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Bristol Bump was replaced by Bristol Boring

By admin | March 25, 2009

By Richard Allen


On Sunday in Bristol, the guy who sat beside me rarely sat as he seemed more concerned with texting people behind him and then waving his arms until those people finally saw him. And, the kid sitting behind me constantly kicked the back of my seat. Unfortunately, neither of those things was the most annoying about my day in Bristol.

The worst thing about the day was the race itself.

Over the last few weeks local radio and television stations have bombarded those of us in east Tennessee with advertisements from the Bristol Motor Speedway to announce that for the first time in years tickets were available for a Sprint Cup race. Well, if Sunday’s Food City 500 was any indication, the track had better plan on running those same ads again in August.

This track has caused the NASCAR vernacular to change over the years. Some of the words created for the high banked speedway can be repeated here and some can not.

One of those terms is the ‘Bristol Bump’. It describes a move in which one driver who is trailing behind another driver gives the lead driver a nudge to open the way for a pass.

This past weekend the ‘Bristol Bump’ was replaced by ‘Bristol Boring’. To say the least, the race was a bit eventless.

I am not one who wants there to be a crash every other lap. I just want to see close, competitive racing which may involve a little fender banging now and then. Somehow, the track, or the drivers, or NASCAR figured a way to get 43 cars onto a high banked half-mile track and yet have them not get close enough to each other to doing any serious racing.

Perhaps it was Kyle Busch’s dominance. Perhaps it was the progressive banking and resurfacing that was done on the track a couple of years ago. Perhaps it was the Car of Tomorrow. Or, perhaps it was some combination of all of those things. Whatever, ‘it’ was didn’t provide for a very good show.

By leading 378 laps, Kyle Busch did completely dominate the race. Sometimes one driver and his team does just hit the right combination and crush the competition.

Many blame the changes made to the track in the summer of 2007. Since the track was resurfaced and progressive banking was installed, the number of cautions and lead changes has dropped dramatically. Over the last four races since the resurfacing there have been an average of nine cautions per race. In the five races prior to those changes there was an average of just over 14 cautions per race. The number of lead changes per race has undergone similar reductions.

Many race fans like to place the blame for poor racing on the Car of Tomorrow. While the new car certainly plays a role on larger tracks, aerodynamics and other changes involved in making cars handle may not necessarily apply on such a short track.

Whatever the case, the racing in the 2009 Food City 500 lacked excitement. There was no ‘Bristol Bump’ because the cars rarely got close enough to one another to need such a maneuver. Hopefully, ‘Bristol Boring’ will be short lived.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

4 Responses to “Bristol Bump was replaced by Bristol Boring”

  1. SB Says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Actually, Bristol Boring started about the same thime the ‘chase’ made it’s debut…especially at the night race. Being so close to the ‘not-a-playoff’, drivers seemed more concerned with not losing their top 10/12 ranking, or causing some of those drivers to lose it. It started then to become an ‘After you, Alphonse’ sort of race. I know, because I had attended the races there for the past 8 years. Last year I left the night race with 100 laps to go, since trying to stay awake till the end of the parade was a real issue. This year I managed to sell my tickets to both races, and I sincerely doubt I will renew them for next year. Wrecks or not, what is no longer in evidence at Bristol is intensity. Used to be there, isn’t now. Now it’s more like MIS with traffic. I live 2 hours from MIS and refuse to pay to attend the parades masquerading as races there. Unfortunately, Nascar, with their perfect storm of mediocrity (Chase, COT, redesigned track) have managed to water down what was one of the most exciting races of the year.

  2. Mark Trentham Says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I completely disagree with the article “Bristol Bump has been replaced by Bristol Boring”.
    I attended the Britol race and enjoyed it more than ever. I understand the excitement of all the wrecks is not there but the whole idea of Nascar and stock car racing is for teams to put the best team and driver together that they can and compete to win the “race”.
    Yes, I said race, not demolition derby. I applaud Bristol Motor Speedway and Nascar for the changes made to not only protect the drivers from injury but to make the race a true race. In past years many race teams that had the best drivers and cars were taken out of the race by the inexperienced or wreckless drivers that did not even have a chance to win a championship. Who in there right mind would want to sit at the track for 1or 2 extra hours while they cleaned up caution after caution. If you paid close attention Sunday the track was better than ever. For the first time the drivers were racing 3 wide at times and passing was possible. Passing on the track at Bristol used to be next to impossible unless you wrecked the driver in front of you. That in my opinion is not racing.
    I am sorry for the fans that disagree, but I am glad to see a good race at Bristol for a change.

  3. Ken O Says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I live within an hour of the Bristol track and I won’t go when offered free tickets. I was given free tickets to the night race a few races ago and I only paid for half the parking. I felt cheated and don’t plan on ever attending the race track again. The “sellout” I attended sure had a lot of empty seats around me.

  4. midasmicah Says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I don’t know how they managed it, but nas$car did the unthinkable. They took a track that was the heart and soul of the sport and turned it into a carbon copy of the cookie cutter mile and a half tracks. otherwise unwatchable. A friend came over to watch the race with me and we spent more time on the computer looking up info regarding the nfl draft than watching the race. Boring! boring! boring! Thank you Brian, Mike and rest of the nas$car bosses for ruining the sport I love.