The O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 kicks off from Texas Motor Speedway tonight at 8 P.M., where some of NASCAR's best will be battling it out in the Nationwide Series.
A number of interesting storylines have popped up heading into the big race. NASCAR is coming off a rare weeklong break, meaning that riders have had plenty of time to prepare for tonight's race. One driver that's especially ready for the race is Elliott Sadler.
Sadler currently finds himself atop the point standings in the Nationwide Series, and he'll look to continue his winning ways at a track that many fans consider to be his specialty. Sadler already has two Nationwide and one Sprint wins at Texas Motor Speedway, and has always performed well in tests on the track. Combine that with his excellent form thus far this season and it's easy to see why Sadler may be the favorite going into the race.
"So to say that I like Texas is definitely understated," Sadler told the NASCAR Wire Service. "It's a place I look forward to. It's a place I feel like we're going to run good at and we have a chance to win even before we unload. We're taking a very good race car with us there this weekend, the same car I had at Vegas that we sat on the pole with, and hopefully we'll go there and be fast and have a good weekend."
Sadler's chief competition may well be Carl Edwards, who won the race last year, but hasn't won since then. Edwards' famous Victory Lane backflip hasn't been seen in a year, but the driver is hoping to get out of his rut and find himself in the winner's circle once again. The driver has gone 39 races - just over a year - without a win, reports the news source.
One driver that won't be seen this Friday is Trevor Bayne, who shot to fame when he unexpectedly won the Daytona 500 last year. Bayne has been up and down since then, although he was able to pull off a Nationwide win last year as well. Now, however, Bayne's sponsorship has evaporated, leaving him without a vehicle for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300.
"This past year has been a roller-coaster ride," Bayne told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We've been to the top, to the bottom and everywhere in between. It's been a good ride so far. There have been so many things I've had to learn as far as on the track, off the track, not get too wrapped up in the highs and lows. A lot more happened in this last year-and-a-half than I could have ever scripted or imagined."
It's the opposite situation for colorful driver Kurt Busch, who had one too many on- and off-track incidents for his previous sponsors to handle. Now, Busch has found a home on his younger brother Kyle's Nationwide team. Kurt Busch will be back in NASCAR, but he'll essentially be calling his younger brother "boss" - a situation that should be interesting to watch, given the brothers' penchant for headline-grabbing incidents.
Even President Obama is getting in on the NASCAR fun ahead of the big race. The Commander-in-chief has reportedly invited Tony Stewart and other drivers involved in the Chase for the Sprint Cup last year to the White House for a special ceremony. Obama hosts championship teams from all the major sports, and Stewart's victory last season got him the invite.