Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, spoke to reporters Saturday morning. Among his topics, was comments that the new Bristol will bring back the old Bristol when it comes to action on the track.
“I think having that winter to sit because I think they ground it right before the race – give or take a month – but they ground it right before and I think it was really fresh. The pores were really fresh at the surface and it took rubber. Obviously, the warmer temperatures effect the way the rubber comes off the tires and the way it sticks into the concrete as well, so all of those things added up and it was something that I don’t think anyone could have ever predicted as far as how the grip came into the race track. That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around, which isn’t a bad thing,” said Keselowski.
Jimmie Johnson commented on his media session about getting the balance between a great track for drivers and a great track for fans. Last year was a good example as the track was great for the drivers, allowing them plenty of room, and ability to race. With that meant little to no accidents on the track, which fans in turn said it was a boring race.
“It’s so difficult to get the recipe right. This race track is a perfect example. For the longest time we didn’t think the racing was all that good from a competitors stand point. But, we had a sold out event here with a long waiting list. They change it, drivers are happy, the track is very racy, but you can’t sell out the spring race. Last year’s race we were all fighting for one lane which was at the top instead of the bottom. Somebody throws a helmet and it’s considered a good race. So, I’m not sure racing and entertainment kind of go in the same piece. I do think that racing is top priority for NASCAR and it has been. They have created a very safe race car and a very equal race car. I think the next step is to look at the tracks and figure out how to improve the tracks,” said Johnson.
Danica Patrick believes the key to victory lies in being able to run the bottom of the track. That was part of the desired affect that Bristol officials wanted when they ground down the top groove of the track.
“I like Bristol. Obviously can be a little bit…the cars definitely got in a train last time we were here. It was tough. It was a little bit hard to pass. But like I said, that is why the bottom becomes important because if you get stuck, or even if you start on the bottom on a restart. If your car is turning, you can make that work I think for a little while,” said Patrick.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. would not be as quick to say Bristol is the pattern for which other track should respond to “boring” racing.
“They were trying to eliminate the top groove and ended-up making it even stronger. And so it didn’t really have the intended result, but it was a good result nonetheless. Everybody seemed to enjoy the race. I did. So, I think everybody needs to put away the pick axes and hammers because we really don’t know what makes a good race track. We really don’t need everybody hammering away at the surface of the race track trying to fix it, because nobody really knows what the result is going to be. I think if you look at Atlanta and you look at Vegas and Texas and the age of that asphalt, it seems like the older the asphalt gets, the more we move around. I think us running different grooves is better for the racing. I think us running in one single groove is not better for racing,” said Earnhardt.
It should be a great race Sunday based off of what we saw last August. Fans, drivers, and teams just hope that Bruton Smith doesn’t go and do anything to make the track better after this race.