The Frontstretch: Bowles Thinks Out Loud For Matt: Bristol Night Race Edition by Thomas Bowles -- Monday August 29, 2011

Go to site navigation Go to article

Bowles Thinks Out Loud For Matt: Bristol Night Race Edition

Thomas Bowles · Monday August 29, 2011


Editor’s Note: Matt McLaughlin continues to be out with health-related issues, so our Managing Editor Tom Bowles filled in for him this week. Want to send Matt a get well note? Click here, fill out the contact form and Matt will be sure to see it as he heals up!

The Key Moment: Brad Keselowski beat Jeff Gordon off pit road during the race’s final caution, blew by two-tire Martin Truex, Jr. on the final restart and made the rest of the Bristol field look like they were the ones driving drunkenly impaired on Miller Lite. Gordon tried to catch him, but alas, Bristol is the new half-mile Fontana: fresher tires made little difference while aero and track position took center stage – even at 15 seconds a lap.

In A Nutshell: Track position, track position and more track position, with a little bit of pit strategy mixed in. Where is the old Bristol, Bruton, and what the hell can you do to bring it back before people stop coming?

Brad Keselowski beat Jeff Gordon off pit road and got a good jump on the final restart to drive off for the win at Bristol; behind him, Gordon and Martin Truex, Jr. waged a fierce battle for second over the closing laps.

Dramatic Moment: Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex, Jr. had a pretty spirited battle for second down the stretch while Keselowski checked out. Mark Martin and Brian Vickers had it goin’ on, side-by-side for seemingly 100 laps during the race until Martin bobbled. And there was plenty of decent racing back in the pack, especially amongst a group of about a dozen cars from 12th – 24th that never quite seemed to break away from each other. It just happened on an oval that feels like “new Coke” with two grooves…

What They’ll Be Talking About The Water Cooler This Week:

I didn’t think it would be possible, ever, but they ran the first 298 laps at Bristol Saturday night and nobody spun. Halt, stop… we need to digest that for a minute. To put that in historical perspective, since 1984 – the earliest year I could independently verify – that’s the longest any Bristol race has started without someone pulling at least a 360 on the racetrack. People will read that and think I’m calling for carnage; I’m just looking for contact, rough and tumble of any kind which that Bristol race was utterly devoid of Saturday night. Good God, for most of the first 250 laps people were giving each other more room than when I calmly pass someone on the narrowest part of I-76 in Philadelphia. It was Bristol blasphemy on the highest scale, intermediate-style racing on the one track in America where fender-rubbing is supposed to be the hook that keeps everyone watching.

Ever since its 2007 repave, Bristol’s summertime night under the lights has come without the fender-rubbing part of the equation – a change in the way the track is raced that irritates plenty of fans on the circuit.

More than ever, in talking to fans that multi-groove, give-each-other-too-much-room style of racing is what irks people the most about Bristol. In the beginning, working the circuit every week in 2007 and listening to the hype I totally bought it: a repaved, smoother Bristol would lead to more side-by-side competition, fewer frayed tempers and better possibilities of a side-by-side finish that doesn’t leave a car in smithereens at the checkered. But what we all failed to realize then is variety is the spice of life; NASCAR thrives on tracks that have unique, easily recognizable personalities. For decades, Bristol sold itself as the one place on the circuit revenge can be a dish best served cold… as in slamming into the side of their rival, hard, with no repercussions while drivers try to push through traffic like a bunch of hyped-up 12-year-olds playing bumper cars.

Even in this year’s marketing commercials, Bristol was still trumpeting the crashes and smoking hot tempers of years past that gave it the nickname “Thunder Valley.” But that’s a lie now, especially with the current configuration: the truth is, Bristol’s what every good intermediate track should be, a whole lot of side-by-side racing where each car can run their own race if they find the right line. Because it’s shorter, the field can’t get spread out and that means there’s always good competition… but if people are looking for contact, well, they’re not going to get it. Considering we have too many 1.5-mile cookie cutters on the circuit to begin with, I feel like we probably didn’t need to turn a half-mile oval into one, right?

All that said, let’s give Bristol credit… attendance was clearly better, the number inching up to 156,000 for August compared to 155,000 in August 2010 (and the atrocious number that shall not be named from this spring). Still, wasn’t it a little weird to hear Brad Daugherty say, “The electricity at Bristol is catching” and the camera transition down to the one spot filled with empty seats in the process? Sigh…

Tell me, what track has Bruton Smith repaved over the last decade where the racing got better after he was done? I couldn’t think of any.

Bristol’s Music Driver Introductions are one of the coolest ideas any track has had on the NASCAR circuit. So why in the world aren’t they showing it on television?

Wonder why Tony Stewart’s been running so badly? During Saturday’s broadcast, ESPN mentioned Jimmie Johnson’s front tire changer was borrowed from Tony Stewart’s team, but crew chief Chad Knaus liked him so much the No. 48 team decided to keep him. Call me crazy, but I think if you’re a “separate organization” from the team you get engines and chassis from you’re allowed to ask for crew members back. No wonder Tony’s had such a sourpuss look lately; hopefully, this off week with Junior all but in the Chase he can go beg Mr. Hendrick to give him just enough equipment to stick inside the top 10 before falling out.

Ugly spins like this one, at Watkins Glen, are just part of a summer slump that’s left the normally red-hot Tony Stewart on the verge of missing the Chase.

Anyone else think it’s weird Ryan Newman won the pole while Stewart, the only other full-fledged “teammate” started 42nd on the same track? Oh, yeah, I forgot one other thing; Stewart has full-time primary sponsorship for 2012 while Ryan Newman is looking for more. Hmm…

At least Hendrick Motorsports was nice enough to give Stewart a consolation prize: Danica Patrick. Patrick, who officially announced her transition to full-time Nationwide racing this week, will run eight to ten Sprint Cup races for SHR in a third car, presumably before a transition to full-time Cup racing in 2013. The trendy pick to split the ride with her is Mark Martin, at least from what I’ve been hearing; he works well with Danica and is already proven in a driver-coach role. But don’t rule out someone like Brian Vickers, armed with previous Hendrick ties and young enough to satisfy GoDaddy’s marketing share (and attract additional sponsors) rather than a 52-year-old having one of the worst full-time seasons of his Sprint Cup career.

Speaking of, it pains me to say it… but time is catching up with Mark Martin. The man has made more on-track mistakes, causing or contributing to more wrecks this season than any other that I can remember… it’s difficult to watch.

One other Hendrick musing before we go… Kelly Earnhardt explaining why Danica isn’t driving a Cup car under the JR Motorsports name just made me laugh. “We discussed whether or not that would make sense for everyone involved. And quite frankly, JR Motorsports isn’t ready to bite that bullet,” she told this week. Bullet? What bullet when your AK-47 gun is filled with top-level Hendrick equipment, support and information at every turn if you make the move… plus, Danica’s just going across the street, driving the same said equipment while digesting similar information at SHR? Let me translate that quote for you: “Well, right now Mr. Hendrick’s accountant thinks it would make more financial sense for the team to go under the name ‘Stewart-Haas Racing.’ Plus, Junior doesn’t want to be stuck with that headache… so we just did what we were told.”

Bristol announced late Sunday they were adding more scoring loops on pit road. Thank goodness; if someone from the broadcast booth can see a driver speeding, yet there’s no proof to catch them you clearly have a problem with electronic radar. Still, kudos to Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski for taking advantage of the gray areas they were offered this weekend; that’s what makes good drivers great.

On a serious note, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Irene this weekend. Some might say the hurricane wasn’t as serious as feared; try saying that to my buddy, currently bailing two feet of water out of his basement in New Jersey while floodwaters sit mere steps from his front door. We were lucky in our Philadelphia neighborhood; power is on, there’s minimal damage and not more than a puddle or two. But as of this writing, 21,000 others in the city of Philadelphia are faced with the prospect of no electricity for days. Godspeed and a hearty “thank you” to those busy working overtime this week, cleaning up while restoring the gift of basic amenities we often take for granted – along with their service.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Ugly wrecks, like this Watkins Glen disaster for David Reutimann have defined a lost season at Michael Waltrip Racing.

It’s been one of those “anything that could happen, will happen” kind of years for David Reutimann. An already so-so night turned ugly once David Stremme went from start-and-park to start-and-punt on the back of the No. 00 Toyota to cause one of just two serious wrecks all night. Reutimann wound up 70 laps down in 37th.

It’s been a rough month for the Busch brothers and the speeding police: first Kyle Busch in court, then Kurt Busch at Bristol who was busted for blowing the limit on pit road multiple times Saturday night. In other news, looks like the NASCAR “refs” who made the call were Stadler and Waldorf from the Muppets; according to Busch, “The officials are just puppets from up top.” He ran 17th.

Both Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart couldn’t get out of their own way, running like they both were on seven cylinders for much of the evening. Both off the lead lap by the race’s one-quarter mark, they ended their night a disgraceful 26th and 28th at a track both consider one of their best.

Jeff Gordon had the night’s most dominant car; unfortunately, crew chief Alan Gustafson had a less-than-dominant pit strategy. His call to pit for four tires late in the race, on a night where Goodyears from your personal car wouldn’t make much difference in speed cost Gordon the track position needed to win. He wound up third.

The ‘Seven Come Fore Eleven’ Award For Fine Fortune

It’s been an ugly season for Martin Truex, Jr., but the chemistry with new crew chief Chad Johnston is promising. The No. 56 ran inside the top 10 all night long, then used a two-tire call by the head wrench to earn track position late en route to a season-high second-place finish.

Denny Hamlin’s hard-luck season seemed destined for a potential nail in the coffin when he spun out behind Reutimann’s wreck. But the guy who hit him was none other than fellow “wild card” contender Paul Menard; and while the No. 27 team struggled to recover, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota rallied with the crumpled fenders and charged back to seventh at the finish.

It wasn’t the typical Bristol night for Kyle Busch; he only led four laps and was responsible for the race’s final caution. At the same time, turning that type of ugly result into a 14th-place recovery is what will help the No. 18 finally become a formidable foe of the No. 48 this Fall.

Kudos also to two underdogs that deserve mention: Andy Lally, who steered the single-car, underfunded No. 71 to a 25th-place finish, just two laps off the pace. That’s the best finish for this rookie at an unrestricted oval track. Meanwhile, David Starr took a team running a limited schedule, the No. 95 of Leavine Family Racing and took their Advocare car to 27th, three laps behind but well ahead of big names like Stewart, Bowyer, and Menard. It’s the first race that car has ever finished…

Worth Noting

Three months ago, Brad Keselowski was struggling to simply finish races on the lead lap in Sprint Cup. Now? He’s a three-time Sprint Cup winner for 2011.

  • Keselowski’s win at Bristol was his third of 2011; he now trails only Kyle Busch for the Sprint Cup lead in that category. This month, since hurting his ankle Keselowski has had the following results: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 1st to surge from outside the top 20 to 11th in the standings. Let’s stop and think one more time: what would you have said June 1st if I told you Jimmie Johnson’s biggest challenger for this year’s title would be three-time 2011 winner Brad Keselowski? And what loony bin, out of the available choices in your area, would you have had me committed to?
  • Martin Truex, Jr. (second) had his best result since a runner-up finish at Michigan back in August, 2007. It’s his second top-5 performance this month (he had zero for the 2011 season entering August).
  • Jeff Gordon (third) has led 317 laps the last six races and finished no lower than 13th during that same stretch.
  • Jimmie Johnson (fourth) has three top-5 finishes in the last four races. Someone knows when to peak at the right time…
  • Jamie McMurray (fifth) has two top-5 finishes in the last five races. He had zero in the first 19.
  • Ryan Newman (eighth) has quietly accumulated two poles and an average finish of 7.3 the last seven races.
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (16th) has one top-10 finish over the last ten races. However… he has run 14th, 15th, or 16th five times over that same stretch. Looks like Steve Letarte has taught his pupil the right way to back into the postseason…
  • Kurt Busch (17th) has gone three straight races without a top-10 finish.
  • Kevin Harvick (22nd) has gone without a top-5 result since Pocono in June.
  • Greg Biffle (31st) can beat that; he hasn’t had a top-5 performance since Texas in April.
  • Bristol Motor Speedway had just six cautions during their 500-lap race; that’s the fewest number since the Spring of 1996.
  • Talk about manufacturer parity at its finest: the top 10 consisted of four Chevrolets, three Fords, two Toyotas and a Dodge (which won the race).
  • The highest-finishing rookie, in case anyone actually still cares about that stuff was Lally in 25th.

What’s The Points?

Under the old system, we’d have a barnburner right now between Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson: both are tied atop the standings with two races left in the regular season. Instead, each driver has his postseason spot secured, waiting for the Chase – although they’ll be going for wins from here on out to improve their seeding (a good thing)…

Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, the Roush Fenway Racing duo are third and fourth in the standings, respectively, and have also clinched postseason spots. For Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick, tied for fifth their victories assure them a position, too – although a run of 41st or better Sunday gets them in on points no matter what.

Ryan Newman, sitting seventh in the standings, has a healthy 73-point lead over eleventh-place Brad Keselowski; that should secure his Chase position after Atlanta along with eighth-place Kurt Busch (+60). Only Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Tony Stewart remain in real question within the top 10; Earnhardt is 39 points up on Keselowski, while Stewart sits at +21 over the surging Penske No. 2 team. Keselowski, in 11th, is solidly in the first wild card spot while Clint Bowyer, winless in 12th must either win or make it in on points; he’s one behind Keselowski, 22 behind Stewart and 40 behind Earnhardt for a place in the top 10.

The second wild card spot, currently held by Denny Hamlin (13th in points, one victory) remains up for grabs. Paul Menard, David Ragan, and Marcos Ambrose could earn it with a second victory at Atlanta that catapults them inside the top 20… points-wise, Hamlin remains 41 in front of Menard for the tiebreaker.

Overall Rating (on a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six an instant classic) – We’ll give this one two cans of chilled Miller Lite. Brad fans were happy, Gordon’s were at least entertained but I’m not so sure anyone else would give this race more than a C- if it was a term paper.

Next Up: The “it’s not quite Darlington, but as close as we’re going to get” new Labor Day Weekend tradition continues with a 500-mile race at Atlanta Sunday night. And if Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, or Kyle Busch pull off the victory there will be an extra $3 million on the line…

Connect with Tom!

Contact Tom Bowles

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


©2000 - 2008 Thomas Bowles and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Kevin in SoCal
08/29/2011 02:20 AM

Its nice to see you change the name of this column when its you writing. What about the previous few weeks when it was someone else on the FS staff? The column was still called Matt McLaughlin’s Thinking Out Loud.
And get better soon Matt. We all hope you are back to writing your columns as fast as possible!

08/29/2011 06:18 AM

Yes, the Bristol races have now become like most other tracks on the circuit. The uniqueness and intensity that used to be Bristol are long gone. Thank you for not having the condescending, superior attitude about what used to be racing at Bristol. It is now like watching Kansas, Chicago, MIS, California, or any of the other ‘cookie cutter’ tracks. Between the COT (which seems even more aero sensitive than the old cars), the ‘chase’, and Goodyear’s indestructible tires, Races are won from pit road. And, it appears that the #2 team paid close attention to what Chad Knaus has known for the past 5 years about timing loops on pit road. Eventually, all the races at every track are going to look the same. THAT’S the definition of cookie cutter, not the differences in configuration.

Carl D.
08/29/2011 07:34 AM

Brad Keselowski’s run during the month of August is nothing short of amazing. The nickname “Bad Brad” was earned, but in the last year he has raced his competitors hard but clean, and he’s finally seeing the rewards for his growth and maturity. He certainly won’t be a favorite going into the chase, but can you really count him out?

08/29/2011 10:50 AM

“Under the old system, we’d have a barnburner right now between Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson: both are tied atop the standings with two races left in the regular season. Instead, each driver has his postseason spot secured and will simply be going for wins from here on out to improve their seeding…”

Is it my imagination, or does this paragraph read like Tom is complaining that Kyle and Jimmie will be racing for wins????????

A NASCAR writer complaining that guys will be racing for wins???? I edge ever closer to being able to say I’ve seen everything.

Annie Mack
08/29/2011 11:02 AM

Farewell to the old Bristol and hello to the same old crap. There’s no reason why someone shouldn’t be able to nose a car out of the way and pass them if they’re faster. This crap of the aero push is getting old and especially at Bristol. That was the one track where you could run without fenders and still win a race. Now you find yourself mired behind cars and hoping for a top 10. They couldn’t give me tickets for either Bristol race and I was on the waiting list for night races for years. I’m so disappointed I didn’t get to see the old track in person. Everything Bruton touches turns to crap.

08/29/2011 11:29 AM

Damn, I used to avidly look forward to the two races at Bristol. Now I can barely watch either. The progressive banking has effectively neutered this track. I barely paid attention to Saturday night’s race. Didn’t know who won till Sunday morning. And this is coming from a former fanatic of Bristol racing.

08/29/2011 11:49 AM

I agree…Bristol is now a pale shadow of what it used to be. I’m thankful that I got to see one race there with real racing on high banks. As a Tennessean, I used to be proud of our mighty little track. Now I guess it’s just another ruined venue. NASCAR has lost touch with what fans like. Every track used to have some unique quality to it. That’s what made racing interesting. What will they do next, straighten out the road courses?

08/29/2011 12:01 PM

OMG katie3 don’t give Nascar any ideas….

Managing Editor
08/29/2011 12:33 PM

Two quick things…

Neal, you are right – it is your imagination, but I can understand how that paragraph can be interpreted. I’ve altered the wording a bit to make it more clear… my point was you don’t need the Chase to reset the standings this year, not that going for wins is a bad thing under any circumstance.

Kevin… not sure what you mean by the name change, there was no ego associated with it. The reasoning behind it was simple: we just wanted to try something new, letting fans know through the title when Matt actually wasn’t doing the column…

08/29/2011 12:44 PM

We witnessed the death of Bristol on Saturday night. I paid my final respects when Jeff Gordon with a faster car and four fresh tires couldn’t pass Martin Truex with dozens of laps to attempt it.

phil h
08/29/2011 12:57 PM

Bruton levegated (or some kinda term like that)Charlotte years back and ruined the racing there.Then he decides to progressive bank Bristol,what a maroon (as Bugs Bunny would say)! He’s given us cookie cutter tracks like Vegas,now Kentucky.

His treachery in buying off Rockingham and North Wilkesboro,and throw them to the gutter is classic him.
Bruton!!…’ve had the best tracks!! and you transformed Bristol into a gem!!! Learn to leave well enough alone !! Geesh !!

Kevin in SoCal
08/29/2011 01:24 PM

Tom, previously this year, when Matt was absent, the title of this column was always “Matt McLaughlin’s Thinking Out Loud” even when Matt wasnt the one doing the writing. Now, when you do the writing, you change the name to reflect the actual writer. I didnt mean to imply it was an ego thing, I was just commenting on the lack of change previously and the change now.
And to the others who dont like the new Bristol, if you want a demolition derby, NASCAR isnt your sport. The new banking allows for sdie-by-side racing without having to wreck another driver to pass him. I much prefer this type of racing to start-and-stop racing with a caution for a wreck every 20 laps. Not to mention your favorite driver has a better chance at a good finish instead of getting caught up in someone else’s wreck.

08/29/2011 01:28 PM

Well, I “watched” the race on TV in between the constant interruption of commercials. I realized that I had switched channels so often that I wasn’t really watching the race. I need to use trackpass & twitter to keep up with what ESPN doesn’t cover.

I got to see the Bristol night race before it was emasculated into whatever this “racing” is supposed to be. bored now and I’m sure that I’ll be even MORE bored when we get into the chase and ESPN will breathe hard about that instead of the actual race they are supposed to be showing. Did I mention I was bored now?

08/29/2011 01:51 PM

To quote..

“Still, kudos to Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski for taking advantage of the gray areas they were offered this weekend; that’s what makes good drivers great.”

…made me wanna f’n puke. IIRC, it was a FS DYN article that trashed Chad and Jimmie at the Brickyard a few years back who did the very same thing. Basically calling them cheaters. Explain to me how intelligence translates to cheating? Nuts!

Not only has the racing sucked, add in pu**y drivers, stupid rules, piss-poor booth reporting, Gestapo goons in Daytona beach, and an all-around rotten and borish coverage. But, oh no, lets pile on some more. Monday morning articles have really taken a crap. Thank God for John Potts to even things out!

I am so tired, and worn out, it won’t be long now…

Doug in Washington (State)
08/29/2011 02:44 PM

If the “Progressive banking” was supposed to create more side-by-side racing, if failed miserably. There’s still only one preferred line and that’s the outside. You had to have a vastly superior car to pass on the inside, or at least a somewhat better one on a restart.

Sure, you can run on the inside, but you can’t PASS on the inside. The old Bristol, you had one groove total. You had to force the guy in front of you out of the groove. Try that now, you both end up wrecked. Not the improvement they hoped.

Tom Dalfonzo
08/29/2011 04:01 PM

I actually suggested that this track host the Cup series finale. I might rescind that decision. Make Bruton and/or Brian pay out the ying yang to make Bristol great again.

08/29/2011 04:20 PM

I was there and there are 2 lanes, only a few could run low but SOME DID. At it’s worst Bristol is better action than Michigan, Pocono, Cali combined. You folks are just not happy unless your complaining.

Moe Foe
08/29/2011 04:24 PM

Holy Hogwash!! Why don’t you people go back to demo-derbies and monster trucks and leave us race fans alone. Bristol was improved in that they don’t have to spin to pass nowadays. That means racing, not destruction. The ‘intensity’ you are calling for was brought on by the inability to pass. A one-groove racetrack…that made everybody mad or broken, but not racing.

08/29/2011 04:57 PM

I vote for the New Bristol for racing, before the repaving there could be 200+ laps of caution. THAT IS NOT RACING.

Alot of the problem now is the chase and trying to protect your place in said chase.

I would like to think dishnetwork’s Charlie, nascars king brain dead and espn for not televising the race in middle TN. but showing titans football, texas high school football and 2 yr old worlds strongest man, good job

08/29/2011 07:39 PM

“Not only has the racing sucked, add in pu**y drivers, stupid rules, piss-poor booth reporting, Gestapo goons in Daytona beach, and an all-around rotten and borish coverage.” HankZ has got my vote on why NASCAR is shriveled, dried up and neutered. Hell, our whole country seems to be on the verge of being shriveled and neutered and I for one don’t like that one damn bit.

08/29/2011 07:49 PM

katie3, they won’t straighten out the road courses, they’ll turn them into mile-and-a-half cookie cutters.

If I was Tony Stewart, I’d rather have someone back who could help win a race than someone who hasn’t got a prayer of winning anything for years. But she will bring in a ton of money, depending on how much clothes she doesn’t wear.

08/29/2011 09:59 PM

Money rules, in racing and most anywhere and Hendrick has the money. For the most part NASCRAP kisses Hendricks behind.I can see Tony Stuart cringe when Hendrick tell him he gets Dianica like it or not. Tony has to do as told because he has no choice . Just like the days of the mafia and AL Capone. NASCAR would be better off without Dianica but she is a cash cow for Hendrick even more than Dale Jr. NASCAR is drowning in it’s own crap.

Bad Wolf
08/30/2011 12:10 AM

“Holy Hogwash!! Why don’t you people go back to demo-derbies and monster trucks and leave us race fans alone. Bristol was improved in that they don’t have to spin to pass nowadays. That means racing, not destruction. The ‘intensity’ you are calling for was brought on by the inability to pass. A one-groove racetrack…that made everybody mad or broken, but not racing.”

I guess you’ve never seen real Saturday Night dirt track racin. Bristol used to be the one bone thrown to us old school fans that brought the spririt of Saturday Night short track racin back. This was Nascar roots racin. This was REAL RACIN.

Enjoy your new Milque Toast competition. As for me I watched some Saturday night, got bored and turned to pre-season football. This from a guy who used to eat, sleep and breath Nascar.

Brian France; Turning died in the wool Nascar fans into casual fans for damn near a decade.

old farmer
08/30/2011 02:13 AM

Tony Stewart needs a new crew chief.

Grubb can’t get a race car out of a paper bag on a consistent basis. Just ask Jeff Gordon, who was probably thrilled when Hendrick sent him to SHR.

08/30/2011 12:09 PM

These people that gave the Bristol race 5 and 6 cans in the poll must have drank at least 5 or 6 cans of the good stuff while watching that boring “event”. Bristol can’t live up to all the pre-race hype anymore, and isn’t at all worth looking forward to anymore.

Don Mei
08/30/2011 01:46 PM

no spoilers next time.


Contact Tom Bowles

Recent articles from Tom Bowles:

Did You Notice? ... Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Did You Notice? ... Drivers Still Make A Difference... But Silly Cautions Don't
Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Free Agent Lynchpin, Uncomfortable Reality And Gambling
Did You Notice? ... Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters
Did You Notice? ... Keep On Asking, And You Will Receive A Qualifying Sigh Of Relief

If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.

Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at