Gen-6 car ready for Sprint Cup short-track debut
Auto Racing Videos
BRISTOL, Tenn. — There's an expectation from fans that a ticket to Bristol Motor Speedway will get them a seat to NASCAR's version of the Roman Colosseum.
They got one of those throwback, rock 'em, sock 'em races last August, when changes to the track surface forced drivers to get aggressive again. A month into a new Sprint Cup season, NASCAR could use another race like that.
Sunday's race will be the fourth for the new Gen-6 car, and the first this season on a short track.
“Everybody is on egg shells. Drivers are on egg shells. I think the fans are on egg shells. The media is on egg shells. The sanctioning body is on egg shells,” defending champion Brad Keselowski said. “You get the collective sense in this sport that everyone is feeling a lot of pressure and if we don't have a perfect week every week everybody just kind of shakes down in their boots. So I think, right now, every week is a big week in this sport.”
Nobody knows what to expect at a track once beloved for its action-packed racing.
But a reconfigured racing surface in 2007 altered Bristol into two racing grooves, sometimes three, and drivers could race side-by-side for the first time. Without a need to forcefully use the front bumper to navigate traffic, drivers enjoyed the new Bristol.
Fans absolutely hated it, and the track that boasted 55 consecutive sellouts suddenly had swaths of open seats.
Track owner Bruton Smith saw enough last March and ordered grinding to the top groove to tighten up the track and recreate the old Bristol racing. He got some of that in August, and the drama, too: Tony Stewart threw his helmet at Matt Kenseth after contact between the two knocked Stewart out of the race.
Denny Hamlin thinks Sunday will be even better.
“The lower line has got more grip than I've ever felt here in the past,” Hamlin said. “I think we're going to see one of the best races we've seen in a long time here because the low line does have a lot of grip, and we know everyone is going to start making their way higher just to make their car work, so it's going to be a good mix of both, I believe.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Autistic twin men locked up in Maryland home
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Starkey: Pirates, Burnett could work again
- Contractor shot, killed in Homewood
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Pirates notebook: Phillies’ Burnett not demanding trade
- WVU notebook: Mountaineers focus on ‘national recruiting’
- Duquesne signs 6-foot-5 guard Jackson
- Allegheny County warns of uptick in Lyme disease cases
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Paterno son, another ex-football assistant coach suing PSU