High Adrenaline on the High Banks of Bristol from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman

Everybody likes Saturday night short track racing (well… almost everybody) and Bristol is one of the best places to be, (at least that’s the way people used to think of it…) Lately however, Bristol has been the discussion of many fans (both old and new) and some have even said the changes they made ruined the racing there.

I am not one of those previously mentioned toward the negative but I do have to admit things have been different there lately. (Personally, I ‘m not sure whether it is the changes they made to the track or if it is a result of the cars as they have evolved over the last couple of years.)

One of the cliché statements made about the place in the past is, “The short track that thinks it’s a super speedway.” I’m not so sure it is accurate but with the banking and the speeds they run, I guess it is somewhat true. Bristol is fast and a place where it’s hard to pass and the driver’s seem to keep their tempers and emotions in check for a while. Then suddenly, it seems like they reach a point where any little thing sets them off. Of course you and I both know it is usually because quite a few things have been adding up over the passage of laps and it wasn’t just one thing that changes their outlook. Short track racing, especially on the high banks at Bristol is “high adrenaline” and, after a while, all that adrenaline in the drivers’ systems rears it’s ugly head (usually resulting in some kind of “payback.”)

Anyone that’s actually been in the driver’s seat of a race car (of any kind) is familiar with the affect of all that adrenaline on their system. Usually it surfaces after a while in some form or other like bumping and banging (seemingly for no apparent reason) or having a heated debate at the end of a race. That’s why I don’t generally think too much about what a driver says (or does) after some incident or why they tend to yell at their crews and crew chiefs during the height of competition.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there isn’t a price to be paid for some of those actions, but I am saying I understand how it can happen. There is something about the adrenaline in your system that causes you to see and say things differently than you would if some (or all) of it has subsided. I’m not really proud of some of the things I said or did when I raced at my local tracks under the influence of that adrenaline but eventually you do gain at least a little control over it. Sometimes… well… let’s just say someone just takes the opportunity to straighten you out either physically or verbally. (Trust me… it is often a two way street… )

With the rain out of qualifying, the starting lineup will look a little different than it usually does. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying but, Casey Mears starting on the pole just wasn’t what this fan expected to see. Although Brad Keselowski starting outside pole isn’t much of a stretch of anyone’s imagination, I ‘d be willing to bet not many people expected Jimmie Johnson to be starting 37th. Looking at the starting lineup, it could make for a very interesting night and I expect a lot of movement through the field by more than a few.

One thing I know for sure is that there will be some pushing and shoving along with a bit of beating and banging and probably some high emotion as fatigue and the adrenaline thing take their course. There won’t be much room for mistakes either on the track or in the pits and whether or not some make it into the Chase will depend on where they finish tonight and over the next two weeks.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, there is no more time for failure and no more time for mistakes whether by the driver or the crews. From this fan’s view, it will be flat out, no holds barred racing tonight and for the next two weeks. To this fan, that says tonight will probably be one of the best Bristol night races NASCAR fans have been treated to recently. Too many have too much to lose and I am sure this is going to be an unusually tough night for those that hope to make it into the top 12.

The race tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway will be different than it was the last time the Cup teams visited there. Because of some complaints about how the racing went last time, changes have been made to the top part of the track and it remains to be seen whether it will make a difference or not. As I said earlier (and of course from this fan’s view) it may have been the changes made to the track or it could just be a result of the evolution of the cars. Either way, Bristol is still a short track and it is happening under the lights on a Saturday night… What could be better???

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© August 25, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions