I liked everything about what I saw Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. To me it had a lot of different layers to it. I think first and foremost was how it exciting it was to see the grandstands packed again at Bristol. I was even impressed with the crowd Friday night for the Nationwide Series race.
I think with where the race track is now combined with the tire package that Goodyear brought there, I really liked what I saw Saturday night. Yes it was hard to pass, but you could pass. It simply depended on how your car was driving and handling.
We saw the track go through some transitions, especially those last 200 laps. Penalties also played a role. Jimmie Johnson was busted twice for speeding on pit road, but it was early enough in the race that he was able to recover for a good finish. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for Kevin Harvick, who wasn’t able to recover from his penalty. Both guys had front-running cars though.
I really felt bad for Jamie McMurray after it was all said and done. It really would have been a great story if he would have been able to hold on and win that race. He’s one of those guys that have to win to be in this year’s Chase. He was doing everything right, but in hindsight the call by his crew chief to only change right side tires with 69 laps to go wasn’t the right thing to do.
Of course one of the big storylines was the dust-up between Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. I was very impressed that Kevin took full responsibility for wrecking Denny out of the race. Obviously I doubt it made Denny feel any better that Kevin took responsibility because as we saw, Denny heaved his HANS device at Kevin’s car when Kevin drove back around.
Now, I know NASCAR has that new rule in place from about two weeks ago about drivers not going after each other, but I sure hope NASCAR doesn’t penalize Denny for what he did. I thought he took things right up to the line but handled it in a way where he wasn’t going across the line. I mean c’mon, Denny did destroy his $1,200 or $1,300 HANS device.
At the end of the evening, one of the best cars there ended up winning the race and that was the No. 22 of Joey Logano. Saturday night I saw all the storylines we want to see during the course of a really good race.