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Five best Bristol night memories

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Perhaps A.J. Allmendinger will get his first Sprint Cup win and put himself in Chase contention. Perhaps Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win for the first time since 2008 and solidify his spot in the Chase. Perhaps Kevin Harvick will forget NASCAR's warning to lay off Kyle Busch and take a shot at the points leader.

Perhaps Busch will win here for the sixth time to go one up on brother Kurt in their friendly family feud.

Perhaps Brad Keselowski will shout "Kyle Busch is still an ass" over the public address system during pre-race introductions.

Somebody could create a great memory on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). It could be a memory from a win. It could be from an angry moment of passion. It could come from something as simple as a comment in pre-race introductions.

Since Cale Yarborough beat Benny Parsons in the first night race at this half-mile Mecca 50 years ago, there have been arguably more great memories in Thunder Valley than at any other track on the circuit.

Everybody has a favorite. It's hard to top Keselowski saying "Kyle Busch is an ass" over the public address system during last year's pre-race introductions

"I don't know what I'm going to say to top that," Keselowski said Friday as he anticipated pre-race introductions. "I don't even know if I should try. I almost feel like it has its own moment, its own space and there was an authenticity to it you hate to ruin just to have another moment.

"Moments like that, that are authentic, are moments that fans appreciate."

He's right, which is why Keselowski is starting to grow on people. He says what he thinks without the restrictor plate on his speech that other drivers seemingly have.

While most were politically correct and welcomed Danica Patrick into the sport full time in 2012 -- as the IndyCar Series driver announced on Thursday she plans to do -- Keselowski was critical of the way she fast-forwarded her career by appearing half-dressed in sexy poses for magazines.

Here are a few things he said on Twitter:

• "All that said, her ascent up the ladder of the sport thru various branding 'techniques' (swimsuit ads etc) only serves to undermine."

• "Essentially she has opened a Pandora's box for all female racers. If she doesn't succeed, no female will get a chance for years to come."

• "Future credibility of female racers who wish to make it based on skill, mental toughness and a never give up attitude. That to me is wrong."

Raw content. Fans like reading that on Twitter. They like seeing it on the racetrack.

That's what made the Bristol night race "THE" race of the year for many before it was repaved in 2007 to make two- and three-wide racing in vogue instead of "bump and run" moves.

Bristol didn't need one driver calling the other an "ass" to create excitement before then.

Not that everybody liked the bumping and grinding that created so many memories.

"I'm kind of confused now because I didn't realize that's what the fans really love about this racetrack, was just how you knock one another out of the way and the sparks," four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said. "I didn't realize that if we actually made three-wide racing at Bristol, then people wouldn't like it as much as single-file racing, you know?"

Yes, we know.

But if you look at the most memorable moments in the history of the night race, many of them came before the repaving. Fans love drama. It's why much of the focus on Friday was about Wednesday night's Truck Series race in which Kyle Busch had a run-in with Elliott Sadler.

It generated raw emotion like this from Kevin Harvick, Sadler's Nationwide Series owner who already has a long history of run-ins with Busch.

"It is just the old Kyle, I guess, showed up and really laid into the fact that he was kind of pouting because he was getting his butt whipped," Harvick said. "Keeps running his mouth, he might get it whipped off the track."

Those are things fans and even many drivers remember. Not all do. When Earnhardt thinks of Bristol, running around the infield as a kid and his first trip around the track come to mind.

"How terrifying it was, how fast it seemed, how long it took me to get used to that speed," NASCAR's most popular driver recalled. "A lot of memories there. It's an amazing track, and it's only gotten better in my opinion.

"They struck a gold mine when they built it. I don't think they knew it for 10 to 15 years as it evolved. Once they added the banking, it really took off."

The banking, by the way, helped create most of the heated passion that created raw emotion.

The 1999 "rattle the cage" moment between Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte that earned the seven-time champion arguably the loudest chorus of boos in his career consistently stands out as the top memory for most.

Perhaps something will happen on Saturday to replace that. Perhaps Busch and Harvick will have last-lap drama that will jump to the head of the list.

Perhaps you have your own best moments that haven't been mentioned. Here's a look at my top five:

Kyle Busch is an ass and sweeps

Some may remember last year's race for Busch winning to become the first driver to sweep the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series races in the same weekend.

And that was special.

But most will remember the night starting with Keselowski shouting "Kyle Busch is an ass." It was Keselowski's way of answering, without the wrath of the governing body coming down on him, for an incident in the Nationwide Series race in which Busch admittedly "dumped" the Penske Racing driver with 31 laps remaining.

It was one of those priceless moments that you will remember more than the outcome of any race. You may even remember that it was encouraged by Juan Pablo Montoya.

"Juan and I were talking about it and he said I wouldn't do it," Keselowski said. "I said, 'Hell, yeah, I'll do it!' The preacher was standing there and I said, 'Hey, man, would you be offended if I said ass?'

"He said, 'No, man. Ass is in the Bible.' I said, 'Thank you very much!'"

No, thank you.

Dale Jr. is a "heel"

Upset that Dale Earnhardt Jr. had wrecked him in 2002, the usually calm Ward Burton got out of his car, walked up the track and threw his heel pads at the car of NASCAR's most popular driver.

"I wish I had something I could have shot through the window," Burton said afterward. "I've got some really good words I can't say on TV. I've just got to control myself."

That race also was remembered for Gordon putting on the "bump and run" to get underneath Rusty Wallace for the victory that ended a 31-race winless streak. Wallace wasn't very happy about that, either.

Intimidator takes out Labonte

OK, you can't have a list of memorable moments at the Bristol night race without this one.

Some, as mentioned earlier, might call it the most memorable.

It happened in 1999 when Dale Earnhardt spun Terry Labonte on the final lap for the win. Earnhardt said he only meant to "rattle his cage," but the crowd didn't buy that, booing the driver to the point Labonte called it a "chilling reaction."

Responding to the cage-rattling comment, Labonte gave the classic line, "He never has any intention of taking anybody out."

Busch league

Kyle Busch had the dominant car in 2008, leading 415 of the first 469 laps. Then along came Carl Edwards, nudging him out of the way to win the night race for the second straight year.

Then it got ugly.

On the cool-down lap, the two got into a bumping contest that ended with them spinning each other out. They continued their feud over the public address system after climbing out of the cars.

"Carl is going to say he's sorry, that he didn't want to race that way, 'cause that's the way he always does, 'Mr. Ed'-like," Busch said.

How can you not include a "Mr. Ed" moment?

Rusty's water bottle

This one happened in 1995 when the rivalry between Rusty Wallace and Earnhardt came to a head on Lap 32.

Wallace was so mad about being wrecked that after the race he hit Earnhardt over the head with a plastic water bottle. He apparently was harboring ill feelings from an incident two years earlier at Talladega where Earnhardt sent his car flipping down the straightaway.

"I'm not forgetting Talladega and I'm not forgetting this," Wallace said to Earnhardt. "I'll see you at Darlington."

Perhaps we'll see you on Saturday night with more memorable moments.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DNewtonespn.