Did Bristol deliver or was it Burton Smiths failure?

Fans filled the stands at Bristol Saturday night. (Getty Images)


Fans filled the stands at Bristol Saturday night. (Getty Images)

Helmets were thrown, fingers were wagged, egos were bruised and fans roared.  Just as the opening monologue promised, there was a rumble at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night old school style.

After years of racing that disappointed fans and may have contributed to empty seats, most notably in the spring race, Speedway Motorsports CEO Bruton Smith ordered the upper groove of the .533 mile track ground down in order to expand the racing line and bring back the type of racing seen prior to a repaving in 2007. That new line, and the old school racing, made its debut Saturday night to the approval of fans, and most importantly, drivers.

“You know what I loved about the racing tonight, even though it was really tough to pass, is it just reminded me of old school Bristol,” third place finisher Jeff Gordon said. “I can remember, I believe it was ’91, ’92    I think it was ’92, before they put concrete down, being up on top of the spotter’s stand watching the Cup race, and just enjoying the heck out of it.  Because Darryl (Waltrip) and I think maybe Davey (Allison), Ernie Irvan, those guys are just running right up against the wall, diamond in the racetrack.  It was hard to pass.  You did slide jobs on guys when you got runs and that’s what we had tonight. “ MORE>>>