From beginning to end, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season featured its share of entertaining races. Perhaps none more entertaining than the August 25th running of Bristol Motor Speedway’s IRWIN Tools Night Race, a variety of post-season polls and rankings continue to indicate.

Sporting News is the latest to place the August classic at the top. NASCAR columnist Jeff Owens writes, “Track officials had the upper groove of the track ground to reduce the banking and hopefully the racing groove, generating closer racing and more contact.

“It worked, and the numbers tell the story. In March, there were just five caution flags and only 13 lead changes among seven drivers. In August, there were 13 caution flags and 22 lead changes among 13 drivers.

“Denny Hamlin won for the first time at Bristol and the action was fierce and physical. The highlight was Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth crashing and Stewart throwing his helmet at Kenseth. Tempers were so hot, Danica Patrick even flipped off Regan Smith.

Earlier this month, the IRWIN Tools Night Race was crowned Top Race of 2012 in NASCAR’s Top 2012 Performances.

NASCAR’s release stated, “Bristol’s night race evolved into Bristol’s Night Race – capitalized – because of the emotional fender-bending, bump-and-running and temper-igniting qualities that blossom under the lights on the high banks.

“This race had all that, and more. The racing? Intense: Thirteen different drivers led a lap, three short of the all-time Bristol record. The action? Robust: There were 13 cautions, the most in the last 11Bristol races. Denny Hamlin won the race, but two side acts stole the show.

“One, of course, is Tony Stewart’s helmet toss at Matt Kenseth’s No. 17. The other, an undercard to Stewart vs. Kenseth, was Danica Patrick’s finger point at Regan Smith after a wreck in her first Bristol race.”

And in October, Bleacher Report recognized Bristol Motor Speedway as the top place to see a race. Writer Jerry Bonkowski penned, “If you have a bucket list—or even if you don't—and there is only one racetrack that you must visit in your life, Bristol MotorSpeedway is the place.

“Take a bowl-shaped arena that may be equally conducive to host a football game, squeeze in 160,000 fans and then add 43 race cars bouncing off of each other on the so-called "World's Fastest Half-Mile," and you wind up with BMS.”

NASCAR racing returns to Bristol in less than 90 days, with Sprint Cup, Nationwide and K&N East Series racing action. The weekend starts with Ford Fan Friday featuring qualifying the for the Nationwide Series 300, the Food City 500 Cup race and the popular fan event, Food City Race Night.

On Saturday, the Nationwide Series takes to the track for a 300-lap event, followed by the K&N East Series 125.

And on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), the Cup Series hits the high banks with the short track debut of NASCAR’s new car in the Food City 500.

For tickets to any or all of Bristol’s 2013 events, call 1.866.415.4158 or visit