Nascar Racing

Next Gen On Bristol Dirt

From a NASCAR Fan’s View


Here’s some non-news for everyone. All but one of the NASCAR series are taking it to Bristol Dirt this weekend. Only the Trucks and the Cup series will be racing the dirt BUT, you already know that. From this fan’s view and in spite of all the hype, I am in a wait and see attitude of how the racing will be on the Bristol Dirt. You see, contrary to all the positive comments about last year and the hope for even better this year, I wasn’t really all that impressed last year and I am not so sure about this year’s race.

Okay, I know last year had it’s weather challenges and I know it was the first time dirt track prep became important in a long time but still, I guess I expected better. Even though a lot of the talk from last year’s race was positive in many ways, the ones that seemed to enjoy it the most were the drivers. Most all of their comments were about how much fun it was and it was a challenge. From where I sat and what I watched, wasn’t all that interesting.

Look, I grew up around dirt track racing in Southern Illinois and, as I remember it, I witnessed better racing on our local tracks than I saw last year at Bristol. Sure I know that was long time ago and I was quite a bit younger but the racing at those tracks was very good and most always exciting. (I also don’t remember all the dust blocking the view and being able to see the racing even when they raced in the afternoons.) That is one thing I hope they have managed to get right this year. I don’t ever remember our tracks having to stop the racing and wet down the track to maintain a decent racing surface.

I admit, when we as a family moved to Florida, I lost track of dirt racing because, the tracks we frequented, were all asphalt. There were a couple of dirt tracks around but we didn’t go to those so I may not be the best person to ask about it.

What I do remember with fondness – and probably the closest we came to dirt track conditions in Florida – was when it rained a little before race-time. Cars from all the classes would go out and dry the track by driving around and around until we could get it back to a reasonable racing surface dryness. When it was wet it was slick. All of us would press the envelope and drive dirt track style, slipping and sliding sideways just like the dirt guys until it became raceable. To some, it may not have been much fun but to me, I learned a lot about car handling and keeping the car in control as well as having fun drying out the track and pressing the envelope.

Well, I guess that’s enough ranting and remembering times past and it’s time to move on to the present.

The race this year on the Dirt of Bristol is not only the second time on the track with new approaches to the dirt and the track but also with the new Next Gen car. Those two things almost make it the first time on the track again. I’m sure the teams learned something about setting up for the dirt from last time but it is also going to be a brand new experience because of the car. The practices have already shown the drivers a little glimpse of what they will be up against and, to this fan, it looked like they were getting the hang of it. I think it remains to be seen what the actual race will be like because there will be more cars on the track and not only will the drivers be contending with the track but also the other drivers. that always makes for interesting happenings.

At the time of this writing, qualifying hasn’t taken place so I don’t really know how the lineup will look. What I do know is that qualifying has very little to do with how the actual race will go. I’m sure track position will play major factor and I’m sure there will be quite a bit of bumping and grinding as the race progresses. That will likely be what makes it worth watching, if for no other reason than seeing how they all treat each other. I’m expecting there will be more than a little emotion and maybe even a few temper tantrums. I’m just not so sure that this year’s race will be as much fun for the drivers as they say last year’s was. Since they’ve had last year on the Bristol Dirt, they may be a bit more aggressive this year. Last year was fun for them. This year, well… I guess we’ll see…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 16, 2022 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.