Mar 17, 2013; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne (5) wins the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR 2013: The New Bristol Will Never Be The Old Bristol


I’m not sure what race fans want. The race track at Bristol Motor Speedway will never have the old magic it once had, because the track surface, cars, rules, and drivers have all changed. I’m sorry folks, the old one-groove race track that provided fans with what could only be classified as a demolition derby, has been re-surfaced. Rusty Wallace has retired, Dale Earnhardt is no longer with us, Winston doesn’t sponsor races any longer, and Mike Helton, along with Brian France are running the show at NASCAR. At my age, I have come to the reality that no matter what you do, you can not turn back the clock.

I attended The Food City 500 on Sunday, sat on the back straight, and had a wonderful day. As an older race fan, Bristol has been on my “bucket list” for years, and I decided to open my mind and just enjoy my first trip to Thunder Valley.

Because of the overnight rain, the race track was clean, and the first 100 laps were spent in single file racing with pole sitter, Kyle Busch dominating, with an 8-10 car length lead at times. There was a lot of bumping, and banging, but very little passing. Cars would race down the straights, but found it difficult to complete many passes in the corners. The outside lane was the premier real estate all day. The wild card was lap traffic.

The racing on Sunday began when the race leaders were able to catch up with the back of the pack. Slower cars around the race track provided a challenge to race leaders with how to get around the slower cars without losing the lead. Time after time, cars in the racing groove were forced out of the groove by lap traffic, leaving an opportunity for a pass.

I personally enjoyed the race on Sunday. No, there weren’t any spectacular wrecks, and nobody got hurt. That, in my opinion was a good race. We had 17 lead changes with ten different drivers, what else do you want?  Big spectacular wrecks, cause way too many caution laps where there is no action, only the pack following the pace car around lap after lap.

There were a lot of empty seats at Bristol on Sunday, and I’m not sure why. Mike Fuori’s weather forecast was spot on, and rain was not a problem. I almost think scheduling for this race is the larger of the problems. It is too early in the year for this part of the country. We had snow on Wednesday, and rain on Saturday. So the weather had to deter folks from coming out. It is also Selection Sunday, with fans who are into March Madness staying home for all of the Conference tournaments.

This race fan had a wonderful day at Bristol. Plenty of space around my seat, and a very good stock car race. We had an altercation between Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin, plenty of bent sheetmetal, and I got to see Charlie Daniels perform. I’ll go back.

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Tags: Bristol Motor Speedway Kasey Kahne Kyle Busch NASCAR Sprint Cup Series