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NASCAR Jeff Byrd 500: Can Concrete Carl Edwards Do It Again, Or Will Rain Spoil Everything?

In 2007, after winning four Nationwide races and two Sprint Cup races on the three NASCAR-sanctioned tracks with concrete surfaces, Carl Edwards was christened "Concrete Carl."

The hottest driver in NASCAR right now very well could rekindle that nickname this afternoon, as he goes for the victory from the pole in today's Jeff Byrd 500 (1 p.m. Eastern on FOX).

Edwards is currently riding one of the best streaks in recent memory. Over the last five races, since taking the checkered flag at Phoenix in November to break a 70-race winless streak, he has two more victories, a second-place finish and a second place finish in the Daytona 500. What's more, with Friday's pole-winning run, he has claimed the top spot in four of the last six qualifying sessions.

If anyone is to deny Edwards, it could be his rival for the second of his two Cup wins at Bristol, Kyle Busch.

Busch should easilly be the headliner entering the day, having won yesterday's Nationwide Series race to stretch his winning streak in NASCAR-sanctioned races at Bristol to four. He swept all three national series last August, becoming the first driver to do so, and has won three of the last four Sprint Cup events at the track.

The one race Busch hasn't won in the last two years was this event a year ago, which became Jimmie Johnson's 50th career Sprint Cup victory and his first ever at Bristol in his 17th start.

There are a blevy of other potential storylines for today's race - which SB Nation Atlanta will look at in depth later this morning as we do each race day - but all onlookers will be keeping one eye on the skies. According to Weather.com, a 20-30% chance for rain persists throughout the afternoon and evening in Johnson City, TN, the track's physical location.

In the event of a brief rain shower, two things work in the favor of the track and NASCAR. First is the concrete surface, which dries much quicker than the asphalt that is standard at most facilities. Secondly, Bristol of course has lights, the first of current NASCAR tracks to introduce them. If necessary, NASCAR very well could give fans a prelude to the August night race at the track that remains one of the hottest tickets in all of sports, rather than packing up and trying again tomorrow.

Whether the race goes off today or becomes the first rain-postponed event of the 2011 season, this is how they will line up for the Jeff Byrd 500:

Row 1: Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford) & Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)

Row 2: Regan Smith (No. 78 Chevrolet) & Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)

Row 3: David Ragan (No. 6 Ford) & Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)

Row 4: Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet) & Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 Toyota)

Row 5: Mark Martin (No. 5 Chevrolet) & Kasey Kahne (No. 4 Toyota)

Notables:

12th: Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)

13th: Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet)

15th: Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet)

20th: Kurt Busch (No. 22 Dodge)

22nd: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)

25th: Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)

31st: Bill Elliott (No. 09 Chevrolet)

Click here for the full starting lineup, courtesy of Jayski.com.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.