Things remain quiet on the NASCAR Nextel Cup scene this morning. Both the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series teams are testing at the repaved Bristol Motor Speedway. This made it pretty much impossible to schedule drivers for ON PIT ROW live today.
When the Bristol re-do was announced, most drivers were apprehensive. I'd say that expectations were mostly negative. The track was repaved and variable banking added to ease the transitions from the corners to the straights. It sounds as though the Bristol folks may have created an even more exciting venue. Check this out from NASCAR's media site.
“Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday were the first ones out there and all three of them went to the top to see if they could run up there,” Gaughan said. “It was definitely interesting to see guys [drive] two grooves off the bottom.”
The second, and perhaps third, grooves will develop as more laps are run on the track. The rubber from the tires will expand the grooves, resulting in more side by side racing.
“It definitely gives you a better opportunity than ever to pass,” said Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota. “We're all so used to running the bottom groove it's awful hard to make yourself go up there. But that outside groove is going to be good once they get rubber on the track.
“It's definitely smoother and they've done a tremendous job. The transitions are better both going into the corners and coming out of the corners. It's just going to take a little time to get some rubber on it to get it seasoned. The place is going to be pretty awesome once that happens.”
The resurfacing job has even converted drivers who were against the project, like points leader Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota).
“When we were told they were going to redo this place, we were very, very concerned but it's an A-plus,” Skinner said. “It really isn't any different. It's Bristol.”
A third groove at Bristol? Can't wait to see that. The Busch cars try it out today. We'll have highlights.