Friday, April 27, 2012

Drivers Upset With Lack Of Bristol Input

Kevin Harvick does not agree with Bruton Smith's recently announced decision to rework Bristol Motor Speedway, and apparently, he’s not alone.

Harvick: "Nobody called."
One after another today, a series of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers told reporters they were not consulted about the change, and are against the idea. The most outspoken of the group was Kevin Harvick, who criticized Smith for soliciting the opinion of NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip, and not  him.

Smith told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody yesterday that he contacted a number of drivers before deciding to remove the progressive banking from the track’s upper groove. Earlier in the day, however, he insisted, "I do not consult race drivers when I am building a speedway.''

Harvick claimed he was contacted by BMS management earlier this month to request a meeting, but that the track never followed through. "They were all gung ho on wanting to meet at Texas,'' he said, “(but) nobody showed up, nobody called, nobody wanted to talk anymore. I guess maybe they were embarrassed that they just wound up grinding it.
"Racing will be the same."
"Obviously, it didn't sound like Bruton wanted anybody's opinion that drives a car, so he went to Darrell,'' said Harvick."When's the last time he drove at Bristol?''
Harvick was not the only driver puzzled by Smith’s decision. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point leader Greg Biffle said track officials are “wasting their time,' by changing the track, wondering why he and his fellow drivers were not asked for their opinions. "We're the ones driving,” he said. “We're the ones that know what it needs.”

Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., said he doubts the racing will change at the Tennessee oval, adding that he enjoys the track’s current layout, “I believe the racing will be the same,” said Earnhardt. “Grinding will take away a little groove, but once we lay a little rubber down it'll be just like it was, which I think is fine."
Five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson said he was not consulted, either, continuing a recent pattern of track’s making changes without asking for driver feedback. "There's a lot of drivers in the garage -- including myself -- that have made it known we're available,'' said Johnson. "I wasn't asked on this one (and) I wasn't asked about Kansas.'' He said management at Phoenix International Raceway sought his input before their recent repave, but failed to integrate any of his suggestions into the final design.


  1. history would suggest that what is fun to drive is not all always fun to watch. Aside from any argument about expertise the opinion of the person being paid lots of money to be there should be less important than the person paying to be there

  2. Racing, whether it's NASCAR, IndyCar, F1 or your local Saturday night special, is just entertainment, that's all. Everybody enjoys a good wreck every once in a while, as long as no one gets hurt and it's not your driver. On the other hand, a wreck-fest that leads to caution after caution is no fun at all for either drivers OR fans. NASCAR needs to find a balance between wrecking and racing. Personally, I would err on the side of racing, agreeing with the drivers, those whose thoughts are expressed in the blog and, I'm sure, with most of the other drivers. That being said, the fact that Bruton Smith feels compelled to again alter the track is simply a knee-jerk reaction to poor attendance at recent races. The combination of a poor economy, high ticket prices and usurious room rates at local hotels play a larger part in low attendance than Mr. Smith chooses to accept. Leave the track alone and let's go racin' boys.

  3. When a driver protects a track and tells you it is a great place to race the fans should be very weary. This has has been nothing but miserable since they made the change and I can vision more people leaving the track. Just the way it is. After all these drivers are Temporary and the fans are forever so Bruton does not need to talk to a bunch of cry baby millionaires before he does something to one of his tracks!