2009 Sharpie 500 Predictions – Betting Preview + Picks + Odds
Race: Sharpie 500 – Bristol Motor Speedway
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time: 7:43 PM EST (scheduled Green Flag)
TV: 6:30 PM EST on ESPN
Preview: This is the second trip this season to “The World’s Fastest Half Mile,” also known as Bristol Motor Speedway. The track has been renowned for the rough and tumble racing that used to characterize a Bristol race, but a repaving project in 2007 seems to have altered that reputation somewhat. Still, hopes are high that the double-file restart rule which NASCAR established earlier this year will hasten the return of that old excitement and energy.
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1. Kyle Busch (+600): Busch won here in March, leading 378 of 503 laps, and has a previous win in the spring of 2007, along with two second-place finishes in nine Bristol starts. Remarkably, in the last two Bristol races, Busch alone led 793 of 1003 laps – that’s 79% of the total laps in the two races combined.
2. Kurt Busch (+650): Kurt was pretty dominant here a few years ago, winning four out of five between ’02-’04 and adding another win in ’06. He and Jeff Gordon are tied for the most Bristol wins with five a piece, but Kurt’s came in 17 starts compared to 33 for Gordon. Busch’s overall program is much improved this year compared to the last two seasons, giving him his best chance in a while to return to his prior Bristol form.
1. Kevin Harvick (+2000): Harvick has the best average finish among active drivers with more than one start at Bristol, a 10.8 in 17 starts. He won the spring 2005 race here and finished fourth in this race last year. Kevin also has four second-place Bristol finishes.
Summary: Bristol could be Carl Edwards best chance to find Victory Lane before the start of the Chase. A strong likelihood of rain Friday would have drivers lining up by points Saturday if qualifying is rained out, putting Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon on the front row.
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Becca Gladden is a freelance writer and race handicapper specializing in NASCAR.