Bristol – Same Track, Same Tire, Different Car

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Rusty Norman

When you listen to people talk about the Bristol Motor Speedway you hear them say a lot of things that are almost cliché. In fact some of them have been said so many times people almost don’t listen anymore. One thing is almost universally accepted though – Bristol is the worlds fastest half mile track and not many (if any) will disagree with that statement. This is one short track (only a half mile) that thinks it is a super speedway. It has high banks and high speeds (at least for its length) and the race is usually accompanied by high emotion.

So will all of this translate into great racing with the new Gen 6 car or will it just be another one just like the other ones so far this year? Well, at the risk of sounding a bit like Denny Hamlin… I, too, think we’ve got a long way to go before we see racing like we saw with the old Gen 5 car. In fact, this is one of the few times I have ever been on the same side of an issue as Denny Hamlin.

Ever since Speed Weeks in Daytona, I’ve heard a lot about the new car and how it looks and I do like the fact that they do look they way they do. It has been a while since the Cup cars have looked anything like cars you can buy at a car lot. That is a good thing in this fan’s opinion, but also from this fan’s opinion, the racing just hasn’t been there. Sure the cars are fast and in a pack things do get a bit exciting for a while. Unfortunately, at least from my view, there has been a lot of follow the leader and usually only a few cars are actually able to race with each other. Track position (especially being out front) is the key and even if the cars behind the leader are faster, they can’t seem to pass and to this fan, that has made the racing a bit boring.

Had it not been for cautions that brought the cars back into double file restarts, all of the races this year would have been completely without much drama and, at least from this fan’s view, wouldn’t have warranted watching 500 miles or 500 laps. Sure, there have been moments in the races, but overall, this new car hasn’t lived up to the previous or continuing hype. As evidenced by the reaction of NASCAR to Denny Hamlin’s comments a couple of weeks ago, it appears to this fan even they know it hasn’t quite done so either. (Hey, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here… I’m just saying I expected more out of the new car other than looks and speed. So far, (at least in this fan’s opinion), those two have been obvious but the exciting, drama filled racing just hasn’t been there.)

Just in case some haven’t been paying attention, Kyle Bush broke the ten year old track record held by Ryan Newman and will start on the pole for the Food City 500. He has already won the Nationwide Series race on this weekend and so far, he looks to be the favorite for taking the checkered flag for the Cup series race on Sunday afternoon. (Yes, he has been that fast.) Of course, it never is a given when it comes to NASCAR and since this is just another track with the Gen 6 for the first time, no one really knows for sure how this one will turn out. Of course, this fan thinks Kyle Bush looks plenty tough and should be fast enough. Of course, with the way some things have been going for the Toyota engines so far this season, anything is possible.

Personally, I think there is the slight chance there could be a very big surprise winner by the end of the race and it could be someone totally undexpected. Now, don’t go placing any bets but don’t be surprised when you see it happen. Of course, this fan knows all too well Kyle could win by simply driving away from the rest of the field at the drop of the green flag and never looking back. (Personally, I hope it doesn’t go that way, but there is a very definite possibility it could.)

It looked to this fan as though the Hendrick teams were struggling a bit all weekend. Sure, I know Kasey Kahne has had his moments but no one in the Hendrick Camp looked like they were going to test Kyle all that much. From this fan’s view, the JGR Toyotas all look strong and Kyle’s strongest competition may just come from his own team-mates.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 16, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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