It’s that time again… The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes on the Bristol Motor speedway. It is one of the most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit and has been for a long, long time. Well… at least that’s what they say about it. It used to be a little more popular back in the day because it was a place that stood for old school racing and old school racing aggression. These days … well… it is still called ‘Thunder Valley.’
One thing that never seems to change about Bristol is that it is a short track. The thing that comes along with the short track connotation is high emotion. High emotion usually means shorter tempers and hurt feelings when it comes to the drivers. Although those hurt feelings don’t usually hang around that long because of that other thing called “retaliation” and that is why fans like short tracks so much – at least in this fan’s opinion – the way the drivers respond to those intense emotional situations. Funny how that thing called adrenaline can affect how some respond to different situations. Short tracks always seem to bring out the true side of driver aggression and payback can often be the order of the day.
One thing I have mixed emotions about is the addition of the traction compound. I think the thing I don’t understand about adding the traction compound is why they only use it on the bottom. It was obvious that it helps the bottom groove but, when the drivers would get out of it or above it, their cars got squirrely. Personally, I think if they are going to use it and they know this a high speed short track, they should at the very minimum extend it out through the second groove and possibly even higher.
I don’t pretend to know much about it or understand the thinking behind just putting it at the bottom, (at least other than what they’ve said about why they do it), but I just don’t get the reasoning. From this fan’s view, they’ve done so much to the track to try and make the racing better but everything they’ve done may help in one way but cause problems in other ways. I just don’t see that much benefit to it so far at the places they’ve used it. (Of course nobody cares what I think anyway but, I just had to let my opinion out there.)
The Fords look pretty tough again this weekend especially the Stewart/Haas Fords. In fact, up until the final minutes of the final practice, I might have picked Kurt Bush or Clint Bowyer to be the one celebrating in Victory Lane at the end of the race. They both ended up with damaged cars. Kurt Bush will be going to a backup car and though he qualified on the front row, he will be starting in the back.
While I’m talking about that, there are some big names that will be starting in the back because of different situations over the weekend. Three of those big names are Kevin Harvick, Kurt Bush and Jimmie Johnson. Go ahead and ask any of those three. It is much better to run Bristol much closer to the front than from they will have to start. I am by no means saying they don’t have a chance to win from the back but I am saying they do have their work cut out for themselves and their teams.
It has been interesting to see how many of the Roushe/Penske Fords seem to be performing in much more visible places these days. We are seeing names we don’t usually see at the top of the list when it comes to fast times in practice. I don’t intend to make a big deal about it but it is interesting.
There are some drivers whose names we don’t hear all that often but I like them and it wouldn’t bother me at all if one of them won at Bristol. Drivers like David Ragan, Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher and even A. J. Almendinger. Yeah, I know those last two drive Chevys but all of them work hard every week and I can’t wait for that unexpected winner to take home the trophy in one of these races.
That being said, it is really hard to ignore Kyle Bush starting from the pole. He could be the one in Victory Lane at the end of the day but, as is often the case for him at Bristol, he doesn’t usually win when he starts out front. don’t know why that is but it is a fact in his history.
Well, if it doesn’t rain before they have a chance to finish, it should prove to be a very interesting last segment to the final checkered flag. When it is over, another thing will have been said numerous times during the race and with all the emotion and possible temper flares and that would be, “It’s Bristol, baby!!”
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 14, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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