The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: Bangin’ in Bristol by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday March 30, 2005

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Voices From the Heartland: Bangin’ in Bristol

Jeff Meyer · Wednesday March 30, 2005

 

If, by the title, you got you hopes up, forget it! This isn’t that kind of website!

We’re talking racin. Bristol style!

Of course that means lots of bent fenders, broken cars and hurt feelings.

Here is an interesting experiment. Take the biggest mixing bowl you have in the house, add 43 of your kid’s Matchbox cars, (you must have a #7, #20, #29, #50 in the mix) hold at arms length and start making circular motions with the bowl. That’s Bristol.

If you could actually film this experiment and then play back the film in slow motion, you would be astonished to learn, that by some as of yet unexplained quirk of physics, the #7, #20, #29 and #50 cars actually hit every other car in the bowl more often than any others! Top NASCAR officials, who begged to remain nameless, are still scratching their heads in wonderment, and offered no comment. Why those officials begged to remain nameless when they never said anything is beyond me.

Bristol can be a brutal place, and with this years new qualifying rules, perhaps double so. With a total of 51 entries for the Food City 500, 16 of those will be vying for as few as 7 spots. With the top 35 spots wrongfully (in my opinion) spoken for, and Bobby Labonte eligible for the ‘past champion’ spot, the remaining 7 may come down to ‘whoever doesn’t crash tryin’ to get em’. My advice, make sure you watch qualifying and if actually there, take plenty of film as the ‘not the best’ of NASCAR push the limits on a very tricky track!

One team that has opted out of even trying to qualify is the ppc entry, co-owned by Greg Pollex and driven by John Andretti.

“We did not anticipate the major shift in the qualifying rules, which force a non-locked-in team to qualify for a race or to go home—as happened to us in Atlanta,” said Pollex.

“The combination of the new qualifying rules and the fact that most events are impound races is a combination that does not work when you are forced to use a qualifying setup just to make the field (because) a qualifying setup will not race competitively.”

You see, this is what’s wrong with this new system. EVERYONE should have to qualify or go home. I don’t care if you are Dale Jr, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon or Morgan Shepard. You should have to earn your way in. NASCAR is soooo worried about parity, but yet this new system totally screws the littler guys.

On the other side of the coin, I think ppc is wrong to sit this one out. Unless of course Pollex isn’t telling us the whole story. I mean, this is Bristol! With qualifying speeds averaging in the mid 120s and actual race speeds averaging in the mid 70s, saying the ‘qualifying setup won’t race’ is not a valid excuse at this track.
Add to that the fact that Andretti isn’t that bad of a guy to be running Bristol. With 17 starts there and 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s, he is better than some that will be attempting to qualify.

Oh well, whatever the reason, it really makes no difference to me personally. I’d rather see Jimmy Spencer qualify for Bristol over Andretti anyway. Spencer at Bristol is truly ‘racin the way it oughta be’!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff

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Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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