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Old Bristol or New, Fans in the Drivers Meeting and NCAA vs. NASCAR
by Dustin Long
Thousands of empty seats on Sunday have created questions about Bristol and the racing there. Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council discussed the matter and voted for which version of Bristol they liked the most — new Bristol or old Bristol. You might be surprised by the results on that and other issues in the sport, including if fans should be allowed to attend the drivers meeting as happened at Las Vegas.
Here’s what your fellow fans said on a variety of issues this week:
WHICH IS BETTER? NEW BRISTOL OR OLD BRISTOL?
38.7 percent said they were fine with either way
31.0 percent said they preferred the New Bristol
28.6 percent said they preferred the Old Bristol
1.7 percent said neither
What Fan Council members said:
• It really bothers me that people say if you liked the old Bristol you just like the wrecks. The old Bristol provided hard door-to-door racing much like the local short tracks. The new Bristol provides the same racing we will see this weekend in California — spread out 2-3 wide racing. There's nothing wrong with that but the schedule is full of these kinds of tracks. Besides, no one EVER complained about the old Bristol before 2007.
• While the one lane produces more wrecks it also slowed the race to a crawl at times. The new design lets drivers race, which is what fans pay to see
• I love short tracks. Period. I will take it any way I can get it.
• I'll repeat above — I love short track racing! Racing at Bristol, without wrecks, is the way it should be. Lots of exciting racing! A true race fan does not need to see wrecks, which take drivers out of competition and are expensive to owners.
• Sorry but the beating and banging was what separated Bristol from other races. Old school.
• Tired of feeling guilty because the new Bristol bores me. Bristol was different ... it was intense, it was suspenseful, it was fun, it was EXCITING. It is not that any longer, which is why you see a half-empty race there, something that would've been unheard of just a few years ago. It's not the economy. What made Bristol special and unique has been lost.
• I do miss beating and banging (not a fan of crashing)...
• How quickly we forget. I miss the beating and banging part, but the "old Bristol" was a one-lane conveyor belt, except when someone got impatient and bumped their way forward, usually causing a wreck.
• The kind of racing we get now would be considered great if it happened at Michigan or California. The only problem with it is that it doesn't give us the high drama at the end that the old Bristol did. And that drama Bristol provided was one of the most highly-anticipated races of the season. The taking away of the highlight of the season to some is what is really driving the revolt against the new Bristol.
• I know there are a lot of people that don't like the new Bristol but coming from a long-time fan that LOVED the old style of Bristol, you gotta love the new racing once you get over the fact you are not going to see 10-15 cautions, but you are going to see lap after lap of side-by-side racing!
• 2- and 3-wide, as noted above, makes for a far more exciting race and allows for more tactics then simply move the guy in front out of the way...
• Bristol is BRISTOL!!! The way racing oughta be!!! The drivers love the New Bristol, why shouldn't we??? I would watch them race in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot!!!
RATING SUNDAY’S CUP RACE AT BRISTOL
58.6 percent called it Good
21.1 percent called it Fair
16.1 percent called it Great
4.2 percent called it Poor
What Fan Council members said:
• It was decent. Does the racing surface need to change? No. Does Goodyear need a better tire? Yes, remember in "Days of Thunder" when Cole ran 50 laps his way and 50 laps Harry's way? Harry's way was quicker. Let's get back to that where you can wear your tires out.
• It went too fast with all the green flag laps. Put the track back so we get more cautions.
• Loved it. Really wish hotel prices where not so high. I would love to add it to my list of tracks I visit. The racing is sooooo much better then in years past and a lot less wrecking.
• As a longtime area resident, it saddens me to see Bristol half full. Many people I know personally have given up their season tickets since the change in configuration. There was a reason Bristol was special. There was a reason people had it at the top of their favorite track list. There was a reason you couldn't get a ticket for years. Say all you will about side-by-side racing ... the reality is now the leader gets in front, runs away, and there's long boring green flag stretches. The intensity that made Bristol great is gone.
• It was a good race. There was a lot of passing, pit strategy, and other things that happened that kept me wondering what was going to happen.
• We used to have Bristol parties and cookouts, but our attendance suffered as well. That GREAT facility DESERVES a better product.
• I thought it was a really good race with lots of side-by-side racing and passing. I also really like it when the dominant cars are allowed to be dominant and put most of the field laps down. If a team hits on a good setup and the driver can drive, let them do what they can do.
• I want my Bristol back, and so does the vast majority of fans (evidenced by the half full track). I'm tired of everyone blaming the economy. It’s the track and lack of excitement. Gave my seats of 12 years up two years ago for no other reason other than the boring racing, and so did the group of nine I went with every year. Why change something that was perfect? No idiot would decide to take the banking out of Talladega, so why did some idiot decide to change Bristol? And to those who say they love that style of racing, I'm sure Michigan or Fontana or Atlanta would love to have you, but for me, I want MY OLD Bristol back.
• Great racing though sad the stands were so empty. Scary to think the outsiders who say we only like wrecks might be right, based on that
• Actually thought it was pretty boring. They need to tear up the track and repave it!
SHOULD FANS BE ALLOWED IN THE DRIVERS MEETING?
At Las Vegas earlier this month, the track set it up so that drivers meeting was outdoors and fans could attend. Some drivers were asked about what they thought of that the following week at Bristol and a few said they weren’t in favor of it. So, Fan Council members were asked if fans should be allowed to attend the drivers meeting:
53.3 percent said fans should NOT attend the drivers meeting
35.9 percent said SPEED and Sprint should broadcast the meeting to fans
7.3 percent said this should be an issue for each track. If they have room, allow fans
3.5 percent said fans SHOULD attend the drivers meeting
What Fan Council members said:
• I think the access the fans get is substantial. ... In recent years, fans have gotten near unlimited access. So, now they think they need it all. Some things aren't really needed to be given access to non-competing members.
• I think the drivers meeting should be for them and officials only!!!! This part of the race prep should be all business, not sure if guests should be included.
• This would add so much value to the pit pass. And did anyone notice how NOT full Bristol was? You gotta go the extra mile to pack those bleachers in the bad economy.
• I think the drivers meeting should be for drivers and crew members only. That also means no journalists/reporters in there, even though I know that's how we get most of our news.
• If NASCAR is going to attract younger fans, they need to be more transparent. The younger generation is used to knowing everything about everything. There are no more secrets when it comes to celebs and sports.
• By broadcasting the meeting, the drivers would have the intimate setting that they prefer and the fans would be able to see what is going on. It's a win-win for everyone.
• At Bristol, they broadcast it on the Jumbotron which to me was a nice touch while allowing the competitors the privacy they needed to get the information.
• This meeting is for drivers to clarify rules and ask for explanations. It was STUPID that it was out in the open for fans. I was even there, and it was a ridiculous zoo. Don't get me wrong — I am all for fan access, and nobody does it better than LVMS. BUT, the drivers need this meeting to help avoid costly mistakes and the fans certainly didn't contribute to that atmosphere.
• If the track can accommodate it, I think it's a good idea to have it open to the public. One of the major differences between NASCAR and other major sports in the access granted the fans. As long as it's not distracting to the drivers and teams, I think it's a good idea.
With the start of the NCAA basketball tournament at the same time as Bristol, Fan Council members were asked how the NCAA Tournament impacted their NASCAR TV viewing.
90.2 percent said it didn’t impact them — they watched all the NASCAR events they planned
5.2 percent said they watched a lot more of the NCAA Tournament than NASCAR
4.5 percent said they watched a little more of the NCAA Tournament than NASCAR
What Fan Council members said:
• Bristol race > NCAA Tournament. Now, California, I might have to skip to watch the game.
• NASCAR is my sport of choice. I have very little interest in basketball.
• NASCAR is on the top of my list when it comes to television programming. Until the NHL playoffs start, there isn't anything I'd watch over a NASCAR race.
• Sorry NASCAR ... This is the ONLY time of the year that I have to try to balance another sport vs races. Usually I tape Nascar and watch it between basketball games. Thankfully it's only for 2 or 3 weekends.
• I was hooked on the NCAA tournament the first couple of days, but when the Sprint Cup race came on it was all NASCAR for me.
• I have NO interest in stick and ball sports.
• I'm a college hoops junkie ... love it!! But have 3 TV's set up in the living room so I didn't miss anything from either side.
• As a race fan, it doesn't matter what else is on. I watch the racing first and only change the channel if the action, or lack of it, warrants a channel change
Fans can join the Backseat Drivers Fan Council by sending Dustin an email at email@example.com.
Please include the following information: Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.