The haulers headed to Thunder Valley this past weekend and the ‘World’s Fastest Conveyor Belt’ left a few tempers flarin’ and some ruffled feathers. At the end of the day it was Rowdy Busch doin’ the victory dance, but first, git yer learn on with a little track history…
Bristol Motor Speedway, or ‘Thunder Valley’ as the folk from Tennessee like to call it, is the 4th biggest gatherin’ place in the U.S. of A. and 8th biggest in the world. It’s a backyard BBQ with 165,000 of yer closest kin. That ain’t includin’ the tailgaters outside who couldn’t git their grubby paws on a ticket. NASCAR is truly international by now, but the heart of NASCAR is in these thar hills where the first stock cars belonged to bootleggers outrunnin’ the cops. As racetracks go, it’s a short one at just 1/2 mile of concrete, but it’s banked at 30 degrees in the corners allowin’ for a complete lap in under 14 seconds. Driver’s say it’s like flyin’ a jet fighter in a gymnasium. Fittin’ 43 on the narrow strip of concrete here doesn’t always work so good, so guys tend to use their bumpers instead of manners and git real intimate with walls. The stadium seating lets ‘em git real intimate with the fans too. It’s the only track where drivers can actually hear us hootin’ and hollerin’ from the stands WHILE THEY’RE RACIN’. That’s louder ‘n a couple alley cats fightin’ in a vacuum cleaner.
Now that yer in the know about the track, let’s git on with the racin’. The weekend started with Cousin Carl takin’ the pole with a blisterin’ qualifyin’ lap, but it turns out that the boys were also blisterin’ the tires. After a few melted beads and a whole lot of whinin’ from the Hendrick camp, NASCAR decided to take a closer look. It got so bad that Goodyear had to truck in new slicks from Carolina for all 43 cars.
When the green flag finally dropped, Carl showed the way and Kyle Busch tore through the pack usin’ any and every lane available. The rest of the field took turns spinnin’ in the corners and crumplin’ fenders. Most of ‘em ended up gittin’ lapped more than once by the lead pack. JJ looked like he was gonna take it away from Kyle at the end, but a SNAFU in the pits left him in 3rd as Rowdy Busch took the checkers and Edwards came home 2nd. You can git the whole round up HERE. 5 Time was cryin’ like a toddler with a skinned knee afterward, but at least he didn’t have a day like last year’s runner up Denny Hamlin did. He finished 33rd, 12 laps down, and dropped 9 spots in the points. Not the best news for owner Joe Gibbs (yes, THAT Joe Gibbs), but I’m sure sweepin’ the weekend with Kyle behind the wheel made that pill easier to swallow.
Comin’ out of the back woods of Tennessee, it looks like Kyle and Carl are the ones to watch, but don’t count out the rest of the Roush Fenway gang as they had 3 cars in the top 8 on Sunday. I hate to sound like a skippin’ Lynyrd Skynyrd CD and keep repeatin’, but my gut is tellin’ me that we’ll be hearin’ Kyle and Carl’s names A LOT out in Californ-eye-yay next weekend.
Speakin’ of the ol’ west, Lefty’s got an excitin’ week planned for ya! Rob Kiszko‘s got yer tickets startin’ tomorrah afternoon on 96-7 KCAL Rocks, an’ I’ll be reportin’ LIVE from the Auto Club Speedway beginnin’ with Friday’s practice all the way through the checkered flag on Sunday. In addition to all the on track action in Fontucky, my ol’ drinkin’ buddy 4orty and me will be workin’ our way through the infield one pop top at a time until every beer’s been drunk. Either that or we’ll end up passed out in a redneck jacuzzi with a #3 shaved into our back hair. Don’t worry… we’re videatapin’ the whole thang.