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PREVIEW: August 15-16-17-18, 2019: IndyCar at Pocono, NASCAR at Bristol

PREVIEW: August 15-16-17-18, 2019: IndyCar at Pocono, NASCAR at Bristol

The configuration of the half-mile Bristol oval has changed over the years - from asphalt with 36 degree banking to concrete to concrete-with-progressive-banking. The track was again reconfigured in 2012 after fans complained that they did not like the kind of multi-lane racing the progressive banking produced. More recently, they have begun the practice of adding a traction compound (called PJ1) to make multi-groove racing more possible in hopes of eliminating the single-file procession produced by the elimination of the progressive banking.

Along with the two big tracks – Daytona and Talladega - the little Bristol track has to be the most popular destination for NASCAR fans. It was not long ago that every August night race here was a sellout and, even now in the age of declining ticket sales, they have a good crowd in this big bowl of a racing stadium. For sure, it remains a bucket-list race event.

The Pocono Raceway was originally built to host Indy car races but, in recent years, the track has featured NASCAR events only. There had not been an Indy car race here since the CART race in 1989. The IndyCar series came here, ending the Indy car hiatus, in 2013. This year’s event will be the seventh in the new series of IndyCar races. Unfortunately, this race has a bad history with Justin Wilson’s fatal accident in 2015 and Robert Wickens’ serious crash here last year, a crash which has left him with spinal cord damage that he is working to overcome.

This is the final year of the track’s contract to host the IndyCar series race and the future of this IndyCar event is in doubt. 

Thursday, Aug. 15

1. NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks UNOH 200, Bristol Motor Speedway
• TV: FSR at 8:30P
• 0.533 mi; 200 laps = 106.6 mi; Stages: 55/55/90 laps
• Johnny Sauter was the winner of last year’s NGOTS race here. Stewart Friesen was second and John Hunter Nemechek (who is a regular in the Xfinity Series) was third.
• Last week at Michigan International Speedway Austin Hill came out the winner over Sheldon Creed and Tyler Dippel
• This week’s Bristol NGOTS race is the first race in the truck series playoffs. The eight drivers who have qualified to compete for the championship in this package of seven playoff races are: Brett Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Austin Hill, Ross Chastain, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter, and Tyler Ankrum.

• Click HERE for the NGOTS Entry List

Friday, Aug. 16

2. NASCAR Xfinity Food City 300, Bristol Motor Speedway
• TV: TSN3 at 7:30P
• 0.533 mi; 300 laps = 159.9 mi; Stages: 85/85/130 laps
• Last year Kyle Larson (a MENCS regular) won this Bristol race over Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier.
• Last week’s NXS race was run at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit (a road course). Penske driver Austin Cindric won his first NXS race here, holding off Christopher Bell and A.J. Almendinger who finished in second and third place respectively.
• Including the Bristol race, there are five more races in the Xfinity Series regular season before the seven-race playoff series commences at Richmond Raceway on September 20.

• Click HERE for the NXS Entry List

Saturday, Aug. 17

3. NASCAR MENCS, Bass Pro Shops Night Race, Bristol Motor Speedway
• TV: TSN3 at 7:30P
• 0.533 mi; 500 laps = 266.5 mi; Stages: 125/125/250 laps
• Kurt Busch was the race winner a year ago in Bristol. Kyle Larson was second and Chase Elliott was third.
• Kevin Harvick won last week’s race at MIS with superior fuel management, avoiding a late-race pit stop for fuel. This was his second win of the 2019 season. Denny Hamlin was a close second and Kyle Larson finished in third place.
• There are only three more MENCS races in the regular season – Bristol, Darlington and Indianapolis – before the ten-race playoff series kicks off at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15th.

• Click HERE for the MENCS Entry List

Sunday, Aug 18

4. NTT IndyCar Series ABC Supply 500, Pocono Raceway
• TV: SN World at 2:00P
• 2.5 mi; 200 laps = 500 mi
• Last year at Pocono we saw the horrific crash which has placed Robert Wickens on the sidelines since then. Alexander Rossi (Andretti) won the race over Will Power (Penske) and Scott Dixon (Ganassi).
• The most recent IndyCar race was held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28 – a very different venue from the Pocono triangle superspeedway. It was won by Scott Dixon (Ganassi) over Felix Rosenqvist (Ganassi) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti).
• After this race at Pocono there are only three more IndyCar races – Gateway, Portland, and Laguna Seca – before the season is completed

• Click HERE for the INDYCAR Entry List

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