The NASCAR series had its first dry weekend of the year in Las Vegas, but that luck isn't expected to continue for a second straight week, as rain is expected to impact the weekend at Bristol. Particularly, it is the Food City 500 on Sunday that SB Nation's NASCAR meteorologist, Brian Neudorff, says is in jeopardy of being forced back to Monday:
I don't like to throw out the term "washout" when talking about a NASCAR race. The daylight hours of Sunday definitely look like a wash as I expect rain from 7 a.m. Sunday morning all the way into Sunday evening. The forecast models are hinting at a possible break in the rain by around 8 p.m. Sunday night but my concern is even with lights and AirTitan the window won't be big enough to get an official race in let alone a full race complete.Odds of racing Sunday (including racing under the lights), around 30 percent.
When the race is ready to go, all eyes will be on Dale Earnhardt Jr. still, as he is off to a furious pace to start the year. With a win at the Daytona 500 and second-place finishes in each of the subsequent weeks, he is the points leader in the series, although Brad Keselowski is just behind him.
With second- and third-place finishes in each of the first two races of the year, and a victory in the Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas, Keselowski is just one point behind Earnhardt for the top spot in the standings.
Their early success has made for a comfortable gap between second and third. Earnhardt hasn't been very successful in Bristol over the last decade. He hasn't won at the track since August 2004 and has finished outside the top five in 11 consecutive Bristol races. Alternatively, Keselowski has two wins and a third-place finish in the last five Bristol races.
But as successful as Keselowski has been, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon may be even more noteworthy, as the three have won 13 combined Sprint Cup Series races at the track and are the three highest-rated drivers at Bristol on Jayski.
The weekend at Bristol will begin on Friday night with Sprint Cup qualifying. The race winner at Bristol has started from the pole position 22 times, and 85 of the 106 races have been won from a top-10 position. However, no driver has won from the pole since Carl Edwards did so in 2008. Here is the full schedule for the weekend:
Bristol 2014 racing schedule (all times ET)
Friday, March 14
Sprint Cup practices -- 12-1:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Sprint Cup qualifying -- 4:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1
Saturday, March 15
Nationwide qualifying -- 10 a.m. on ESPN2
'Final' Sprint Cup practice -- 12-1:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 2
Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 -- Green flag drops at 2:16 p.m. on ESPN2
Sunday, March 16
Food City 500 -- Green flag drops at 1:13 p.m. on FOX. Pre-race coverage begins at 12 p.m.