Best Bristol rivalry ever? Without a doubt, it's Dale Sr. vs. DW
Jeff Hammond says he's seen a whole lot at Bristol Motor Speedway over the years, but nothing tops the rivalry that unfolded between the late Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip, who once won seven races in a row at the short track.
Whenever Dale Earnhardt (left) tangled with Darrell Waltrip (right) at Bristol Motor Speedway, it was bound to be entertaining.
Every time I roll into Bristol Motor Speedway, I get a flood of memories. I was blessed to have won there so many times not only as crew member, but also as a crew chief.
I've seen my fair share of battles at that track and guess what? Sometimes they weren't even on the track.
Race fans ask me all the time over the years what I thought the biggest rivalry at that one track was. In my opinion, I still am going back to "old school" and say it was Darrell Waltrip vs. Dale Earnhardt at Bristol. Dale was always really good there and of course with his record-setting 12 wins there, Darrell was the King of Bristol.
Those two cats used to race each other as hard as I've ever seen two drivers race there. Sure they both were aggressive with each other. There was plenty of beating and banging going on, but at the same time they raced each other fairly.
That was one of the things that really frustrated Dale because he simply couldn't break the stranglehold Darrell had on Bristol. Remember, for three-and-a-half years no one won at Bristol other than Darrell when he put a string of seven wins in a row together.
I've seen other combinations fight just as hard too over the years. You had Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace. You had Earnhardt and Terry Labonte. Rusty and Darrell had many a battle between the two of them. I saw all these rivalries happen during my time on the pit box and still to this day Darrell vs. Dale was tops.
Now if you want to fast forward to present day to ask me that same question of the best Bristol rivalry, well, it has to be Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. They've had several run-ins there, including some off the track. They just seem to race each other harder than usual when it comes to Bristol.
Hands down to me, though, will always be Darrell vs. Dale at Bristol Motor Speedway. It will be hard to ever top that rivalry in my mind.
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