Bristol, Bruton and The Changes Coming Our Way

Before I begin, let me just say how much I enjoy Bruton Smith. He’s a non-stop source of unforgettable quotes and over the top bluster – oh and we can’t forget the Liz Taylor sunglasses. I seldom get more excited than when there’s going to be a Bruton press conference.

“I have built more speedways than anybody in the world, and I have never consulted race drivers when I’m building a speedway because it’ll drive you nuts,” Smith said.

On Wednesday, Smith along with officials at Bristol Motor Speedway announced what changes SMI would be making to the track by the time the Irwin Tools Night Race rolls into town in August.

The changes came in response to lagging attendance and a realization by track management that something had to change. A fan survey and mixed reviews later, the group landed on altering the banking of the track through a grinding process, cutting down on the number of lanes.

The move will likely restore the racing to the way it was prior to reconfiguration in 2007 that added progressive banking. That means one groove and a lot of carnage. This of course drew mixed reactions from drivers.

Jeff Burton said:

“I find it interesting that some racetracks, when they make some changes, they never call drivers…¬†Guess what? We know more about it then some people making those decisions. We might not agree.”

Kasey Kahne on the other hand wrote on his Twitter:

“Sounds great to me. I like what Bruton is doing to Bristol.”

Reference Bruton’s comment up top I suppose.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to August and Bristol, and more memorable moments like this…

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9 Responses to “Bristol, Bruton and The Changes Coming Our Way”

  1. Angie says:

    If Bruton has never consulted drivers before he built a track, how does he know it’ll drive you nuts? It would have made more sense to talk with experienced drivers than DW who knows nothing about how the tracks race now with the COT which btw he has never driven.

  2. TangoAlphaLima says:

    That Earnhardt/Labonte incident is such a classic. If I remember right, there were about as many boos as there were cheers for Earnhardt. It seems like most people these days don’t remember that Earnhardt, in addition to being a great driver, was also a pretty dirty driver.

    I don’t know if removing the progressive banking will have much effect on the racing at Bristol. Too many drivers seem hamstrung by sponsor obligations and refuse to play the villain role necessary to have another incident similar to the Earnhardt/Labonte classic. We need the Busch brothers to be total jerks. We need JPM to be quick to anger. We need Ryan Newman to bulldoze his way through the field. Unfortunately, the dogs seem to have been put on a leash, and nobody’s letting them off.

  3. Neon says:

    Ok, let me get this straight. Bristol is tearing up their progressive banking, while Kansas is adding progressive banking.
    I am suprised that, in typical Bruton Smith fashion, he couldn’t work out a deal to trade the Bristol progressive banking w/ the non progressive banking of Kansas Speedway. Then again, BMS is owned by SMI while KS is owned by ISC, so I guess we’re SOL…LOL.

  4. Tim says:

    The question race fans have to ask themselves is this

    Do you like side by side racing that the current Bristol provides -OR- do you like the crash fest of the old Bristol.

    I’m a race fan and I like to see “the race”. Watching a crash fest is not a race to me. I know as a race fan you have to accept crashes, but it the driver vs. driver that makes me want to watch a race.

    In my humble opinion . . . of course.

  5. grumpiestoldman says:

    I’m with you Tim. Cautions every ten laps make for a long night. I’m not much for a track that rewards thuggish behavior.

  6. Doug in CA says:

    Neon: BFD!

  7. Ray says:

    I’m not sure if it’s the track that needs to change, or if it’s a product of the new points system, or sponsors, or what, but it seems NASCAR 2012 is a different era than NASCAR 1995.

    Is it the cars are too “pretty” to trade paint with? The drivers too “chicken?”

    I think for a short track like Bristol, they should make the cars start the race “aero dirty” so a little paint trading wouldn’t kill their lap times.

    I’m thinking big open grilles, bigger gaps between the fenders and tires, something you’d find on a dirt track Monte Carlo. I had a dirt track Camaro, and it wasn’t pretty, and we have a 4/10 mile speedway and I’d go three wide because YEE HAW! Of course, I occasionally wrecked, but isn’t that the point of a short track car race?

    If I wanted to watch a parade, well, the F1 race is probably on youtube. I don’t need to see pointless crashing – it’s not a demo derby, but it’s supposed to be a bit of “framming and bamming” at Bristol.

  8. tin man says:

    Bruton needs to bring back Humpy Wheeler to cover for him

  9. Robert says:

    I think what we all really want to see is our drivers hang it all out there enough that there is a very real possibility of losing control. If there is overtaking, racing for position and passing for position this should be happening .A caution-free race doesn’t do a lot to convince me that this is happening and therein lies the frustration. The aero is too perfect. The tires are too perfect. There is plenty of room for error, so errors cause no problems for the drivers.

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