The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: 2010 Bristol Night Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday August 23, 2010

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The Key Moment – It’s rare a race is won entering pit road, but Kyle Busch aggressively pushed the limit, passing leader Jamie McMurray as the two entered the pits for the final sequence of stops. The 18 team got Busch out well ahead of the No. 1 car and from there Kyle was off to the house.

In a Nutshell – Kyle Busch completed the weekend sweep, winning all three major touring series races at Bristol.

Dramatic Moment – On the restart following the fourth caution, Kyle Busch forced Jimmie Johnson into a three-wide situation with David Reutimann on the outside. Johnson backed off rather than contest the issue and that led to his eventual downfall.

Given Friday night’s theatrics, Busch trying to lap new nemesis Brad Keselowski got a bit tense.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

Ticket sales at Bristol are sort of like the canary in the coal mine that were once used to signal danger to the miners. A ticket to the Bristol night race was once said to be the hardest ticket in all of sports to get and there was a long waiting list of fans eager to get their hands on one, anywhere in the Coliseum of Speed. If they can’t sell out Bristol, no track can sell out. Given the attendance at Bristol for this once popular race the canary isn’t only dead, it’s been plucked, breaded, deep fried and served up with a side of bland onion rings and a bowl of limp pickles.

Given the above fact, it was kind of tough hearing the network types constantly harp on how large the crowd was. Tonight was one of two times that the Bristol night race didn’t sell out. It would seem that in addition to secretly fining drivers for damaging “the Brand,” NASCAR is also telling its network partners to keep things positive. That’s possibly a result of ESPN admitting on air that the crowd at Indy was less than stellar. That’s fine as long as the media types choose merely to accent the positive, not make things up to cover the truth.

Jimmie Johnson ran strong early and may have been able to make a race of it with Kyle Busch but contact with Juan Pablo Montoya ruined Johnson’s chances at Bristol.

Some fans still bemoan the loss of the “old” Bristol, a single groove race track where rooting and gouging and laying a bumper to the driver ahead was nearly the only way to make a pass. I’m a traditionalist, but admittedly I prefer the “new” Bristol with the graduated banking and two equally fast racing grooves. Passing still isn’t easy, tempers get frayed and bumpers get banged. Frankly, I like seeing fenders rubbing and tires smoking more than watching a constant stream of cautions with wrecked race cars getting towed to the pits. That’s why they call it “racing” and not “wrecking.” Friday night’s race was about as “old school” as they come and perhaps the only reason a similar scenario didn’t play out Saturday was Busch had a dominant car and his two chief rivals (Johnson and Stewart) suffered mishaps earlier in the race.

Friday night’s Nationwide race had the fans on their feet, especially during the closing laps. Some folks were appalled, but I felt that Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski’s little back and forth argument over the lead was classic Bristol. This could be what the sport needs, a rivalry between two of the most hardheaded and disliked drivers — a Battle of the Buttheads. Fans won’t care who comes out on the losing end of the deal as long as one or the other doesn’t finish the race. If Busch and Keselowski take each other out and hand the win to Dale Earnhardt Jr., there will be dancing in the streets from Charlotte, N.C., to Birmingham Ala., and all points between.

I’ve already heard from more than a few fans that they finally had to mute their TVs to avoid throwing a bottle at it if Marty Reid mentioned one more time that Busch was “chasing history” in trying to win the trifecta. The bleating was even more annoying than the constant barrage of references to Chip Ganassi being the first owner to win the Daytona 500, the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same season. (How many teams have tried? Two, basically.) If any driver ever threatens Richard Petty’s streak of 10 consecutive race wins set back in 1967 I’ll make an allowance for an abundance of hype. I’ve seen history made. I saw the first man set foot on the moon. I watched a president of the United States tender his resignation. I saw the Twin Towers fall. Busch’s accomplishment this weekend, while impressive, isn’t history. It’s a statistical fluke.

I usually leave the TV coverage analysis to others but there were a lot of incidents that ESPN missed entirely as they occurred and could only offer distant shots of after the fact. In the final rundown, Bristol was a perfectly serviceable race spoiled by terribly inept coverage for the fans at home.

Despite having watched history being made, it was pretty obvious the majority of the fans at Bristol didn’t feel much affection towards this Kyle Busch lad. Wednesday and Saturday’s crowd expressed their dislike pretty clearly, but the Friday night fans were particularly rabid in expressing their dislike.

Press releases indicate that Jeff Gordon’s daughter, Ella, had a hand in designing the paint scheme her daddy ran at Bristol, though NASCAR artist Sam Bass helped a bit with it too. If he doesn’t win a race again soon you have to wonder if Rick Hendrick isn’t going to offer Ella a chance to drive the 24 car. Some things get better with age; wine, big block muscle cars, blue jeans and Harleys, but Gordon isn’t one of them.

It’s become almost obligatory to gush over how nice it is to have the MRN kid’s program participants sing the National Anthem at Bristol each year. I’ll say this, those young people surely beat whoever that clown was who turned the anthem into a dirge that seemed to last longer than the race last week. And it was nice that the children wore T-shirts offering good wishes to Bristol track general manager Jeff Byrd. Get well wishes also go out to Brian Vickers, who is recovering from recent heart surgery to repair a small hole between two ventricles.

NASCAR has announced that race purses for next year’s Nationwide races will be cut by 20 percent. Wow, that ought to help struggling Nationwide-only teams, especially as they adopt the “Car of Tomorrow” in that series. But hey, it’s not like the France family that runs NASCAR owns race tracks and will benefit from the purse cut. Oh, wait a second, yes they do. A lot of them. What I want to know is if NASCAR’s sanctioning fees to hold Nationwide races at a track are also being cut 20 percent.

Maybe Brad Keselowski was knocked a bit woozy(ier) by his trip into the wall on Friday. He certainly coined a new phrase when he said after the race that because he was on probation he was “playing with a hand slapped behind my back.” I guess it beats driving at Atlanta with a roof under your head.

Most of the Ford teams decided to run the “old” engine at Bristol, not the new FR9. Most of the Ford teams weren’t particularly competitive at Bristol. Am I sensing a correlation here? The old “tried and true” stuff is great, but I’m not bringing a musket to a gun fight.

I’m still trying to explain to the stick and ball fans I know how, exactly, a driver and team in NASCAR will qualify for post-season play without winning a single event … and why the other 31 teams will still be out there. The powers-that-be are still talking about adding an elimination system to spice up the Chase. My vote would be to eliminate the Chase all together.

Ryan Newman sounded borderline psychotic in a pre-race interview. He proclaimed himself the biggest, baddest driver in the garage area and expressed a willingness to punch out anyone who wronged him. That leads to an interesting question of the “Boys, have at it” policy. To date, NASCAR has been pretty lenient with drivers hitting one another with their cars, but we haven’t had a test case involving a physical altercation after a race, especially one caught by the networks live.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Jimmie Johnson’s late summer swoon continues. Johnson dominated the early stages of the race, leading 175 laps, but got tagged by Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 262 and sent to the garage area for extensive repairs. He finished last among the cars listed as running at Bristol.

Denny Hamlin broke a driveshaft (maybe as a result of running over that shock absorber) and also had to hit the garage for repairs.

Mark Martin’s chances at making the Chase took a torpedo beneath the waterline with a non-competitive 23rd-place finish. In fact, it was a tough weekend for the entire Hendrick camp, which was locked out of the top 10 for the second straight race despite all four teams showing some strength early.

Tony Stewart clearly had a car fast enough to contend for a win but got rear-ended by Tony Raines while checking up for a yellow flag. Stewart later prolonged his agony by putting himself into the wall en route to a 27th-place finish.

Carl Edwards had to pit under green after his team left three lug nuts loose during a stop. While Edwards rallied back to a credible 12th-place finish, the miscue probably deprived him of a top 5. Also of note, this was the first time a driver with the initials “CE” driving a Ford finished 12th in the Bristol night race after his team left three lug nuts loose during a pit stop. You saw history being made! History, as it turns out, is a lot like sausage: it’s easier to enjoy if you don’t see the ugly process that makes it.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

I’ve seen incidents far less severe than the one where Kyle Busch bounced his right front fender and wheel into the 26 car lead to cut down tires and wrecked race cars.

David Reutimann overcame a bad bout of food poisoning this weekend to finish second? Were eggs on the menu Thursday?

Clint Bowyer had to overcome a 24th-place starting spot and a pit road speeding penalty to finish fourth. That finish all but cemented a place in the Chase for Bowyer, though that might lead to a lot of dead airtime in ESPN’s Atlanta pre-race program.

Kasey Kahne had to overcome a deflated tire (and let’s remember he either ran over debris or melted a bead — Goodyear couldn’t possibly have had an issue with their right front tires) and subsequent pit stop to finish fifth. It sure beat his “Ride on the Side” in a shower of sparks in Friday night’s Nationwide race.

Matt Kenseth also had to overcome a tire issue (possibly caused by moonlight reflecting off a female fans mirrored earring melting his valve stem, not a potentially defective Goodyear product) on his way to a 10th-place finish.

Given the weather forecast for Bristol Saturday night, it’s amazing the race was run to its full distance with no weather interruptions. I was braced for catching the race Sunday afternoon but wasn’t thrilled by the prospect. A Bristol night race run in daylight? To borrow a phrase, it’s like an ice cream truck on a deserted street, a drummer girl who can’t keep the beat …

Worth Noting

  • Joe Gibbs entries have won seven of the last eight NASCAR short track events.
  • None of the four Hendrick-owned teams have posted a top-5 finish since Jeff Gordon placed third at Chicago.
  • Kyle Busch’s win was his first Cup victory since Dover 12 races ago. It was also his first top-5 Cup Series run since the first Pocono race.
  • David Reutimann’s second-place finish was his first top-10 result since he won at Chicago.
  • Jamie McMurray (third) has top-10 finishes in three of the last five Cup events.
  • Clint Bowyer finished fourth for the fourth time this season. Do I sense history being made?
  • Kasey Kahne’s fifth-place finish was his best since the Firecracker 400.
  • Ryan Newman’s sixth-place finish matched his best result since he won at Phoenix early this season. In a pre-race interview, Newman also expressed a willingness and desire to punch people out. Is there a correlation here?
  • Juan Pablo Montoya (seventh) has strung together three straight top-10 finishes.
  • Greg Biffle (eighth) has top-10 finishes in four of the last five Cup events.
  • Jeff Gordon (11th) has now gone five straight races without a top-5 finish for the first time this season.
  • Carl Edwards’ 12th-place finish was actually his worst since Loudon.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (13th) has averaged about a 22nd-place finish in the last six races. If his name was Dale Snodgrass he’d be driving as a start and parker next year.
  • Despite all the ink he’s gotten for his hi-jinks, Brad Keselowski has yet to score a top-10 result in the Cup Series this year.
  • Tony Stewart’s 27th-place finish was his worst since Texas.
  • The top-10 finishers at Bristol Saturday night drove four Chevys, three Fords, two Toyotas, one Dodge and a partridge in a pear tree. (Well, OK, I made up the part about the partridge in a pear tree … though that would have been historic.)

What’s the Points?

Kevin Harvick remains the points leader but Jeff Gordon closed to within a still-considerable 279 points of the lead.

Kyle Busch’s win vaulted him up five positions to third in the standings. More importantly, as things stand now, when the points are reset he’d trail Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson by 20 points, not 30.

Johnson’s wreck sent him tumbling four spots to ninth in the standings. As noted above though, in reality, with two races left before the Chase he is in fact tied with Hamlin as the points leader.

Carl Edwards moved up two spots to fourth in the standings. Unless he wins one of the next two races, and his chances are pretty good at Atlanta, he will still start the Chase sixth, tied with five other championship “contenders” who have yet to win a race.

Matt Kenseth moved up a spot to eighth in the standings.

Hamlin and Tony Stewart each dropped two spots in the standings. They are now fifth and sixth, respectively.

What NASCAR and ESPN would like you to get all hot and bothered over is the battle for the “coveted” 12th-place position that puts a driver in the Chase with no realistic expectation of contending for a title based on their season to date. Clint Bowyer clung to that 12th-place position after Bristol. Jamie McMurray actually took over the 13th spot outside looking in, but has a monumental 100-point gap to make up in two races. Barring an early race DNF for Bowyer, it’s just not going to happen. Mark Martin dropped a position to 14th, one point behind McMurray.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dropped to 18th in the standings so look for a surprise announcement from NASCAR that the top 20 drivers in points will make the Chase.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) I’ll give Bristol five bottles of Corona. It was a good extended week of racing with fenders bent, tempers left askew, and the pretty white outside walls left in a psychedelic shade of hues.

Next Up – The last off-weekend of the 2010 Cup schedule, as it turns out. That means I am shore bound and down. Racing resumes at Atlanta on Labor Day weekend instead of at Darlington where the race belongs, so I’ll be sitting that one out.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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IndyCar Driver Profile: Takuma Sato
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Bad Wolf
08/23/2010 01:44 AM

I miss the old Bristol, and so do those who were not sitting in all the empty seats Saturday night. The old Bristol night race was the one throwback to the days when you did beat the hell out of each other and put the bumper to the guy who was holding you up. There is no way you could race like that each week in this era, but it was the one race where we could step into the “Way Back Machine” and catch a glimpse of the past.

There was nothing else like watching a faster car being held up and staying a fraction of an inch off the rear of the car in front, waiting lap after lap for a slip and the chance to stick the nose under the quarter panel, and if that didn’t happen a slight bump would do the trick. Watching the masters of the game was like poetry in motion, and fireworks were garon damn teed before the night was over with the action hotly debated afterwards between freinds and beers.

If there were an equivelent to a Bristol night race in Football it would be a playoff game between the Packers and Brett Favres Vikings played outdoors on real grass in a rain/sleet mix with the chance of heavy snow later in the day. Nothing like adding in a wet slippery ball, mud, cold and lack of visibility to spice up the action. I would bet a game like that would push the fan interist through the roof. Just like an old Bristol night race you could not play in those conditions each week, but those are the games that are talked about and clips shown for years.

If it were up to me the tracks of the future would be like Rusty’s track in Iowa, Rockingham of old and the classics like Daytona, Darlington and Talledega. I hate plate races but there is no way you can take away Daytona or Talledega, just like the old Bristol should still be with us.

08/23/2010 06:51 AM

“Some things get better with age…but Jeff Gordon isn’t one of them.”

Right – second place in the standings and just the second driver to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Talk about falling off a cliff.

Michael Pittenger
08/23/2010 08:00 AM

I only read your sumery of the race and don’t bother watching it anymore.

08/23/2010 08:26 AM


Reading Matt’s summary of the race is great if you only want to read contradictions that will make your head spin…

First: “Do away with the Chase!”

Then (Sarcastically): “Gordon has closed to within 279 points of the lead”

Or the negative stuff. There were some empty seats at Bristol, so Nascar is dead. Gee Matt, think the economy may have a tad to do with that?

And finally, while I am no fan of the #18, doing something that has never been done before is, by definition, making history. Had Tim Richmond ever done what Busch accomplished this weekend, you’d still me running a column on it every week.

08/23/2010 08:48 AM

Almost any driver could win 3 races in all 3 series in one weekend if they punted or wrecked cars out of the way in 2 of those races.

Laidback Racing
08/23/2010 09:08 AM

was sitting in the grandstands and told my husband, “this is the last chance I am giving the August race at Bristol a chance to get it together”…the chase has ruined racing at the Bristol night race not the new configuration. Glad to report Bristol is still on for next year. Both races were exciting…Friday night had it all and saturday’s was the best in a long time there.

Carl D.
08/23/2010 09:22 AM

So Kyle Busch has made history by winning all three touring series races in one weekend. Big freakin’ deal. Kyle’s “trifecta” was nothing more than a binge for his oversized ego.

And Kyle Busch got his NNS win Friday night by racing dirty. Contrary to what Kyle said, he slid up short in front of Keselowski and he got hit in the rear. Brad didn’t lift nor should he have. So Kyle used that as an excuse for dumping Brad. Call it typical short track racing if you like, it was still dirty. To his credit, Brad handled the situation with maturity… he didn’t vow to dish out payback or throw a Joey Logano hissy-fit. We all know what’s coming down the road, and so does Kyle. I can’t wait.

Stephen HOOD
08/23/2010 09:34 AM

Kyle made history by outracing three or four trucks, five or six nationwide cars, and the Sprint Cup field. The hype around this “feat” is silly and most race fans know it. Kyle’s Sprint Cup win was impressive and he does seem to have mastered the “new” Bristol. I think its fine if Harvick/Busch/Edwards et al want to run the Truck and Nationwide series, but the story shouldn’t be how impressive it is win they win but what in the hell is going on when they loose.

What I would like to see in Nationwide and Trucks is for the “Big Boys” to be required to drive only in cars that they own outright or in some second or third tier team’s equipment. If Kyle won a race in a one off piece owned by the Nelson family of Arab, Alabama, now that would be historic. Keselowski’s win in Finch’s piece at Talladega comes to mind. Kyle’s early wins in Billy Ballew would qualify. Edwards’ win in Rousch Fords and Busch’s wins in Gibbs Toyotas = duh!

08/23/2010 09:48 AM

The thing about the truck race that struck me was: Why is Nascar sponsoring Kyle? Why not sponsor a team that really needs the support?
There are seveal truck teams more deserving in my opinion. The three peat thing was okay, but I have to agree the Friday night race was a bit awkward. Does not seem fair to punt a guy on probation, knowing he can’t come pay you back. Kind of chicken sh!t in my opinion.
Good Stuff as always Matt.

08/23/2010 09:52 AM

I agree on liking the “New Bristol” where they can race side by side and not just play follow the leader. Also agree with you on the 20% reduction of Busch purse. Nascar great way to do away with start and parkers, while at the same time encouraging new teams to enter the sport and series.(sarcasm)

I am a Rowdy fan and believe the “trifecta” was something to see, also agree that Like Chip and his “historic” wins this season, both are something that very few try and even fewer have the chance to win.

While I agree that in the Busch series Kyle has the best equipment and more money then most, I also believe that most of the records today in nascar are held by drivers that had the best equipment and more money then most when they made history. Look at alot of the records “The King” holds, back then only a few drivers raced all the races and went for the championship. He had the most money and the best equipment and is praised for beating lesser teams. Yes this was all in the “Grand National” series “Cup” today, but they raced 60+ races and alot of those were 100-200 lap short track races, a little like the Busch series.

Let my also say that while I am a Rowdy fan, I DID NOT LIKE him dumping Brad friday night. I thought that was GREAT short track racing until he dumped Brad. Brad raced him HARD and did not give an inch (Brads style) and got into Kyle after/during slide job(Good Hard Racing). Kyle could have rubbed him to show displeasure, DID NOT HAVE TO DUMP. Both drivers raced very clean and Kyle made sure to stay off of Brad till contact had been made.

08/23/2010 09:56 AM

Matt can always be counted on for the true hard hitting news , not the blather that most bloggers produce . I mean …. i’ll bet there are some race bloggers who would happily waste column space reporting on a completely made up bit of fluff from a drivers press agent concerning a little girls’ artistic ability . Way to keep it real Matt .
And as for your Dramatic Moment , that one wasn’t even in the top 100 . Wait a minute … you did actually watch the race didn’t you Matt . Or did you rely on someones Cliff Notes ?

08/23/2010 10:17 AM

Kyle did a great job in winning all three races . Even more impressive is the fact that he came very close to doing it 5 or 6 times before times befoe .
And i got news for the “ he only did it by knocking other drivers out of the way “ crowd . Theres a whole lot more to winning a race than one incident on one lap . The races at Bristol go on for many , many , many laps and a driver has to be leading at the end to win . And as for Kyle having the most money or best car , he has neither . Gibbs has plenty of funding , but he’s nowhere near some of the other car owners . And right now the Toyota engine is down on power compared to the Chevrolet , and even the new Ford .
Lastly , it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference whether you like Busch or not . Three wins in a weekend is still three wins in a weekend .
Speaking of three wins in a weekend , since NASCAR ran two , three , or more times per week in the late 40s and into the 50s , i wonder if any driver ever won 3 NASCAR races in a weekend ( not necessarily different classes ) in the old days . The opportunity was certainly there .

08/23/2010 10:19 AM

If Kyle were still at HMS he would not have won the trifecta.
Something broke on the 25/88 R&D car…again. HMS is behind going into the chase and they need a lot of R&D work for JJ to win his 5th, the R&D work is Jr’s contribution, besides bringing in more money than anyone else so that they have something to R&D.

08/23/2010 10:22 AM

Jeff Gordon raced the flame Dupont car at Bristol. Ella Sophia helped design “Pappa’s Car” for the Atlanta race. Get your facts straight before you print them.

scott b
08/23/2010 10:48 AM

Glad to hear someone call out the TV coverage this week. With so many cameras at such a short track, I can’t understand how so much contact and so many passes were missed. Yes, there can be a lot going on at once at Bristol, but at least you should have a good replay of the action if you missed it live.

08/23/2010 11:05 AM

It would have been nice if ESPN had actually showed the race on TV. although I miss the “old” bristol and hate the chase, in between commercials, the viewers at home got a glimpse of what might have been decent racing. I’m still glad I was able to go there once before the chase, before the reconfig to the track and before the COT. I wouldn’t bother to go back now.

BTW – I don’t think Gordon is washed up either. Would I enjoy it more if he were winning a lot again — you bet! But he’s not out there running 20th every week and is 2nd in points, so I think saying he’s washed up is a bit much.

Kyle has a lot of talent, its a shame that he acts like such a jerk. And the “trifecta” is just nonsense and more hype on the part of all the TV broadcasters.

08/23/2010 11:14 AM

Martin, Why would Matt want to actually watch the race?! I mean if he watched it he might accidentally slip in some pertinent facts. We wouldn’t want that would we? Its much easier to be negative and boring when you don’t have to talk about the race.

old farmer
08/23/2010 11:16 AM

Matt’s comments: prejudiced to the max.

Most of the responses: ditto.

I’m done reading this drivel.

- 30 –

08/23/2010 11:39 AM

The one thing that got me is that ESPN acted like the ‘owner’ Gibbs also got the sweep, in fact that is exactly what the lady said, but not the case. ‘What does it feel like to get the sweep as an owner Gibbs?’ Uh, I didn’t own all three entries, …..should have been his answer.

Bubba d hyde
08/23/2010 11:43 AM

Marybeth is still in denial.

Nothing broke in the 88 car.

The only thing that is broken in the 88 car is the driver.

08/23/2010 12:03 PM

Mark said: And i got news for the “he only did it by knocking other drivers out of the way“ crowd. Theres a whole lot more to winning a race than one incident on one lap. The races at Bristol go on for many, many, many laps and a driver has to be leading at the end to win.

Right you are..and in order to lead he had to punt 2 different drivers to win 2 of the races.

Matt said: as for Kyle having the most money or best car, he has neither.

Are you serious? Gibbs Toyotas have been dominant in the NW series for the past few years and they have just as much money as Hendrick/Roush/Childress.

Matt said: Right now the Toyota engine is down on power compared to the Chevrolet, and even the new Ford.

Is that why Kyle has won 10 NW races. Yeah, that power is way down.

Come on man, stop drinking the Kool Aid. This 3 peat has only been tried a few times in the sports history because the truck series has only been around since ’95 and Cup regulars don’t feel the need to stroke their egos by going into the other series. Do you not think Gordon/Stewart would have done this already if he really wanted to.

To me the 3 wins this week are that. Wins. It’s a nice accomplishment for Kyle himself, but it is far from greatness.

08/23/2010 12:12 PM

Kyle winning the truck race and the N-Wide is akin to shooting fish in a barrel…sorry. Now, if a Truck or N-Wide regular won all three that would be special.

I like Jeff, but really he is in last place when the farce begins, isn’t he?

Bill B
08/23/2010 12:17 PM

If the litmus test for being washed up is no wins then Jeff Gordon has lots of company… Stewart, Edwards, Kenseth, Burton, and the list goes on since only 10 of the top 35 drivers have won this year.
I will also add that if that is the case then you are throwing consistency over 36 races out the window which, in a way, is supporting the concept or the Chase itself.

Bette Geraud
08/23/2010 12:33 PM

We are some of the people who did not get to see the race Sat.nite. We are still mad!!Our ABC decided to show a pre season football game!! If NASCAR is paying for ABC to show the race how can they not show it? We called our cable co. and they said they have no control over what shows ABC decides to show! Do you have any suggestions of what we can do? SO anyway we really enjoyed your column today.Oh, I misses you guys comments during the race. I could only get Nascar .com.Which is betterThen nothing. So I really enjoyed your column this A.M. Thanks so much.We love our NASCAR and really missed not getting to see SPRINT at BRISTOL

Kevin in SoCal
08/23/2010 01:04 PM

Matt said: “I’m a traditionalist, but admittedly I prefer the “new” Bristol with the graduated banking and two equally fast racing grooves.”

Holy cow! Stop the presses. Matt said he actually likes something new and changed! Has anyone checked the temperature of Hell lately?

Matt said: “My vote would be to eliminate the Chase all together.”

And then he’s right back to his usual Eeyore, with a comment about the Chase out of left field.

Matt said: “If his name was Dale Snodgrass he’d be driving as a start and parker next year.”

But thankfully, he redeems himself with this comment of the year. Thank you Matt!

08/23/2010 01:25 PM

The Earnhardt fans hae got to be the biggest hypocrites in the sport! Dale Sr. routinely dumped drivers if they were in his way. Result? Seven championships and the Hall of Fame and canonization by the fans. Dale Jr. can’t race his way out of a paper bag, but he “remains popular.” Give it up people. As another columnist quite succinctly put it, “Kyle Busch may be an arse, but he sure kicked yours.”

scott b
08/23/2010 03:56 PM

Bette, It’s actually the other way around, ABC pays NASCAR for the rights to air the race (and hopes to make that money back by selling commercials). If you didn’t see tne race in your region, call the ABC affiliate in your nearest local market and let them know how you feel. Someone there decided that preseason football was more important than the Bristol race. The cable company takes that local ABC station’s signal and passes it along to your home, so unless you have a dish or some other way to access the network feed directly you are out of luck.

08/23/2010 05:10 PM

Bill B – Were you referring to Matt’s comments or mine on Jeff G? I was being facetious – I agree 100% on the consistency rather than a 10 race chumpionship.

08/23/2010 05:52 PM

Say what you will about Johnson’s “swoon” When the chase starts he’ll be starting up front. This has become all too familiar. Most of the drivers trying to make the chase will not go all out to win. They take no chances. That’s one reason the chase is a joke. The first 26 races are all about jockying for position, no winning.

Richard in N.C.
08/23/2010 05:57 PM

Geez Louise I sure am glad I don’t hate what I do as much as the author.

08/23/2010 06:11 PM

Bubba, Kyle Busch said that something broke on Jr.‘s car. He was coming up behind him.

08/23/2010 06:20 PM

matt, why are you boycotting the AMS labor day race? sure it’s not darlington, but at least it’s back in the south.

08/23/2010 08:58 PM

Bette – I too had a “fit” when I couldn’t find the race. We should have had it on Ch. 27 from Madison WI. I called Charter and they were no help. My husband remembered we had the same problem last year so checked the “900” channels and found it on 967. You might want to write that down as it will probably happen again next year!

08/23/2010 09:56 PM

MaryBeth, maybe if Jr. got off his arse during the week and tested more, instead of drinking adult beverages on mondays like he said after the “fixed Daytona NW race, he wouldn’t have to R&D during an actual race. But then again, Kyle’s been kicking Jr.‘s arse ever since he was moved out of HMS for a T-shirt selling driver with God-given average at best talent. FYI… MaryBeth, 7 more races until the “88 Races WithOut A Win” T-shirts go on sale! Have you pre-ordered yours yet MaryBeth?

08/23/2010 10:28 PM

By no means am I a Kyle Busch fan but I watched him sign autographs at anderson speedway for a couple hours sitting in the 95 degree sun gained alot of respect for him then,plus he visits alot of short tracks thru out the year which help their attendance . As far as him knocking someone out of the way to win was always why bristol soldout It was also reported that the pocono crowd that nascar said was 100000 was more like 48000 . Must be the same people giving numbers there that are at cali

08/23/2010 11:56 PM

Any chance that the 20% reduction in NW purses may allow the Series to return to it’s roots? (Hickory, South Boston, Myrtle Beach, Nazareth <ok maybe not Nazareth.)

Also, the kids are sponsored by MRO (Motor Racing Outreach), not MRN.

Bill B
08/24/2010 08:45 AM

That was directed at Matt.

08/24/2010 09:31 AM

@Richard in N.C. – I couldnt have put it better myself. It must be miserable to spend your life covering a sport that you obviously dont like.

08/25/2010 04:45 PM

@ All you K.B. haters think winning in all three series on the same weekend is no big deal. But, still HE IS THE ONLY ONE TO EVER DO IT!!! Nice job Kyle, way to go!

08/27/2010 09:35 AM

Overated, And I ask myself for all of your vehemence comes from? Is paid, skin in the game, how much…?