NASCAR

Buschwhackers brought back to pack at Nashville

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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While the Nextel Cup organizations that field Busch teams have more resources, Nashville Superspeedway is one of those tracks where the Cup guys don't have as much of an upper hand because they don't race there.

It's not like Bristol, Texas, Atlanta or Las Vegas. It's one of those places that levels the playing field. It's a very tricky track. Nashville reminds me a little bit of Dover Speedway, and just because they're both concrete. A driver can never relax at there. It's a very hit-your-mark, line-sensitive racetrack. That's one reason we see several cars get in trouble in practice, and we'll even see several get in trouble in qualifying. But with only 43 cars entered, your driver doesn't have to bust his tail qualifying if he's one of the go-or-go-homers because everybody will be in the race. When we did the race the last six years, we always kept our fingers crossed that the weather was going to be nice so we could get complete the event on Saturday. We certainly don't want to race on one of the more important holidays of the year. For a couple of years, we flirted with bad weather, but we got it in each year and spent Easter with our families.

Next-to-last off-week

It's a rare off-week for the Nextel Cup teams. Just imagine having only one more off-weekend between now and Thanksgiving. It would probably be a little bit scary and overwhelming, especially if you have a family. That's what these Cup guys are faced with right now. Hopefully, things went well for everyone at Richmond, and they didn't tear up anything at the test. These organizations will probably plan on giving these guys a long weekend. Hopefully, at least a three-day weekend and maybe even a four-day weekend when they get back from the test on Wednesday evening. These team members can spend time with their families and recharge before heading to Texas. Our drivers are our stars. They're the people that everyone goes to watch and rightly so. They have a phenomenal talent, but the real meat and potatoes of these race teams are the guys that go through what they go through back at the shop and in the garages at the track, week in and week out. It's their chosen occupation, and I rarely ever hear anybody complaining about it. But it's not a job, and it's not really even a career. It's pretty much your life.

Augusta's awesome

I left Martinsville last Sunday night and drove down to Augusta, Ga., where I was the guest of a construction company on Monday at Augusta National. I had the opportunity to watch the first round of practice for the Masters. It was an overwhelming experience. You see it on television, read about it and see pictures of it. You understand the tournament's prestige, but you can't even fathom what's happening until you go there.

Speed Mail Larry McReynolds

Practice is a great time to watch those guys. They're a little bit laid back, and they hit a tremendous number of shots. What Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh are able to do with a golf ball is unbelievable.

Family racing

Without a Cup or Busch race this weekend, I'll get to spend time with my family and watch my son Brandon race his Allison Legacy car. We're going up to Hickory, N.C. on Friday to practice and then race on Saturday. It's the second race of the season, and hopefully we'll step it up even though we were happy with an eighth-place finish at Orange County two weeks ago. Last week, Brandon and his team tested at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway, which is where Brandon races next week. It's a beautiful new racetrack right off of I-95 in South Carolina that Ron Barfield and his business partner have built. Ron is a former Bill Elliott protege. He did a lot of testing for Elliott when Bill owned his own team.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: Bill Elliott

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