Bristol use to be a one-lane race track where drivers had to use the “chrome horn” to move a guy out of the way to advance position. While fans loved it and driver’s fought after it the brain trust at Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) thought it was time for a change.
Insert Progressive Banking
Now all of a sudden Bristol went from a one-lane race track to a three-lane track where drivers coveted the high line versus the low line as they previously did.
Fans hated this. It created no passing and a follow the leader around the top of the race track. At times it showed flashes of brilliance as some guys could run three wide and battles were had. For the most part, though the fans detested this version of Briton. The hardest ticket in NASCAR to get suddenly became one of the easiest to obtain.
“Tear it up and try again” is what most fans said. Drivers even clamored for the old days while some guys appreciated the new Bristol, for the most part, everyone fantasized about the days when “bump and run” was common vernacular at Bristol. People yearned for the days of Gordon moving Rusty or Dale rattling people’s cages. This new Bristol might not produce those finishes but it has the opportunity to produce some close side by side finishes like the end of Stage 1.
Last year when NASCAR started experimenting with the VHT traction compound they sprayed it around the bottom lane at Bristol, and magic ensued.
Now the bottom line with the traction compound was a viable lane on the track. Drivers could dive in on the bottom and gain on guys that went to the top. Guys on the top could counter with huge runs off the corner. Suddenly Bristol started to race like a dirt track where passes took multiple laps to complete leading to some dicey situations.
Meanwhile, NHRA was sitting over there like we could have told you guys about this stuff years ago.
Last Night Was As Good As It Gets At Bristol
Saturday night had 19 lead changes, a compelling battle for the win, comers, and goers, everything you could want from a short track.
There were conflicts, there were incidents on and off track and someone other than the Big 3 won a race!
Kurt Busch won his sixth Bristol race, in case you didn’t get Rick Allen’s “sick pack” reference as Busch took the flag. After getting the nose punched in on the Lap 2 incident that damaged brother Kyle’s car. Kurt and crew chief Billy Scott spent much of race playing catch up until there were 24 laps left when he took the lead and didn’t look back.
Before Kurt took the lead though fans were treated to a number of guys battling for the top three spots. Lason, Blaney, Elliott, Almirola, Stenhouse, MTJ, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, all competed for the lead. Drivers were using both the bottom and top lanes, guys were diamonding the corners, slipping and sliding. And guys were using the bumper when they needed to.
Bristol will never be what it once was with a single lane on the bottom but what we saw Saturday night was certainly the next best thing. A race that finished under three hours and was packed with action. Imagine if we had that every week and didn’t have to groan about another 1.5-mile track coming up.
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