Woody: It’s Crunch Time For Sprint Cup Series
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow hasn’t been able to liven up the show but maybe a visit to the Track of Yesterday will do the trick.
There’s nothing like a hot Saturday night at Bristol to get the juices flowing and the sparks flying, and if this weekend’s race can’t get pulses pumping maybe it’s time to take up cricket or lawn bowling.
Bristol Motor Speedway is a time machine. Polished, sophisticated racers roll onto the track and suddenly revert into raving moonshine runners.
Bristol’s motto is: “Racin’ the way it oughta be.” They got that right. The kind of old-fashioned beat-and-bang action that Bristol offers is what made the sport popular. If you want finesse go watch ball-room dancing; if you want to see a stock car race go to Bristol.
Frankly some of the recent Bristol races have had a lapse in action, but even so there’s still more excitement per square inch than at any other track with the possible exception of Talladega.
The difference in Bristol and Talladega is that at the former you don’t have to hold your breath for three hours. Bristol racing is wild and rugged but for the most part the cars remain earth-bound. At Bristol Carl Edwards’ car may resemble a crushed tuna can after the race, but at least fans don’t have to worry about Carl’s manifold landing in their lap.
Bristol races are typically 160,000-seat sellouts. As other track struggle with sagging ticket sales you wonder what part of “action” they don’t understand? Fans love the kind of bare-knuckle racing Bristol offers, so why, when a new track is built, doesn’t someone swipe the Bristol blueprints?
Instead, they keep cranking out predictable 1.5-mile clones that offer predictable racing. At Bristol the only thing that’s predictable is that the wrecker driver will get plenty of TV air time.
Instead of building more square wheels, why don’t track developers build more Bristols?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said last week about 95% of the racing nowadays isn’t worth the price of a ticket and he’s correct. Most races follow a predictable pattern: an exciting start, following by laps and laps of riding, concluded with a few laps of frantic racing. There’s not a lot meat in the sandwich.
At Bristol there’s no place to hide. Get going or get run over. If you cruise you lose.
Add the fact that the chase to the Chase is winding down – just three more races to set the field, with a half-dozen drivers squirming on the bubble – and Bristol’s hot & spicy racing becomes even zestier. Along with the tire smoke, there’ll be a sense of urgency in the air Saturday night.
It’s Crunch Time at Bristol. In more ways than one.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments