DENVER, NC - Drivers are not supposed to have favorites, but Max Gresham admits that even though he has never driven a lap at the Bristol Motor Speedway, he considers the popular half-mile short track one of his.
Gresham doesn't know what to expect when he drives his No. 8 Made in USA Brand (MIUSA) Chevrolet through the 28-degree-banked corners, but he considers Wednesday night's UNOH 200 one of his most-anticipated events in his first full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck (NCWTS) Series.
"The last time I was at Bristol Motor Speedway, I bought a ticket," Gresham said. "Now I'm going back as a driver. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to race at Bristol. I've wanted this for a long time."
Gresham said Wednesday night's race (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1) should highlight the strengths of his Sharp-Gallaher Racing team. His Made in USA Brand Chevrolet has plenty of speed and the 20-year-old driver loves short-track racing.
Bristol Motor Speedway has often been called Thunder Valley, The Bullring, and The World's Fastest Half-Mile. Following this Wednesday's qualifying at the track, Max Gresham hopes to put the last nickname to the test.
Gresham qualified fourth last Saturday at the Michigan International Speedway. It was his career-best effort in qualifying.
Since Bristol features fast speeds on a small racetrack, Gresham knows the race promises a lot of bent sheet metal and hot tempers. Most trucks will finish with tire marks and dents. Some will inevitably finish in the garage area or on the end of a wrecker's hook.
"You definitely have to be aggressive. I think the fans like to see drivers beating and banging on each other and good bumper-to-bumper racing," Gresham said. "You know you have to use your bumper every once in a while to move somebody out of the way, but you have to do it in a way where it doesn't make them unhappy. That's not easy to do."
Especially on your first race at the Bristol Motor Speedway.