Bristol Weekend Preview: Edwards even more prepared for Bristol following April win

Carl Edwards won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Getty Images)

Carl Edwards won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Getty Images)

Fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers should fear Carl Edwards this weekend.

The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing wheelman claims he’s more prepared to tackle Bristol Motor Speedway in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (8 p.m. ET on USA) than he was when he led a race-high 276 laps on his way to victory at the Tennessee track in April.

“We’re going back with what we think is a better plan, a better car, and hopefully we can go qualify well again and put the Stanley Toyota in Victory Lane,” Edwards said.

Showcasing his racing prowess at Bristol is nothing new for Edwards. His four wins at “The Last Great Colosseum” are his most at any track. He also has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 24 career starts there.

“You’ve really got to plan your passes,” Edwards said. “You’ve got to work traffic. Hopefully we can start up front, stay up front and play the game the right way.”

Edwards will attempt to become the first driver to sweep Bristol since his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch achieved the feat in 2009. The four current JGR drivers – Edwards, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin – have accounted for 14 wins in the last 22 Bristol races (though some of those victories came while they were with different teams). They will try to snap Joey Logano’s streak of two consecutive wins in the August Bristol night race.

“We’ve been having a lot of fun,” Edwards said. “This race is one of the ones we look forward to as an opportunity to have a good time and win another trophy before the Chase starts.”

Jones Goes For Bristol Sweep

No driver in the NASCAR XFINITY Series has completed a track sweep yet this season.

Erik Jones will attempt to become the first in Friday’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on USA). The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver shot by his mentor Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson on a late-race pass to win at “The Last Great Colosseum” in April.

Erik Jones (Getty Images)

Erik Jones (Getty Images)

If Jones wins Friday, he’ll join Steve Grissom (1995) and Kyle Busch (2011, 2013) as the only drivers to win both Bristol NASCAR XFINITY Series races in the same season.

“After two road courses, I’m really excited to get back to Bristol this weekend,” said Jones, who leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series with three victories this season. “I love the short track races and night races always seem to work out better for me. Having won the race early this year at Bristol, I know we’ll have a fast Camry and know what we need to do to get around the track and be in contention for the win.”

Race Weekend Guide

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Race: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

Date and Time: Saturday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. ET

Tune-in: NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 266.5 miles (500 laps)

What to Watch For: Four races remain until the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, leaving winless drivers just four more chances to secure an automatic berth to the playoffs with a victory. … Joey Logano looks for his third straight win in the August Bristol night race. … Kyle and Kurt Busch can break their tie for the active wins lead at Bristol (five victories). … Joe Gibbs Racing goes for its 21st win in 42 races dating back to last season’s contest at Kentucky. … The current four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers – Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth – have accounted for 14 wins in the last 22 races at Bristol.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Race: Food City 300

Place: Bristol Motor Speedway

Date and Time: Friday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET

Tune-in: USA, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 159.9 miles (300 laps)

What to Watch: Only five races are left before the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. … Ty Dillon will try to notch his first win of the season in his 100th career series start. The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing driver is currently third in the points standings. … Blake Koch currently holds the 12th – and final – Chase spot. He will attempt to hold off 13th-place Ross Chastain, who he leads by three points, as well as 14th-place Dakoda Armstrong (-18 points).

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