Saturday night racing at Bristol! Does it get any better? My short answer is not really.
A lot of people have criticized the racing at Bristol Motor Speedway lately. Personally, I thought the Sharpie 500 was a good race. I was not surprised that Kyle Busch won the race, because he is, after all, a very good race car driver. Like him or hate him, Kyle Busch can wheel a race car.
Besides Kyle, one of the drivers I was most impressed with was the always smiling Aussie, Marcos Ambrose. The 47 team uses Michael Waltrip engines and chassis, and I've been very impressed with this team this year. Ambrose never ceases to impress, it would seem. The Tasmanian born driver came to the USA just a few short years ago, and is only a gnat's eyelash away from winning his first Cup race, I think.
Some drivers with high hopes for Bristol had much worse than expected finishes. Tony Stewart, who still owns the points lead, took a hit on Saturday night. Tony experienced radio problems from the very beginning of the race, and only got them sorted out relatively late in the race. The car had problems as well. At one point, Tony needed a push from a NASCAR truck to get started.
Kevin Harvick was running well at times, though he had some bad pit stops. Kevin's day was ended late in the race after a collision with his teammate, Clint Bowyer. Clint's day was ended a few laps later after another collision with Michael Waltrip. Clint and Michael both were having pretty good runs until a couple of Big One's ensued at Bristol, as they almost always do.
I think my biggest surprise of the night was how magnanimous Kyle Busch was in his victory lane interview. Kyle almost apologized for winning the race ahead of Mark Martin, who had a very strong car and was the lap leader for the race. Kyle was in the lead when it mattered, at lap 500. Kyle was also very good on late race restarts. Kyle Busch won the Sharpie 500 hands down, even though he probably didn't have the best car. Kudos to the 50 year old guy for making the race exciting though. Oh, yeah, I'm talking about Mark Martin there, not Kyle Busch. I have a feeling that Kyle will probably be getting people excited when he's 50 years old too. They may boo, or they may cheer, but they will be making noise, never the less.
There are many more stories to be told about this Bristol night race, but I'm only telling you the ones that got my attention.
My congratulations go out to Dale Earnhardt Jr., for securing his second consecutive top 10 finish of 2009. Is it possible that the 88 team is finally turning a corner and becoming more competitive? For the good of the sport, I hope so.