The one thing every fan needs to experience at some point in their life as a NASCAR fan is to go to Bristol. That is one thing, but on every fan’s bucket list for sure is the night race at this track. For some reason a half-mile track under the lights with high banks and high speeds, plus the aftermath of such a race, makes this a go-to for fans and drivers alike.
Bristol for years has been regarded as a crazy race that seems to often bring more aggression, anger, and frustration out than any other track.
I’ve said for years that despite the Daytona 500 being the marquee race on the year, this race is the one fans flock to. There is never a bad seat in the house, because the entire track is surrounded by grandstands. It’s been given the slogan of being the “last great coliseum” because it towers above like no other speedway on the schedule, or in the country. Everything about this track is different, from when the drivers enter during introductions, to when the winner is in victory lane. It’s not often that drivers enter to their own theme music, like in WWE. Then again, it’s not often the winner is on top of the media center.
Then again, the crazy incidents this track has provided have written more chapters and memories than many others. The on-track incidents alone could be as thick as a novel from Stephen King.
This is where the bump-and-run maneuver was made the go-to move to get around other drivers, but when the track got repaved in late 2007 for the night race, the track took a turn, because progressive banking was added. Sadly that experiment didn’t exactly work as expected, because while the idea of having side-by-side racing at Bristol was a good idea on paper, the fans did not like it. Fans didn’t come, ending a streak of sold-out races that lasted for decades. So, the upper grove was ground down to hopefully keep action to a one-lane track, and bring back the bumping made famous at this track.
Well it did work, but ironically now the high line is the one lane that seems to work, and in order to win drivers have to literally dive low and hit the throttle hard enough to squeeze in front out of the corners, or just ram the driver in front. Either way, the idea worked, just not as expected.
Whatever the case may be, Bristol is a track that doesn’t need an introduction. I can say this race is on my list to attend, without question. When it will happen, well that’s yet to be determined.
RESULTS: 1-Kenseth 2-Kahne 3-Montoya 4-Vickers 5-Logano 6-Menard 7-Gordon 8-Ambrose 9-Biffle 10-Earnhardt Jr.
NOTABLE FINISHES: 11-Kyle Busch 14-Bowyer 20-Martin 26-Patrick 28-Hamlin 30-Keselowski 34-Harvick 36-Johnson
CAUTIONS: 11 for 74 laps. Lap 42-47 (#51 accident-T3), 91-97 (#35, 78 accident-T2), 108-112 (debris-T4), 177-184 (#15, 47 93 accident-T4), 203-208 (#33 accident-T4), 258-265 (debris-BS), 335-342 (debris-T3), 360-367 (#43, 48, 55, 83 accident-T4), 376-380 (#30, 31, 42 accident-T2), 440-446 (debris-T4), 448-453 (#39, 56, 11, 29, 32, 2, 13, 30 accident-T3 [Red Flag-4 Mins, 27 Secs.]).
LEAD CHANGES: 16 among 9 drivers. Hamlin 1-22, Kurt Busch 23-76, Edwards 77-92, Truex Jr. 93, Earnhardt Jr. 94-125, Bowyer 126-175, Edwards 176-178, Truex Jr. 179, Edwards 180-235, Kenseth 236-258, Hamlin 259, Menard 260-322, Edwards 323-335, Menard 336, Harvick 337-343, Edwards 344-374, Kenseth 375-500.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 57 Mins, 7 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 90.279 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.188 Secs.
POINTS (Top-10, Wild Cards): 1-Johnson, 821 points**; 2. Bowyer, -18*; 3. Edwards, -53; 4. Harvick, -61; 5. Kyle Busch, -82; 6. Kenseth, -85*; 7. Earnhardt Jr, -107; 8. Kahne, -120; 9. Biffle, -123; 10. Logano, -136. WC1-Truex Jr. (14th, 1 win), WC2-Newman (15th, 1 win).
**Previously clinched spot in Chase.
*Clinched spot in 2013 Chase at this race.