Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Bristol Time!

NASCAR teams and drivers, and especially the hauler drivers were glad to get a weekend off, especially after the California and Las Vegas runs, but you, me and probably ever other fan out there are chomping at the bit to get back to it.  It's Bristol, baby, and we're going short track racing!

Bristol has been the site of some of the best racing I've ever seen, period.  Last year, the new car, or as they used to say, the Car Of Tomorrow, lessened that excitement just a little, but Bristol is Bristol, and you can't keep a great track down for long.  Bristol is one of the last true bull rings that exists in NASCAR's highest series, and I'm guessing that Sunday's race is going to be a barn burner.

Even this early in the season, we've got drivers with a few scores to settle, and what better place than Bristol, Tennessee?  The winning car may not have fenders on it, because the beating and banging is so intense there, it's part race and part demolition derby.  If you happen to be a driver with a grudge, this is the place to settle it, because there will be so much rubbing and banging that even NASCAR will be hard pressed to tell if contact was on purpose or incidental.

Should the victim of a love tap be your particular driver, you, of course, will cry 'foul!' and report it immediately to your favorite driver's message board or scream it at the TV in either your home, your local watering hole, or where ever you happen to witness the incident.  If I were you, I'd scream it out at the track itself, because it's now easier to get Bristol tickets than it has been in decades.

For me, as a fan, the main joy of watching a Bristol race is the close contact that exists there.  I enjoy watching racing at all the tracks, but Bristol is special to me.  If you've never been to your local race track, Bristol is probably the closest thing on national TV that you have ever seen that's close to the excitement that you get on a small track.  If you want to see the competition that you'll see at Bristol every week, go to your local short track and get some Cokes, or Pepsi's, maybe a hot dog, and sit back and just watch.  If you're a racing fan, believe me, it won't take you long to learn the names of the drivers and figure out your favorites.  Bristol is the national version of your local short track.  Most of the drivers at Bristol on Sunday have run at local tracks just like yours.

Some of them still do.

I admire drivers that drive anything, anywhere, no matter how large the crowd is.  If you happen to live in Georgia, you might see a big name driver running on a local dirt track near you.  If you live in California, you might see someone by the name of Mears running a local feature.  If you're lucky enough to live within driving distance of Eldora, you know what I mean.   At one of my local tracks, Greenville-Pickens Speedway, we've been blessed over the years by names like Petty, Pearson, Yarborough, Earnhardt, Keller, Pressley, and a host of others.

It doesn't matter where you live.  Chances are you've got some great drivers around, and you should go see them.  Support what they're doing, if you can afford to.

Maybe one day you'll see them at places like Daytona, Talladega, Indianapolis, and yes, even Bristol.

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