Now that we know Kyle Busch in fact will be behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota this weekend and starting the 2012 season, contrary to rumors that have persisted since the debacle last weekend, we can all turn our collective minds towards the Kobalt Tools 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway.
While Busch will likely receive a lion's share of the attention throughout the weekend - as he has since the 13th lap of last Friday's Camping World Truck Series race - the duel between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart for this year's Sprint Cup crown is also a headline-dominator. Edwards is the defending champion of the race, a feat he may have to duplicate if he is to hold off Stewart's sudden surge towards a third championship.
In addition to that trio, there will be 43 other drivers attempting to pick up one of the 43 spots in Sunday's race, equating to 46 individual stories to be told in the penultimate race weekend of the 2011 Sprint Cup season. Storytime begins Friday, with the opening practices on the reconfigured one-mile, D-shaped oval, and thanks to NASCAR broadcast partners SPEED, ESPN2, and ESPN, all of the weekend action will be available for your viewing pleasure.
All times Eastern:
Practice - 1:30 p.m, ESPN2
Final practice - 5:30 p.m., ESPN2
Qualifying - 1:30 p.m., SPEED
NASCAR Countdown - 2 p.m., ESPN
Kobalt Tools 500 - 3 p.m., ESPN