The starting order was determined by random draw.

The Food City 500, renamed the Supermarket Heroes 500, will be the sport's first short-track race of the season on the half-mile oval in Bristol, Tenn. It will feature a reduced downforce package introduced for 2020, which is aimed at increasing driver input on short tracks and road courses.

"This package is a lot like the 2018 package," No. 18 crew chief Adams Stevens said, noting that there are also key differences.

"They really changed the aero balance and what you're going to have to do with the mechanical balance to sort that back out," Stevens said.

Last year's Food City 500 race was won by Kyle Busch. The second race of the season at the same track was won by another Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, who has already secured two wins this season, making both drivers strong contenders for a top finish Sunday.

WHO TO WATCH

 

NO. 18 KYLE BUSCH

Although Busch is coming off two disappointing races at Charlotte -- a second-place finish at Tuesday's Truck race that the driver said was the result of broken equipment, followed by an 29th-place finish at Thursday's Cup race, the reigning Cup Series champion could break out of his slump with a stage or race win this weekend.

Stevens said that Busch's ability to adapt to the "nuances of the track" is what has made the driver successful at Bristol in the past.

"He can make time on the bottom, in the PJ1," Stevens said. "He can make time around the top when that's the place to be, and he's not scared to move around, and really is exceptional at getting through the lapped traffic as well."

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