The Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., on the iconic 0.533-mile concrete oval with 14-degree banking, is over for March 2013.
The track that is often compared to the Roman Coliseum because its towering stands allow fans to be very close to the action and see their drivers work.
In this race, the action on the track was amplified after the checkered flag by driver Joey Logano’s displeasure and aggression with Denny Hamlin. NASCAR controlled it well, but it’s the kind of deliberate bumping that creates memories.
Those ill feelings are often the result of intense and fast competition and are unlikely to go away, but it’s the role of this reporter to bring fresh comments to NASCAR fans about those who have managed to be at the top with finishes and point battles.
Momentum begins with consistency.
Sometimes comments can mean much from one race to another, but fans always determine much of what counts as well—by listening or not.
Driver Kasey Kahne and team may be poised to be top contenders throughout 2013 season.
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet) (Finished first)
“This is a big win,” Kahne said. “I love racing for Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick the opportunity he gives us, this whole team was flawless again. Last week, today, this whole season so far. It has been a lot of fun. Great Clips, I’ve been with them for a long time. We have won a few races together it was great to win a [NASCAR Sprint] Cup race with Great Clips.
“Everybody has done a great job. Just racing Brad [Keselowski], Denny [Hamlin] was tough and Jeff [Gordon] and Matt Kenseth was really good there. I don’t know what happened to those guys. It looked like Jeff might have had a tire problem. It was a big win I’m really happy.”
No one can deny the sharp abilities of Busch on a racetrack. Busch does well with words too—most often.
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota) (Finished second)
“Just need to stop getting penalties and just stay up front all day, but I don’t know," Busch said. “We’re trying to take too much on pit roads and it’s not working for us, so we just need to back off. These guys do an awesome job with these cars. The M&M’s Camry was fast and the guys did a great job. Just wish there was more to have there. Just too tight all day. Just never really had the car that was worth being able to run the bottom as long as it needed to. And then on the top, it was too tight on the top as well too. It’s a good day, I guess.”
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford) (Finished third)
“I got ran over,” Keselowski said. “It was gonna be a helluva battle between me and Kasey there with four laps to go, but I didn’t get a chance. I’m not sure what happened, if the 11 car got pushed from behind or if he just ran me over, but that’s racing. The 2 team did a great job adjusting on the car during the race. We weren’t close at the start, but at the end the car was pretty good, not quite as good as Kasey’s, but still a great effort.”
Keselowski is building momentum after winning the 2012 championship. That’s notable.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
"I have to give all the credit to Steve Letarte," Earnhardt said. “He made a couple, two, three great pit calls there at the end, and gave us the opportunity to get some guys on some old tires, and beat a few guys that we probably weren't going to beat. Great call by him.
"We drove a pretty good race. He made a great couple of adjustments at the end. We were really getting behind on the race track; we were getting really, really tight and falling back. Made a couple of good calls on taking some wedge out and stuff like that to help the car. Give him and the team a lot of credit. They did a great job today."
Earnhardt has won driver popularity contests year after year, but his track production is on the up-swing as well.
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Toyota)
“It was great having the NAPA colors on my car today,” Bowyer said. “I just didn’t have enough for them on the bottom down there. Needed a little bit of track position. We had a great car and it was a good day—just wasn’t a great day.”
Bowyer finished second in the NSCS points last years. He and team do that by working hard and fast.
The next great day of NASCAR racing is March 24, in Fontana, Calif.
FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.