It’s finally here! Tonight, we go under the lights at the Bristol Motor Speedway where it is almost a given to see both fireworks and tempers both on and off the track- does it get much better than that?
There has been a lot of talk going into tonight’s race on whether or not this will be more like the ‘old’ Bristol, or the ‘new’, based on what we have seen from both the NCWTS and NNS races, I think it’s safe to say the ‘old’ Bristol is back with a vengeance!
To understand what to expect tonight, you must first understand the history of Saturday night racing at Bristol:
August 23rd, 1997:
Pat Tryson, Crew Chief for Geoff Bodine, decides to quit in the middle of the race because he didn’t like the fact that Tim Brewer, newly hired team manager, was making the pit calls.
Tryson later said, “There was too much chatter on the radio between 3-4 people, so I thought I would go somewhere where they would appreciate me.”
August 25th, 2001:
Who can forget the exchange between Ricky Rudd (No. 28 Havoline car) and Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite car). In the closing laps Wallace ‘nudged’ Rudd, but that didn’t set well with Rudd. When Rudd was able to catch Wallace, he decided to give a slight bump, Wallace decided to retaliate when the race was over, spinning the driver of the No. 28 car.
In a post-race interview, Rudd said: “Evidently Rusty’s brakes went out with about 3-4 laps to go, I was able to catch him, so I got into him just a little bit and I guess when it was over his brakes really didn’t work”.
August 24, 2002:
-Ward Burton didn’t like Dale Earnhardt Jr. putting him into the wall, so Burton decided to take action. As soon as Burton got out of his car, he approached Junior’s as the rest of the field was under caution. Burton then attempted to throw his drivers gloves into the No. 8 Budweiser car, to show his distaste for Junior.
Later Burton went on to say, “I’ve got some really good words for him (Junior), but I can’t say them on TV. I just have learn to control myself, but I really wish I had something to throw through his window”.
August 27th, 2005:
Ryan Newman gets into the back of Dale Jarrett, ruining Jarrett’s day. When Jarrett finally caught up to Newman after the wreck, Jarrett proceeded to spin out the No. 12 car, triggering a three-car crash including Kevin Harvick. NASCAR decided to take immediate action on Jarrett, penalizing him 2 laps. With Jarrett’s poor finish because of the penalty, he dropped three spots in the Chase putting him at P14 (which ultimately ruined his chances for making the Chase)
Here are some more ‘legendary’ moments made at Bristol: Do you remember when Jimmie Johnson got upset with Mark Martin and decided to give Martin the ‘finger’ during the caution laps? Or what about the Joe Nemechek and Elliott Sadler incident? You know, the one where Sadler ‘punched’ the ambulance as he was getting in?
The list goes on when mentioning ‘classic’ Saturday night Bristol races, which is why it is so evident to watch the race tonight.
As one of the lessons that is taught from an early age- It is important for us to remember the history, because after all, history always seems to repeat itself!