Photo courtesy of NASCAR.com/Credit: 253211John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
On St. Patrick’s Day the NASCAR Sprint Cup series will go “short trackin’” at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500.
Sunday, March 17th, drivers and crews in NASCAR’s top division will need both skill and some luck to have a shot at winning. The drivers and crews have been tested in the Gen-6 cars in races on super speedways and intermediate tracks that are flat and banked in the first three races of the 2013 season. Those in-race-tests have resulted in three diferent winners so far; Jimmie Johnson
, Carl Edwards
and Matt Kenseth
. Now, the teams and cars will be tested together while getting back to the roots of stock car racing on a short track.
While Bristol Motor Speedway does have some progressive banking in the turns (from 24 to 28 degrees on each end of the track), it is only 0.533 miles around the track. That means the drivers will not be running wide-open and spreading out. Instead, they will find themselves side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper all the way around the track.
This provides for some exciting moments on the track for fans watching. It also requires that the drivers not only stay focused on driving, but also hold their emotions in check. If another driver loses control of their car and bumps another car, the driver in the bumped car needs to not get too upset and stay focused on driving. Additionally, if a driver is having a hard time getting around a slower car, the driver of the faster car needs to remain patient and not do anything too extreme that could upset the other drive inside the car.
While all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers head into a race at “Thunder Valley” with that knowledge and understanding, it never stays that way all race long for every driver. The Gen-6 cars will be tested for durability during the Food City 500. The drivers will “lean on” each other all the way around the track. They will beat and bang on each other side-by-side as well as use the bumpers of their cars to move another car to make the pass. It is just what happens when the NASCAR Sprint Cup series goes “short trackin’.”
Winning at Bristol comes down a few key factors. The crews will need to be at their best and mistake free to get their drivers in and out of the pits as quickly as possible because track position is very important on short tracks. The drivers will need to remain focused and in control of their emotions in order to not make stupid mistakes that tear up their cars. And, on St. Patrick’s Day, an element of luck will also be needed to avoid being caught up in other drivers’ “disagreements” on the track that could prematurely end the day.
Fans can count on an exciting race of “beatin’ and bangin’” when the NASCAR Sprint Cup series goes “short trackin’” at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Food City 500 pre-race festivities are set to begin on FOX TV at 11:30 am central time Sunday, March 17th.
By: Buck Stevens