New Surface At Bristol Motor Speedway Passes First Test BRISTOL, TENN. (July 23, 2007) -- The new concrete surface at Bristol Motor Speedway received positive reviews from NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers during a test session on Monday.
New Surface At Bristol Motor Speedway Passes First Test
BRISTOL, TENN. (July 23, 2007) -- The new concrete surface at Bristol Motor Speedway received positive reviews from NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers during a test session on Monday. Thirty teams were at Bristol turning the first laps around the 0.533-mile oval track since it was resurfaced following the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on March 25.
Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) was the first truck on the track when the test session started and came away impressed.
"This is by far the best revamping of a track ever," Bodine said. "No doubt about it. The people here knew what they wanted with the re-do and they went out and did it. This is the way it should be done."
The resurfacing was the first since 1992, when the asphalt track was replaced by an all-concrete surface. Although no major changes were made to the track, variable banking was added to the turns to help smooth the transition to the straightaways. The track is also three feet wider now, which leads some drivers to believe a third -- or "high" -- groove will come into play during the race.
"I think if we're out there racing and we get bottle-necked up, we'll find a new groove," said Rick Crawford (No. 14 Power Stroke Diesel by International Ford). "You won't have to force anybody to go to the high side -- if they need to pass, they'll be there."
Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet) agreed with Crawford after watching some drivers test the high line Monday morning.
"Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday were the first ones out there and all three of them went to the top to see if they could run up there," Gaughan said. "It was definitely interesting to see guys [drive] two grooves off the bottom."
The second, and perhaps third, grooves will develop as more laps are run on the track. The rubber from the tires will expand the grooves, resulting in more side by side racing.
"It definitely gives you a better opportunity than ever to pass," said Johnny Benson, driver of the No. 23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota. "We're all so used to running the bottom groove it's awful hard to make yourself go up there. But that outside groove is going to be good once they get rubber on the track.
"It's definitely smoother and they've done a tremendous job. The transitions are better both going into the corners and coming out of the corners. It's just going to take a little time to get some rubber on it to get it seasoned. The place is going to be pretty awesome once that happens."
The resurfacing job has even converted drivers who were against the project, like points leader Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota).
"When we were told they were going to redo this place, we were very, very concerned but it's an A-plus," Skinner said. "It really isn't any different. It's Bristol."
Test, Take Two ... Teams in the NASCAR Busch Series will test at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday from 11 a.m. -- 7 p.m. Thirty-four teams are expected to participate in the test.
Lap Leaders ... Monday's test session was interrupted for approximately 20 minutes by some brief rain showers in the mid-afternoon. As of that point, Mike Skinner had the quickest lap.
What: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing
Where: Bristol Motor Speedway
Track: Layout: 0.533-mile oval
When: Monday, July 23
Times: 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Who: 30 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams including drivers Willie Allen, AJ Allmendinger, Johnny Benson, Blake Bjorklund, Mike Bliss, Todd Bodine, Kyle Busch, Terry Cook, Matt Crafton, Rick Crawford, Erik Darnell, Cale Gale, Brendan Gaughan, David Green, Ron Hornaday, Chris Jones, Kraig Kinser, Travis Kvapil, Ryan Matthews, Brandon Miller, Ted Musgrave, Danny O'Quinn, Timothy Peters, Bradley Riethmeyer, Ken Schrader, Dennis Setzer, Brian Silas, Mike Skinner, Jack Sprague, David Starr.