The watercooler talk between myself and my fellow NASCAR fans this week has been about Bristol. They seem so excited for a race that I haven't been excited about in four years. Ever since the repave and rebanking job done in 2007, I just look at Bristol as "another race". Yes the track has expanded from one to two grooves, but I enjoyed the single groove racetrack previous to the Summer of 07'.
What I enjoyed about it? Slower cars could still play a factor and get good finishes by track position. Drivers had to work harder and race tougher to keep their position. The rivalries and fights made Bristol...Bristol.
What I didn't enjoy about it? Caution after Caution. The average green flag run would be about 25 laps. If my favourite driver had a fast car, he'd be stuck in the back somewhere and get caught up in a wreck.
The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. Here are some statistics to prove or disprove my opinion. The stats for the new races includes all races on new track. The stats for the old Bristol include the last 7 races with old paving.
Average Lead Changes: 14.57
Average Cautions: 9.14
Average MOV: .860 seconds
Average Starting Position of Winner: 10.3
Decrasing Attendance (Not sure if because of track or economy)
Average Lead Changes: 16.14
Average Cautions: 13.28
Average MOV: 1.545 seconds
Average Start Position of Winner: 12.86
Hardest Ticket in NASCAR. Seven straight sell-outs
While statistics don't directly relate to the enjoyment of the race, 3 of the 4 barometers of entertainment lean towards old Bristol. Was hoping to hear what my fellow Racing Refs thought about this one. If you had to choose between NEW vs. OLD Bristol what would it be?
10 years ago the Wood Brothers experience the joy of victory for the first time since 1993 and driver Elliott Sadler won his first ever Cup race. John Andretti in the Petty #43 set up a great finish between two of the most iconic teams in NASCAR history. Elliott Sadler through strategy was able to go the final 160 laps on one set of tires to win the Food City 500.