Today the last trucks and crews will pull in from Texas, the Bulls of Texas will be unloaded and the first one is gonna need some love if she is to see track time again. Number 2, well… It’ll return to the chute for another go round. Then it is the gladiator’s turn to get loaded up.
ITS BRISTOL BABY!!!
Welcome to the world’s largest blender, the fastest half mile, Thunder Valley. Measuring in at a scant 0.533 mile with a progressive banking of 26 to 30 degrees, this can be one of the funnest tracks we visit all year. Last year saw a record speed of 14.6 seconds. Just think, you couldn’t even get 2 Bull Rides in! This is truly, “The Last Great Coliseum.” The challenge and fight is not lost on competitors either.
This week’s key to victory… The Chrome Horn. Austin has become more adapt at using it this year and has been encouraged to do so. Lord knows Slugger and Greg are going to make sure that bumper is shined up and reinforced. If she ain’t scuffed by the end, you didn’t race. Now, this isn’t the old 36 degree bottom dwellers track, this is a high groove, so if you get moved that wall is right there ready to take you in her arms.
Pit stops are a premium here, small boxes, tight quarters, split pit road and 15 second laps all add up to you going down 2 laps if you pit under green. If you get a penalty under caution and go to the back of the field, the leader is about 8 seconds behind you. Sorry, that’s all it took Lane Frost to ride a bull, you don’t want the leader riding your tail after 10 laps. Long story short, the driver better get it right coming in, the crew will be on point all night, they know what’s at stake.
Austin holds an average finish of 20th there in the trucks, an average 16th in Cup series, and boasts a nice 10th place average in Xfinity. This all adds up to a lifetime career average of 16th place, he’s got momentum on his side and is normally 8 places above his average this year. 16 – 8 = 8… So we can expect an 8th place finish….
But this is Bristol, it isn’t that easy. You can take 40 matchbox cars with numbers on them, put them in your blender on high (the noise is about the same) and take the lid off after 2 minutes. First car to fly out is about as good of a prediction for the winner as anyone can guess.
Honestly, it isn’t what it was when it was the straight 36 degree banking but man, I can only imagine it to be a lifetime experience. It is on my bucket list! So if you’re in the area, go listen to the loudest track in all of racing. You’ll thank me later fans.
See you from box!
“I took on more than I could handle, I bit off more than I could chew, I hit the wall.”
-The Wall by Willie Nelson-