It’s not quite time for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to return to Bristol Motor Speedway, but Matt Kenseth is more than ready for the IRWIN Tools Night Race Aug. 27.

Kenseth, a two-time winner at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile, was in Bristol today, where he met with members of the media, and also made several fans very happy by giving them rides around the World’s Fastest Half-Mile in the golden 50th anniversary Ford Mustang pace car.

“I love coming to Bristol,” he said. “The 50th anniversary is pretty cool and the Night Race is always exciting. The Night Race, with the stands full of people, it is an event. The drivers, crew, everyone, looks forward to it. It’s always fun to be part of it; especially, if you can win.

“There’s nothing like this atmosphere here. Nothing like the feeling you get as a driver, and there’s nothing else like this, as far as the fans go, for excitement. I really do love racing here, and although I haven’t won in a while, I’m hungry to get back to victory lane.”

Paul Lewis, who competed in the very first race at Bristol in July of 1961, was one of those in attendance who got to experience a ride around the half-mile oval with Kenseth at the wheel.

“Oh, yes, that was so much fun,” said Lewis, who lives in Johnson City, Tenn. “And that Matt is a really good guy. I just wish it had been had been the other way around, with me driving him around.”

Fred Hayter, who is from Bristol, has seen every one of the 101 Cup races contested at BMS since 1961. He too got to take a few laps around BMS with Kenseth.

“That was great; we even got to do a burnout,” he said. “I asked Matt how fast we were going and it was 100 mph. He got everything out of that car. And he was very congenial and a very enjoyable guy.”

Kenseth, who won both the 2005 and 2006 Night Races at Bristol and has three Nationwide Series wins to his credit, has won twice this year and currently is sixth in the point standings. A third win at Bristol in the IRWIN Tools Night Race would go a long way towards a championship run.

“I definitely feel like we can win again before The Chase starts and it would be great if we could get another one here,” said Kenseth. “I always feel good when I come to Bristol because I feel like I know this place pretty well. It’s fast, competitive and exciting. And it’s always fun. For drivers, fans…everybody.”

Race week at BMS kicks off Aug. 24 with a doubleheader that features the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 Camping World Truck Series race, and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified Series event. The Food City 250 Nationwide Series race takes place Friday night, Aug. 26.

Fans can enjoy both the IRWIN Tools Night Race and the Food City 250 for as little as $99. Should they be in town for the Wednesday night doubleheader, fans can take in all four races under the lights in packages starting at $129.

Single-event tickets for Saturday’s IRWIN Tools Night Race start at $90 while ticket prices for the Food City 250 begin at $45. Wednesday night doubleheader tickets for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 are $25 in advance of the race and $30 Aug. 24.

Parents also can take advantage of reduced ticket prices for children as kids 12 and under can watch the Food City 250 for only $10 while children in that age bracket will be admitted free to the Wednesday night doubleheader.

To purchase tickets, fans may contact the BMS ticket office at 1-866-415-4158 or 423-BRISTOL.