I know I have said this before- but I love the excitement of racing at Bristol. It and Martinsville are both my favorite tracks to watch on TV (I have not yet made it to either track – but I will one day). But racing at Bristol at night- man there is just something about the lights that adds to the excitement and makes the tension and the vibe at the track almost palpable even through the medium of television. This Bristol race was no different with plenty of dust-ups, disappointed drivers and of course that racing and that FINISH! Go ahead and admit it- a tiny little part of you wanted Kasey Kahne to bump-and-run Matt Kenseth…just a little bit right? I certainly did. I really don’t think anyone would blame him after the issue Kasey has had with the JGR drivers- Matt in particular. My question to you is this: If Kasey had bumped Kenseth out of the way to take the checkers would that have changed your opinion of Kasey for the better, for the worse, or not at all? Feel free to leave your answer in the comments- I am just curious what your thoughts on this are.
So onto Team 14! Mark Martin had qualified the 14 car 11th, so I was pretty excited about that and figured it might mean we would have a pretty good race. Obviously I was wrong. I will get to that in a second- but first I want to talk about some general observations. As us Tony Stewart fans are painfully aware- Bristol was the third race without our beloved driver- as well as the 3rd different driver to drive the #14. I have never really listened to scanner chatter from other drivers before this so it has been interesting to me in that regard. Bob the Spotter has told each new driver to let him know if he needs to adjust the information he is giving them, but other than that both he and crew chief Steve Addington seem to be constant and pretty much the same as they have always been. However each of the drivers have been just a little bit different. Of all the drivers, Tony included, Mark Martin seems to talk the most. Some of it’s narrative but most of is him trying to relay just exactly what the car is doing where on the track. Once he questioned a pit strategy call- kind of. It’s just really interesting to me to hear how the different drivers communicate differently I guess. Probably the linguistics geek in me coming out. Tony gives feed back as well don’t get me wrong- he’s probably the second most vocal of the drivers we have heard- and we also hear Tony get riled sometimes- which I like for some odd reason (Okay it’s not odd- to me it is his expression of passion of what is going on in the race for him). I didn’t hear Mark get riled at all really.
When the green flag dropped at Bristol so did our beloved Bass Pro Chevy through the field. It was painfully obvious fairly quickly between that and what I was hearing on the scanner that the team had somehow missed the car set up. Mark didn’t like what the car was doing- he felt it was on top of the track and bumping the splitter terribly. I wonder how much of it is just the difference between how different drivers want their car to feel and how much of it was that the car was just not right. I mean I don’t know these things- are sets up vastly different depending on the driver? I know some drivers like their cars to be on the loose side and some would rather they be on the tighter side.
Regardless of my weird musings about car setups, the team continued to work on making some fairly signifigant adjustments to the 14 car. Mark Martin even stated on the radio late in the race that it was starting to feel better for them at the end. Unfortunately it was too late- between the fast pace of short tracks, the mishandling of the car, and a fairly significant pit miscue that caused the team to go laps down it was too late for the team to recover completely. The 14 car came in 20th.
Race winner was Matt Kenseth and due to a bad day for Jimmie Johnson who sustained pretty major damage in an on track incident (let’s just say that his car looked kind of like an open wheel modified when it eventually returned to the track) coupled with an engine failure last week, Jimmie Johnson’s large point lead has pretty much diminished. While he retains the points championship position right now- his cushion is only 15 points.
Notes About Bristol Night Race:
1. The driver introductions are always the best part of the Bristol Night Race- but for those of us on TV we don’t get to see them. Now you can courtesy of this YouTube video via Jeff Gluck. My favorite? Well of course Mark Martin’s tribute to Tony and his fans with the Smoke Will Rise tribute but I have to admit the JJ Yeley one was pretty damn cute too.
2. I just realized that I almost always refer to Bob Jeffrey as SpotterBob or Bob the Spotter. Why do I do that? It’s not like I say CrewChiefSteve or DriverTony, and it’s not like I often am talking about other Bob’s and am using it to clarify of which Bob I am referring too. It’s weird and now that I notice I do it I can’t stop doing it and I can’t stop noticing that I am doing it. It’s not like they call me Blogger/Fan Amy (if they did though- the slash would definitely not be silent) or Helpdesk Amy at work. So I officially apology to Bob for calling him that…but I just can NOT stop.
3. I only listened to
Tony’s Team 14′s channel on my NASCAR Mobile 13 ap so I am not sure how much Tony was on the other Stewart-Haas team channels but I have to say it was SO good to just hear him come on in a fairly jovial manner to wish the team luck and let them know he was watching. It started with Mark Martin telling Spotter Bob (did it again!) to treat him like a rookie- especially on pit road because he’s “been known to get his head in his ass”. Spotter Bob chuckled and said something to the effect of “Hey I do that too- we’re both old.” At which point Tony popped in on the scanner and said “Hey old people- good luck tonight” and then something about he’ll be watching.
4. Also- knowing the boss was listening/watching from home? Would make me nervous and want to do my best. Of course luckily if my boss is home he doesn’t really have a way to watch/listen to my every move. Thank goodness for that on so many levels.
4. I would still like to feature your favorite pictures that you have taken of Tony Stewart, the 14 car, or anything team 14 related so feel free to send them to me at badgruv @ netzero . com.
5. Could you imagine being the fan who tripped on pit road and dented Dale Jr’s fender? And then being mentioned on the national broadcast. Um embarrassing. This is why I try to be uber careful where I walk when on pit road or in the garage area. I don’t want to break something important!
6. Speaking of Dale Jr- I find the new Diet Dew commercial disturbingly creepy. I can’t quite put my finger on why- I think it might be the music- but it’s creepy. Please stop it. Now.
Next race is Atlanta!
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