Kurt Busch, Gordon, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond Talk Bristol Rainout and New Track Compound
Heavy, persistent rain postponed the start of Sunday’s MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race at Bristol Motor Speedway to Monday at 1:00 PM ET, live on FOX. Below are select quotes from former champion Kurt Busch and FOX NASCAR analysts Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond (from FOX NASCAR’s pre-race coverage at Bristol, which aired Sunday on NASCAR RACEDAY on FS1 and FOX NASCAR SUNDAY on FOX), as well as an updated programming schedule:
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
• Date/Time: Monday, April 24 (1:00 PM ET)
• Network: FOX
• Announcers: Mike Joy, Hall of Famer and three-time champion Darrell Waltrip, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds
• Pit reporters: Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum
• NASCAR RACE HUB airs at 6:00 PM ET live on FS1 on Monday
FOX NASCAR QUOTES
FOX SPORTS: We have video of you going out on the track with a temperature gauge yesterday. What were you doing and how have you seen the bottom groove change since the track worked on it with the VHT resin compound?
“It was a barometer to check the temperature of where the VHT was laid down and where our tires were running and where we weren’t running. It’s an incredible difference between where we were with the tires and the VHT versus where we weren’t running on the track. It’s a drag-racing trick I learned. When you do a burnout, it activates the VHT so that it makes it hot. So, when it’s hot and sticky, it’s like glue for your tires. If you’re not in it, literally four inches from where that black was to the white area, was a huge difference in temperature.”
–Kurt Busch on FS1’s NASCAR RACEDAY
FOX SPORTS: When we finally race on Monday, what will the track be like?
“It’s going to be a little bit unpredictable. We got a little bit of an indication Saturday morning during practice when the track was pretty green. Drivers went out and ran the bottom but some of them tried to work on the middle groove. It came in a lot quicker than a lot of people anticipated, so I look for Monday’s race to be a lot like that. Drivers will have to be on their toes a little bit when they start the race. I like what Kurt was doing – he was anticipating how the track was holding heat and how the grip level might be. That’s going to give him a lot of good insight for his crew chief.”
–Jeff Hammond, FOX NASCAR analyst, on FS1’s NASCAR RACEDAY
FOX SPORTS: How will the VHT resin affect the race on Monday?
“It definitely has changed things a lot. When they concreted it the last time, it really created an outside groove and more two-and-three-wide racing. The fans and everybody would agree that what made Bristol so exciting was the bumping and banging, sparks flying, tempers flaring, and having that lane that has so much grip on the bottom has created a lot more of that bottom lane.”
–Jeff Gordon, FOX NASCAR analyst
FOX SPORTS: With the VHT compound down, is the track now similar to the “old Bristol” as far as conditions are concerned?
“Yeah, I was excited about it last summer when they put down half of a lane. Now it’s a full lane. Yesterday after practice, I wanted to check it out. This VHT was derived from the drag-racing world of trying to launch out of the box. It’s heat-activated, so with cars continuing to run, I wanted to see what the temperature was in the VHT versus the other area of the track. It was considerably different. I was trying to gain more knowledge and understand a bit more of what I need to do to find that natural edge. It definitely felt more like the old Bristol yesterday with the VHT … you’re going to see guys moving around. I think it’s the right combo … I’m excited. With the way the race went down yesterday, we saw the old bump-and-run for a victory.”
–Kurt Busch on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY
FOX SPORTS: What has caught your attention in the first seven races of 2017?
“I love what I’ve seen this year. The stages certainly have been interesting to watch and have added a whole new element. What I like are the new faces. Kyle Larson’s dominance. We saw Ryan Blaney dominate for the first half last week. Chase Elliott has really come on at the end of last year and led a bunch of laps this year. I love seeing young, new faces and the excitement that comes with that.”
–Jeff Gordon, FOX NASCAR analyst
“I like the parity. We’ve had seven races and six different organizations won those races. Brad Keselowski is the only driver with two wins. I like the parity among the organizations and manufacturers.”
–Darrell Waltrip, FOX NASCAR analyst