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Young drivers have a chance to shine in Truck race

Jeff Birchfield • Aug 15, 2018 at 5:34 PM

It's often called the most exciting night of August race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Thursday's schedule will feature the UNOH 200 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Bush's Beans 150 in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series.

The UNOH 200 is more wide open than a year ago, with former NASCAR Monster Cup Series champion and defending race winner Kyle Busch not entered in Thursday's race.

It leaves a pair of veterans, points leader Johnny Sauter and two-time series champion Matt Crafton, trying to hold off a talented group of young drivers.

Sauter has four wins this season, while Crafton, who was runner-up on the series' other concrete track at Dover, Del., is still trying to break through with his first win.

Brett Moffitt has been the hottest driver in the series lately with four wins this season, including three in the last seven races.

Other young drivers to win this season are: Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Ben Rhodes, Chase Briscoe and John Hunter Nemechek.

Young drivers looking for their first wins are also serious contenders.

They include Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton, winners of the last two NASCAR K&N Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway. They have the confidence of their recent success and being in Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyotas.

Grant Enfinger, who lost in a side-by-side finish to Briscoe at Eldora, and Stewart Friesen, runner-up at the recent Short Tracks U.S. Nationals, are also plenty capable of winning.

Jesse Little, son of former NASCAR Cup Series driver Chad Little, has posted four top-10 finishes in five previous starts this season. His mother is from Kingsport and many of his family still live there.

Race car driver and NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman will try to lead the Henderson Motorsports No. 75 Toyota to the win, while Justin Fontaine is another name familiar to local fans, racing Late Models at Kingsport Speedway before advancing to the top levels.

The Bush's Beans 150 is always a chance for NASCAR's oldest division to perform on the high banks. Points leader Justin Bonsignore is the pre-race favorite, with five wins in the first 10 races this season.

RACE NIGHT OR DAY?

While still called Food City Race Night, the 31st annual event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at the BMS Hospitality Village. It is still the place for autographs, games, food and craft vendors and other activities.

The Fitzgerald Peterbilt Transporter Parade will start Thursday at noon with the transporters on display at Bass Pro Shops at The Pinnacle.

Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon and his brother, Ty, will be available for autographs from noon-1 p.m. The transporters leave at 2:30 p.m. and should pass by BMS around 4:10 p.m.

FIRST RESPONDERS

BMS is honoring first responders around Tennessee through its Neighborhood Heroes program.

They include Bristol police sergeant Matt Cousins, Nashville-based state trooper Russell Bernard, Knoxville police offer Jay Williams and Chattanooga fire captain Steve Everett.

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