But where was the crowd???
BY Grant Sorrell – SVA NASCAR Correspondent
(MAIN PHOTO GALLERY)
They were wrecks, tension, drama, side by side racing, lead changes, it was a great race and if a racing fan grumbled over the race, they just like to be a naysayer. Before I get into the action of the Bristol race, the empty seat question, is the elephant in the room. Larry McReynolds, sports anchor and former pit crew chief, said fans that gripe there is not enough small tracks where the excitement is, but then they are empty seats. Bristol seats around 160,000 people and an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 tickets were sold. It looks scarce in the stands but what college or pro-sport teams have 60,000 in the stands? In the biggest surge of NASCAR popularity in the 90’s, tracks built more seats which is a difference making empty seats but 60,000 is nothing to ashamed of. Why is there no talk when tracks like Daytona does not have one empty seat? Most sports do not have sell out crowds anymore but times change and that could be a whole new social-scientific study.
The next item to gain headlines was Kentucky native and NASCAR great, Darrell Waltrip is going to retire. He has been a staple in NASCAR with wins, track design, safety, announcing, catchphrase of “ Boogity Boogity Boogity, lets go racing!” Kentucky used to be represented in NASCAR more but currently besides Ole DW, his brother (a former NASCAR driver, team owner, and TV personality) Mikey Waltrip, and Ben Rhodes in the truck series, are only ones with NASCAR Kentucky notoriety. DW will be missed by seasoned fans as he is old school and charismatic that can not be reproduced.
Now for the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” race this past weekend, the Alsco 300 Xfinity race was first race before the Cup race. A hard fought white knuckle racing ended with auto salvage parts and the #20 Gibbs Toyota upcoming driver Christopher Bell gained the checkered flag, second was Chevy #2 Tyler Reddrick, #00 Ford driven by Cole Custer came in the third spot.
Chase Elliott captured the pole position for the Food City 500, hoping to be one ending a hot winning streak by Team Gibbs Toyota #18 Kyle Busch. Kevin Harvick, a possible contender to win, was sent to pit road stop at start of the race for a penalty from a pre-race inspection of his #4 Ford. First lap seen two fender benders at different parts of the track which had Kyle Busch’s #18 Skittles Toyota rear bumper scrambled wreckage from getting hit in the rear by another driver. Many tempers were rising. Racers battled for positions all afternoon and Penske #12 Ford Ryan Blaney led the most laps. In the end, Kyle Busch wins the Food City 500 at Bristol. A little tension arises from Kurt Busch, Kyle’s older brother, stated if he could have wrecked his brother to win, he would have while placing in second in the Monster # 1 Chevrolet. Penske’s Ford, Joey Logano #22 came in third, followed by Penske teammate #12 Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin’s #11 FedEx Gibbs Toyota, teammate to Kyle Busch. Kyle is the first 3 time winner of 2019.
Points standings after 8 races has Kyle Busch in 1st, Toyota teammate #11 Denny Hamlin is 2nd, and 3rd place is Joey Logano #22 Penske. Still a long season to go and off to the last short track for next few months, Richmond Speedway for some Saturday night action!!