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Race Notes: Tickets Go Unused

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, March 20 2011

Kyle Busch performed his second burnout of the weekend at Bristol on Sunday. It was a less than full house which watched it. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Bristol, Tenn. – It wasn’t a good day to be a ticket scalper outside of Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Folks hoping to peddle grandstand tickets for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jeff Byrd 500 were spotted up to 10 miles from the .533-mile oval less than an hour before the start of the event.

But many of those tickets became expensive souvenirs when the green flag waved shortly after 1 p.m.

Sunday’s announced attendance was 120,000 at an arena that can accommodate just over 156,000 spectators.

Aside from some fans being unable to afford tickets following a deep recession, the empty seats might also be the result of the facility’s reconfiguration in 2007 which turned the oval into a two-groove track.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t see a very packed house today and I hate that,” race winner Kyle Busch said. “The old Bristol is the old Bristol. And we don’t have that anymore.

“It made for some interesting moments with guys that would beat and bang a little bit more and rough each other up a little bit more.

“But with the new Bristol, it’s really cool for all the drivers because we have a race track that we can race on. We don’t have to get into each other to pass each other.

“So I guess there’s less drama.”

Second-place finisher Carl Edwards grabbed the lead on lap 474 before watching Busch reassume

Kyle Busch leads Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson around the high banks at Bristol. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

the lead and pull away for the victory.

Edwards, who is still upset with Busch following an on-track altercation at Phoenix last month, said he considered roughing up the driver of the No. 18 Toyota late in the event.

But he wound up racing Busch clean during the final 30 laps of the race.

“I told (Busch) after Phoenix that I still owe him one, but I’ll save it up,” Edwards said.  “We were running so hard at that point in the run, I don’t know that you could really bump a guy and just move him.

“You might cause a big wreck, you might wreck yourself. Jimmie (Johnson) was right behind us. I thought maybe it would give him the win, so I figured we’d let it calm down and we’d just race.

Busch had little reaction afterwards when told that Edwards may still be plotting a payback from the Phoenix incident.

“Carl says what Carl says,” Busch said. “Apparently, I have one coming. And when and where it comes, I do not know.”

Kurt Busch failed to lead a lap on Sunday but he did convert a seventh-place finish into the outright lead in the championship standings four races into the season.

“We were in good position early on, riding around in third and could see the leaders,” Kurt Busch said. “We pushed our car hard on some of the restarts trying to get up there and lead a lap.

“It just didn’t seem we had the mojo to compete. Those guys were pretty tough today. Overall, we had a solid day. We couldn’t adjust on the car as the race got past halfway. That seems to be our struggle.

“We had another top 10 which is great. We’ll take that. It’s a point-leader type effort. We just want to get up there and try to win one of these things. We’ll keep pushing hard.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, March 20 2011


  • Larry says:

    “Unfortunately, we didn’t see a very packed house today and I hate that,” race winner Kyle Busch said.

    As far as I am concerned, Kyle Busch is a big part of the reason for the empty seats. It is not that the fans are tired of seeing the same winner time and again, but they are tired of seeing someone with his attitude and personality win.

  • Bob says:

    My wife and I would come down from Ohio and had season tickets for like seven years. I got tired having to put out $800 shortly after the August race for two sets of tickets to two weekends. $125 and $130 to attend a race is steep. Then to be forced to pay $65 to watch a “cup light” race made it worse. Every year the camping went up. The tracks, Nascar and the surrounding business people need to wake up. It costs too darn much for the average person to attend anymore. We used to do 10 to 12 races a year, now, if we do one or two it’s a lot. I miss Bristol, but the cost just got too high.

  • Jon says:

    I am a long-time nascar fan, and I finally got the opportunity to go down with some friends for the fall weekend last year for the first time and saw the 2010 version of the kyle busch sweep (snooze festival). Sure wish I would have had the opportunity to go see some races there before they ruined the place. It’s not that the racing is terrible now, it’s just not “racing the way it oughta be” anymore. They took all the character out of the racetrack, and I find it hystarical that everyone tries to blame the empty seats on the economy and gas prices, while ignoring the fact that the racing just isn’t as entertaining as it used to be.

  • SB says:

    Bristol used to have some of the most unique racing in all of Nascar. It is now just another track with more traffic. Be as elitist as you want as far as how the track races now…it’s not the drivers that need to love the track, it’s the fans. When you take something that was one of a kind and turn it into just another track, don’t be surprised when fans decide they can spend their discretionary income for something else.

    • Russ Edwards says:

      Well said SB. The drivers are well paid to do their jobs,(and it is their job. At some point the decline in butts in the seats will really be a major impact to the TV dollars than what?

      Bristol used to be a treat back in the day. Now its just a smaller cookie cutter. Wouldn’t cross the street for it now.

    • Michael says:

      My thoughts exactly. I went yesterday and while it was a good race, Bristol has lost the attitude.