At Bristol, the groove is sure to move

Carl Edwards meets with the media Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway (Getty Images)
Carl Edwards meets with the media Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway (Getty Images)
Carl Edwards meets with the media Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway (Getty Images)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – In Friday’s opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Bristol, there was no mistaking the fastest way around the .533-mile oval. Consistently, drivers ran their top speeds on the bottom of the track.

That runs contrary to the past few races at Bristol. Ever since the grinding of the top lane, the preferred line has been the outside.

Never fear, says driver Carl Edwards. The groove will move, either before or during Sunday’s Food City 500.

“I’m not exactly sure why,” Edwards said on Friday afternoon when asked why the bottom lane was best in practice. “There might be some slight differences with the Goodyear tires, but probably the best reason or most likely reason for that is that we haven’t put a lot of rubber down on the track yet, and it just seems like this place moves around a lot.

“We talked about it in practice. I don’t think that the race will be run on the bottom like that. I think it will really widen out, but I don’t know when it will happen. I don’t know if it will happen today or all the way where we might have to wait until Sunday for it.”

Edwards’ JGR teammate Denny Hamlin led that first practice. It was Edwards however who stole the show later in the day winning his second consecutive pole for Sunday. Hamlin secured fourth.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.