The Front Row Motorsports drivers go into the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with their heads held high, confident of a good finish at the popular half-mile track.
David Gilliland, driver of the #38 Ford, which will feature a brown and orange A&W Restaurants livery for the Food City 500, has been a strong qualifier in the past at the World’s Fastest Half Mile. In 13 Sprint Cup starts, his best result was a ninth.
“We feel like we’ve been really competitive as an organization at Bristol for the last couple years, so we’re excited about going back.” said Gilliland. “For me, the reconfiguration didn’t really change the racing much at all. You still get so much momentum up high, as long as you can run up there, and it’s hard to pass down on the bottom. So it’s still the same old Bristol. We feel like we had a great package that has given us a lot of good speed there the past couple years, so Bristol is definitely a highlight on our schedule.”
Josh Wise, driver of the #35 MDS Transport Ford, echoed Gilliland’s belief on the reconfiguration and also said that racing at Bristol brings back memories of his early-career short track days.
“Bristol is awesome.” said Wise “Last year they tried taking that top lane away and it didn’t really happen, which I think is cool. I love that top lane and racing up there. I know it can get a little strung out up there, but as a driver it’s fun to run up there. The guy who can get his car working the bottom is usually the team or the driver that prevails in that race. So that’s the big challenge, trying to be the guy who gets your car to work down there so you can make those passes.
“I love short-track racing.” he continued. “I think anyone you ask in the garage will probably say the same thing. We all grew up racing short tracks, and something about it brings back those good old-time memories.”
Finally, David Ragan, driver of the #34 Dockside Logistics Ford, believes that the Food City 500 could be the first “wild card” of 2013, with no Sprint Cup testing at the circuit for the Gen-6 car.
“I think Bristol could be one of the bigger wild cards in the first few races of the season.” said Ragan “Goodyear had a test at Phoenix and a test at Vegas, but nothing at Bristol so far. So I think Bristol will be a pretty good wild card to see what we’ve got at a short track where the track’s been altered in the last year, the tire’s different and we have a different racecar.”
Ragan has seen success at Bristol, earning his second NASCAR win at the track in the Nationwide Series. His highest Sprint Cup finish in 12 starts is tenth.
“Bristol, Richmond and Martinsville are some of my favorite races of the year.” he added. “I like short-track racing. I like the atmosphere at a short track. Bristol always has passionate fans and it’s a great venue. So I’m absolutely a short track fan and I’m looking forward to going to Bristol.”