Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top Bristol Moments Happened Off Track

After the beatin' and bangin' on the Nationwide side Friday night, fans were hyped up for a wreckfest during the Cup race Saturday night.

But alas, the Irwin Tools Night Race was more run than bump.  And even though Kyle Busch did manage to pull off the Bristol sweep, the race itself wasn't quite the fender-banging, helmet-throwing spectacle that fans have come to expect.

There were several long green flag runs for one. And even when Juan Pablo Montoya sent reigning champ Jimmie Johnson out of contention with an ill-timed hit, Johnson was quick to say post-race that he knew it wasn't intentional on Montoya's part.

And you call this Bristol?

In fact, the most memorable moments happened off the track - and here they are:

5. National Anthem - Bristol does the anthem right. And when the driver/crew kids sang The Star Spangled Banner during Sunday's pre-race ceremonies, even Tony Stewart cracked a smile. From the little boy on the front row who held his ears to the T-shirts wishing Bristol track president Jeff Byrd a speedy recovery, the anthem was a feel-good high point (and thankfully, the polar opposite of last week's drunken rendition).

4. Edwards' Musical Intro - the beloved Bristol tradition of allowing drivers to pick their own "theme song" before they are introduced didn't fail to disappoint.  And Carl Edwards wins the prize for most apropros song selection with "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War - a pointed (and amusing) reference to his long-running feud with Brad Keselowski.

3. Vickers' Revelation - A few hours before the green flag waved at Bristol, Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers told the media that he underwent open heart surgery July 12 to repair a small hole in his heart. Vickers, who has been out of the No. 83 Toyota since being diagnosed with blood clots in May, also revealed that he had a stent placed in a vein in his left leg the day after heart surgery. 

"I had heart surgery, and I never thought I would never have that at 26," Vickers said.

Vickers told reporters his doctors have cleared him to race in 2011 and he plans to race at next year's Daytona 500.  Although he didn't have any comment about what this means for teammate's Scott Speed's prospects next year, the result seems pretty clear. With Kasey Kahne joining Red Bull Racing and Vickers returning, Speed may well be out of a NASCAR ride.

2. Brooms in Victory Lane - Whether or not you're one of his "loving fans," you can't deny that Kyle Busch accomplished an impressive feat this weekend. With his Cup victory, Busch became the first driver to win all three national series in one week. And that prompted his crew to break out the brooms in Victory Lane and do their own version of the "Bristol Sweep". 

1. Keselowski Gets Personal - The crowd went crazy when Keselowski took the mic after being introduced pre-race and said simply, "Brad Keselowski, driver of the Penske Racing Dodge. Kyle Busch is an ass."  Although the offending word was bleeped out on the ABC broadcast, Keselowski did ask a clergyman's permission before referring to his fellow driver in such terms.

It turns out, Keselowski had an on-track chance to repay Busch for a hit that cost him the Nationwide win Friday night.  But Keselowski (who is currently on probation for a dustup with Edwards) settled for racing Busch hard as Busch was trying to lap him, rather than bumping him into the fence.  And Busch cruised to the win.


  1. I think Keselowski revealed who the real ass is. So he asked a clergyman if it was OK to say "ass", that is really funny. Did he also ask his daddy to do something about Kyle after the Nationwide race? The people who attend races at Bristol are there to see wrecking and fighting and don't know how to react when they see actual racing, led by one of the best racers I've seen in my 40 years of folowing NASCAR.

  2. That was the quickest Bristol race I've can remember in the 16 years I've been going to races there. Good thing that last "debris" caution was thrown because Kyle would have lapped the field.