What To Watch For: Bristol

“Thanks to an off week NASCAR hasn’t raced in almost two weeks. That’s good news for anyone who had spring break, insomnia, amnesia or a short prison stint because they didn’t miss a thing. Just in case, here’s a few tidbits in anticipation of Bristol.

  • Ratio from talking about wrecks to the actual carnage. 4:1
    Another way to picture that ratio is that for every actual crash at Bristol, there will be four mentions of words like “bullring”, “chrome horn” and “bump and run”. While I love Bristol and the everything rolled into the race package, I sometimes find everyone’s expectations a little too high. Not every race will produce an Earnhardt-Labonte checkers or wreckers finish or Dale Jarrett plowing into Ryan Newman. Recently a lot of Bristol races have been rather tame.
  • Who will win the coveted Dune Buggy Award? Thanks to the large amount of wrecks and the lower minimum speed, Bristol gives teams the opportunity to keep racing with, or without sheet metal on the car. This week John Andretti finds a rough spot and winds up with the fierce-looking grill.
  • Digger Count: 0 Bristol’s infield is completely paved. Digger should not show up, right? Right?!
  • Can Gibbs Racing finally win a Bristol race? In the last six races Gibbs drivers have led 986 laps but none have won in a Gibbs car (Tony Stewart did win in 2001). Mechanical problems struck Stewart and Denny Hamlin in 2007 and last year Stewart and Kyle Busch were both bumped out of the lead late in races after dominating to that point. Can Hamlin or Busch finally seal the deal?
  • Is it bad to root for a race to be like March weather? With the NCAA tourney rolling on Sunday, is it bad to hope Bristol comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion? Let Kyle Busch lead 450 laps, put everyone a lap down and then get rammed by Juan Pablo Montoya with ten to go and suddenly five drivers have a chance to win. I want my to eat my cake.