I have to start with Steve Byrnes. I came late to NASCAR - 2008. When I first began watching the races and the various pre and post-race programs, Steve quickly became my favorite broadcaster. He was informative and funny and there was just something so likable about him that you couldn't help warming up to him immediately. As one to whom he was special as a person on a television screen, my deepest condolences to those to whom he was beloved as a family member and friend.
Bristol was a hard slog for everyone - for t.v. crews and team members whose day started early and ended late, for fans who stuck it out for hours in the cold and the wet and even those who kept up with what was going on via the television screen.
It looked like a hard slog for drivers too - stopping and starting and track changes and accidents and cautions. The heck with Darlington stripes, most of the cars this week had Bristol ended up broken and beat up, battered and bruised. The cast of characters in the front and the back and the middle of the track traded places throughout a marathon of a race that was meant to be a day race but ended up under the lights.
Bristol had a little bit of everything. There were four rain delays and 11 extra laps with a green/white/checker finish after nine hours of racing. Streaks of long duration came to an end - the end of consecutive top tens for Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr. and Joey Logano. Of course, on a more positive note, Matt Kenseth's winless streak of 51 races ended too. The Penske Fords wrecked practically at the drop of the green flag but some drivers who needed a good finish got one, most notably Tony Stewart and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Danica came home 9th for her second top ten in three races. Justin Allgaier got the best finish of his Sprint Cup career. Kyle Larson looked like a champ, running strong, leading 90 laps and holding off the field, until he was forced to pit. Jimmie Johnson limped home second after qualifying 28th, then having to start over from the back again after a crash. Denny Hamlin got out of the car due to neck spasms, allowing Eric Jones to step in for some Bristol experience.
All in all, I thought it was a great race and well worth the investment of time. Unlike its little brother in the Xfinity series in which Joey Logano led every single lap....yuck. Sorry, but I think that stinks.
So, NASCAR experienced the good, the sad and the ugly this week. And next week, it is Richmond, another short track of which there can't be too many to suit me.