The "New" Bristol, the 2013 Cup Schedule and Danica Back to Cup
One theme is consistent among competitors as NASCAR returns to Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time since track changes intended to create tighter racing.
âI just hope that they didnât screw it up,â points leader Greg Biffle says.
âI just hope they didnât screw up the race track,â Ryan Newman says.
âNobody really knows what is going to happen,â Jimmie Johnson says.
After lackluster attendance in the spring and complaints by fans about the lack of action, track officials narrowed the groove to force cars to run closer together and create that door-banging excitement some fans said was lacking.
âI think it is going to be exciting either way,â Biffle says. âI heard they ground the corner more down the straightaway so that when you come up off the corner you will go across that patch coming on to the straightaway, which may be difficult to go from the bottom groove. They carried it around maybe further than it needed to be, but we will have to wait and see when we get there how the race track drives now. I hope it is good.â
Newman is worried what type of racing drivers will see.
âI hope they didnât take the racing away,â he says. âThe beating, banging and crashing is not the racing that I like. Thatâs what some of the fans enjoy, but thatâs not the racing I like. I like being able to run side-by-side. The problem we had the tire just didnât allow us to be able to fall off so the first five laps of the run were like the last five, 120 (laps) later. Your car didnât fall off, your balance didnât change, and everybody was virtually the same speed.
âTo me, the tires are the biggest issue when it comes to a place like that.â
Goodyear did a tire test this summer. Cup teams will use a different left-side tire than in the spring race. The right-side tires will remain the same version run in the spring.
âIâm more interested in the changes done to the tire compound than anything else,â says Brad Keselowski, who has won the past two Bristol Cup races. âI think thatâll be the bigger key to the puzzle and weâll just have to see how that unfolds. Obviously, Iâm going to run all three series Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and if thereâs a difference in the track I should be the first to know.â
The Camping World Truck Series races Wednesday night at Bristol with the Nationwide race Friday night and the Cup race Saturday night.