Monday, March 21, 2011

Fan Insight: Tire issues and low attendance over shadow a decent Jeff Boyd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Please note: This article is on the March 2011 Bristol race, not the March 2012 Bristol race. If you're looking for the 2012 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway that was won by Brad Keselowski, please read "NASCAR: Congrats to Brad Keselowski on winning the Food City 500 at Bristol and congrats to MWR on all 3 cars finishing in the top 5." on ThinkingBrian.com. Thank you.

Welcome readers, after a long and painful off weekend (personal thing) in which only the Truck Series in action, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returned to action this past weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The racing weekend saw a double-header with both the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday and the Cup Series on Sunday in action, and boy did both series put on a decent show, but with the same results.

On Saturday on the Nationwide Series race and franking I don’t know I even bother to watch the Nationwide Series or what is now called the (Kyle) Busch Series, yes Kyle Busch wins again. Or what I like to call the monkey gets the cupcake.

But not to be out done, Sunday saw the same as Kyle Busch lead after the final restart as he drove into the sunset and sweep the weekend.

However don’t let Kyle Busch sweeping the weekend get you down as there still were a lot to talk about from Bristol Motor Speedway.

Notebook

1. Sunday’s low attendance: Let’s get this one out of the way, to be honest even if I were given free tickets to the Bristol race, I still couldn’t attend for the simple reason of it costs to much money for airfare or drive and get a hotel room.

The sky-high hotel rates are ridiculous and race fans simply aren’t going to pay it anymore. Attendance will be hurting for a long time until reasonable packages are made available.

And of course the economy has something to do with it and it’s a day race, not a night race.

2. Danica Patrick, “Welcome to Bristol”: On Saturday, Danica Patrick got a taste of the Bristol stomp and she got wrecked by Ryan Trucex or so she thinks. Of course one Danica got out of her car, he let Truex know her frustration be standing and pointing at him as he went by. Truex did say he was at fault, but I see it as they both made a tiny error, Truex came down a little and Danica came up a little, there was another lane below Danica too.

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. had two solid runs: Believe it or not, but Dale Jr. is slowly working his way back up in NASCAR with solid finishing results. On Saturday, Dale Jr. started 11th and managed to bring the #5 Chevy home in 3rd. Meanwhile in the Cup race on Sunday, he managed to rebound from a 30th place car all day to finish 11th. You will also see that Dale Jr. is now 9th in the Cup Series standings.

I would say that the crew chief swap or better yet driver swap, Dale Jr. getting paired with Steve Letarte is paying off for Dale Jr. Finally Junior has found a crew chief that can keep Junior focused and looking at the big picture. Right now with the exception of Daytona with a wreck that wasn’t his fault, Junior has finished 10th at Phoenix, 8th at Las Vegas and 11th at Bristol. Those are solid numbers and its good to see.

4. I wouldn’t be a “start and park” driver: In the biggest story of Saturday’s Nationwide race, “Jennifer Jo Cobbs refuses to “start and park” in the NASCAR Nationwide race at Bristol.” I wrote the article headline above and it was touching. Now just 48 hours later, Cobbs has landed a one race deal for the California race where she will be driving #41 Rick Ware Racing (RWR) entry.

Let’s see what Cobbs can do racing for the first time at California next Saturday. Good luck to her.

5. Tires, Tires Tires, has NASCAR and Goodyear finally learned from the Indy tire nightmare? It appears on Friday that once Goodyear and NASCAR noticed that the new rightside tires weren’t rubbering up the track, they had a problem. So they put a backup plan into action and Goodyear shipped last years right side tires to Bristol for Saturday and Sunday'’s race.

All I want to say is Goodyear, stop changing the tires in the first place, last years Bristol tire was good and it showed in racing. Damn if its not broke, don’t fix it.

6. Mark Martins vs. Kevin Harvick: A few weeks ago at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick got hit from behind from Mark Martin during a multi-car wreck, but then at Bristol, Harvick got hit again by Martin from behind during a multi-car wreck.

But what bothered me is that Harvick commented on the radio that Martin should get his eyes checked. But if Harvick were to look at the replay from both incidents, he would find that Martin had no place to go and especially in the case of Bristol, Kahen stopped in front of Harvick and Harvick took Martins line leaving Martin with no place to go.

Harvick needs to check his eyes and replays. And next we are off the California Speedway, until then see yeah!