Open Race Thread: NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250 | Bristol Motor Speedway

AUG 24, 2012; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne (60) before qualifying for the Food City 250 Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

Update 7:40 EST: Track drying continues at Bristol. Estimated green flag has been pushed back to 8:15 p.m. EST

Weather permitting...

The chase for the championship is on in the Nationwide Series, starting tonight in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

While not a true playoff format, the top-four contenders are separated by just 35 points, with each of them capable of winning on any given week. With 12 races remaining, the title hunt is wide-open with four of the most diverse and likable drivers in Nationwide Series history gunning for the championship.

Both Sam Hornish Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. trail Elliott Sadler by 22 points entering this weekend's race. Austin Dillon is fourth, 35 markers back.

After two sub-par road course results, Stenhouse and Dillon have the most to prove at the more traditional oval facilities, and could easily exit with momentum and a stone's throw of the championship.

I'm curious to see how Hornish fares in tonight's race. He's coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at Watkins Glen and Montreal but Bristol will be a brand new test for Hornish's championship ambitions.

Despite three years of Sprint Cup Series experience, Bristol is still a bit of a culture shock for those with an open-wheel background. For comparison's sake, Danica Patrick has struggled all weekend in both her Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars. Bristol is unlike anything the IndyCar Series competes on and very few drivers quickly adjust.

Trevor Bayne, who hails from nearby Knoxville, Tenn., is on the pole for tonight's race with Joey Logano, Brian Scott, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completing the top-five in qualifying.

Patrick will start 34th.

The complete starting lineup and a discussion thread can be found after the jump. Tonight's race will be televised by ESPN and will start at 7:30 p.m. EST. An instant reactions recap will be posted shortly after the end of the race.

Starting Line Up by Row
Bristol Motor Speedway
31st Annual Food City 250
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Fri, August 24, 2012 @ 04:41 PM Eastern
Track Race Record: Elliott Sadler 03/17/12 01:41:16 94.74
Row Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 1 60 Trevor Bayne Yourracecar.com Ford 15.833 121.190
2 18 Joey Logano(i) Dollar General Toyota 15.846 121.090
2 3 11 Brian Scott Dollar General Toyota 15.848 121.075
4 3 Austin Dillon # American Ethanol Chevrolet 15.854 121.029
3 5 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. NOS Ford 15.874 120.877
6 31 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet 15.877 120.854
4 7 2 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Chevrolet 15.903 120.656
8 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Discount Tire Dodge 15.903 120.656
5 9 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Detroit Genuine Parts Dodge 15.915 120.566
10 54 Kyle Busch(i) Monster Energy Toyota 15.923 120.505
6 11 30 Nelson Piquet Jr(i) Autotrac/Qualcomm Chevrolet 15.973 120.128
12 36 Ryan Blaney Seal Wrap Chevrolet 16.022 119.760
7 13 33 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet 16.061 119.470
14 44 Mike Bliss Bandit Chippers Toyota 16.083 119.306
8 15 38 Kasey Kahne(i) Great Clips Chevrolet 16.094 119.225
16 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet/AC GenToyota 16.107 119.128
9 17 10 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsport Toyota 16.122 119.017
18 43 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Ford 16.124 119.003
10 19 88 Cole Whitt # SPY Optic Chevrolet 16.170 118.664
20 99 John Wes Townley(i) Zaxby's Toyota 16.172 118.650
11 21 51 Jeremy Clements stjude.org Chevrolet 16.177 118.613
22 40 Erik Darnell The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 16.184 118.562
12 23 19 Tayler Malsam G-Oil/Noah's Light Foundation Toyota 16.190 118.518
24 42 Josh Wise(i) Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet 16.209 118.379
13 25 75 Scott Riggs(i) Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 16.220 118.298
26 81 Jason Bowles # American Majority Dodge 16.230 118.226
14 27 39 Josh Richards Joy Global Ford 16.259 118.015
28 15 Timmy Hill Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 16.302 117.703
15 29 70 Johanna Long # Foretravel Chevrolet 16.311 117.638
30 86 Kevin Lepage Qello Ford 16.315 117.610
16 31 46 Chase Miller The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 16.318 117.588
32 52 Joey Gase # Jimco Windows Chevrolet 16.327 117.523
17 33 01 Mike Wallace Tradebank Chevrolet 16.380 117.143
34 7 Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet 16.431 116.779
18 35 08 Tim Andrews Randy Hill Racing Ford 16.440 116.715
36 41 Fain Skinner Carport Empire Ford 16.467 116.524
19 37 50 David Starr(i) Make Motorsports Chevrolet 16.472 116.489
38 24 Benny Gordon Big Timber/Horizon Entertainment Toyota 16.476 116.460
20 39 14 Eric McClure Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota 16.496 116.319
40 74 Rick Crawford(i) Koma Unwind Chevrolet 16.505 116.256
21 41 4 Brad Teague SCAG Commercial Mowers Chevrolet Owner Points
42 23 Robert Richardson Jr. North Texas Pipe Chevrolet Owner Points
22 43 71 Carl Long Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 16.548 115.954

Did Not Qualify: # 89 Morgan Shepherd; # 47 Stephen Leicht(i); # 00 Blake Koch.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 23 3 Ford 7 0

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