Hornish Jr. takes Nationwide points lead to Bristol

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Updated: 8/22/2013 4:54 pm

"It's exciting to be back on top of the points battle, though we still have a lot of racing in front of us," Hornish said. "This championship is shaping up to be one of the most competitive ever, as there are five guys with a legitimate shot at it. We know exactly what we need to do, and our team is hitting stride as we approach this last-third of the season."

The 2013 Nationwide season is now two-thirds complete, and Friday night's race at Bristol Motor Speedway is next on the schedule. Just 18 points separate Hornish from fifth-place Brian Vickers. Elliott Sadler is second in the standings, followed by Regan Smith and Austin Dillon.

Sadler is the only driver in the top-five in points that has won a Nationwide race at Bristol in the past. He won the spring event here in 1998 and 2012. Sadler is presently 13 points behind Hornish.

"Without a doubt, Bristol Motor Speedway is one of my favorite places to come any time of year," Sadler said. "One of the best moments of my career was winning here in March 2012, with my parents by my side. There is something special about being able to come and win at a track that I was a fan at first. My father would bring me here when I was a kid, and I would dream about racing around Bristol. This (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing) team has certainly had an up- and-down season so far, and we are getting down to the wire in this Nationwide Series championship hunt."

Hornish's best finish in four Nationwide races at Bristol is fourth, which came earlier this year. He finished 10th here one year ago.

Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski are those Sprint Cup Series regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Busch won at Bristol for the fifth time in March, which placed him in a tie with Kevin Harvick for most Nationwide victories at this track. Keselowski has won in each of his last four Nationwide starts this season (Richmond, Kentucky, Iowa and Watkins Glen).

Forty-eight teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Food City 250.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, Aug. 23. Race: Food City 250. Site: Bristol International Speedway. Track: 0.533-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 133.25 2012 Winner: Joey Logano. Television: ESPN. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

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