Statesville, N.C. – Landon Cassill doesn’t know what “old Bristol” is all about, but he’s about to find out. His first NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway came in 2008, after the track was resurfaced with multiple racing grooves. He never experienced the hardcore rooting and gouging that were once synonymous with the half-mile oval. Now that the latest resurfacing project has eliminated one of the racing grooves, Cassill expects to see shades of the once-uncompromising race track in this weekend’s Irwin Tools Night Race. He looks forward to his first race at “old Bristol.”
Cassill drove his No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota to BK Racing’s best starting position to date last weekend at Michigan. His ninth-place qualifying run was BK Racing’s first top-10. He was poised to cap off the achievement with a top-15 finish, but experienced transmission trouble with 10 laps remaining and settled for 25th place. It was Cassill’s eighth top-25 of the season and his third top-25 in the past four races.
Cassill has three previous Cup Series starts at Bristol. His best finish is 29th, which he achieved in this season’s spring race. Cassill has one NASCAR Nationwide Series event under his belt at BMS. In 2008, Cassill started 27th and finished 22nd, driving for JR Motorsports.
Comments from BK Racing driver Landon Cassill heading into Bristol: “I never raced at Bristol before it was resurfaced in 2007. I’m used to seeing the side-by-side racing, even making some green-flag pit stops. All of the bumping and banging that the track is famous for happened just before I started racing there. It sounds like they’ve ground away one of the racing grooves and it will be more like it used to be. It will give us less room to race. I don’t know what to expect. I’m sure that if there’s less room for us to race, there’s going to be closer competition and less room for error.
“Even with the extra groove, Bristol was an action-packed track. It might not have been as crazy as years past, but it was still tough to make passes. You were always on your toes. You definitely had to stay alert and be ready for trouble. I think the new surface will still allow us room for some side-by-side racing, but it’s going to ramp up the intensity. I think it’s going to be exactly what the fans have wanted to see.
“We had a great race going last week at Michigan. It looked like we were going to get our first top-15 of the season. Unfortunately we had some trouble with our transmission and it got stuck in third gear with a few laps to go. It was disappointing for it to end that way, but I’m really excited about the progress we’ve shown. I think we’re really starting to show what we’re capable of and I hope we can keep it up this week at Bristol.”