Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most famous NASCAR race tracks, located in North Bristol County, Pennsylvania. With a capacity of around 80,000 people, it is the third-largest sports arena in the country. In addition, the track is also one of the most important race tracks in the world. It is known for being the site of one of the most iconic sporting moments in history: The Great American Race, which pitted all-time greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt against one another in an epic battle for the championship. This was the scene that ESPN called “the best sporting event in North America.”
The Great American Race was held in May 1973, and it remains the only major sporting event that is still held annually at the track. In honor of this epic showdown, here is a short guide on how to run fast at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Pick The Right Car
It is important to note that the track limits the engines that you can use for each car. Since the majority of motors at this track are V8s, it is crucial to pick a car with a similar engine configuration if you want to be able to perform well. For example, if you run an inline-4, you will struggle to keep up with the other cars because of the inherent torque of the larger engines. In addition, the clutch on these cars can become incredibly sticky, especially if the temperatures are high which decreases the life of the engine. This brings us to our next point.
Know Your Enemy
The clutch on a V8 is a lot stickier than the one on a small engine, which is why you should know which type of car you are up against before the start of the race. This way, you will know what kind of strategy to use against the other drivers. For example, if you are racing against a small car, you can play it safe and not risk losing any points by rushing through the gears. In addition, some of the other drivers might try to trick you by pulling away before the end of the race, which is why you should always be one step ahead of them.
The Importance Of Practice
Since this is an official NASCAR race, it means that there are no exceptions to the rules. Each driver is required to do at least 15 laps before the race so that the engineers can evaluate their performance and make any necessary adjustments. In addition to this, the drivers are also required to do a 5-minute walk around the track before the start of the race. During these practice sessions, you can work on your engine tuning and get the feel of the track. This not only helps you improve your racing skills, but it also allows you to get to know the track better, which in turn makes it easier to run fast during the actual race.
What To Watch Out For
Even though this article is about how to run fast at Bristol Motor Speedway, it is crucial to keep in mind the following points:
- The track temperature can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summertime, which makes the tires very sticky and increases traction. As a result, the cars often skid a lot, especially if you are driving a manual transmission. In addition, the hot temperatures make the air more difficult to breathe, which can be quite uncomfortable. If you are used to driving in cooler climates, then this might be a challenge. However, as a general rule, the hotter the track, the faster you can go.
- There are a lot of twists and turns on the track, which means that you will be using your brakes a lot. This is especially true if you are driving a manual transmission, as the clutch on these cars sucks up a lot of the available torque, which in turn makes it easier to brake. However, this also makes it harder to hit the gas, as you have to ease off the brakes before getting back to optimal speeds.
- The runoff area at the end of the track is very bumpy and undulating, which makes it very easy to lose control of your car there. In addition, this area is largely ignored by NASCAR officials, as they only focus on the racing surface itself. As a result, if you do lose control of your vehicle in this area, then there is little chance of survival, as there are no guard rails or other safety barriers there. This type of accident is known as a “big crash,” and it is very common at Bristol Motor Speedway. In fact, according to the police report, there were 27 accidents in the run-off area between 2012 and 2016. These accidents were mostly caused by drivers hitting one another while racing.
A Bit More About Richard Petty
As we mentioned earlier, Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most important race tracks in the world. In addition, it is also the home track of legendary driver Richard Petty. Born in 1931, he started racing when he was 11 years old and quickly progressed to the top levels of competition. He is often regarded as one of the all-time greats, and he currently holds 48 record-breaking titles, including 19 NASCAR cup championships. In addition to this, he also holds the distinction of being the last living pioneer of NASCAR. However, even though he is a living legend, he is not exempt from making mistakes. For example, he often drives at or near the maximum speed limit, which can result in him being penalized during NASCAR inspections.
The following is an example of his dangerous driving:
In the summer of 2002, Richard Petty was driving to victory lane at the Darlington Raceway when a cop pulled him over and gave him a sobriety test. As a result of this, he was disqualified from the race and had his license suspended for two months. He was also issued a hefty fine and ordered to pay for the damage he caused during his reckless driving. According to reports, during this particular inspection, Petty reached 189 mph, which is 13 mph over the speed limit. In addition, his passengers said that he was going even faster than this during the chase scene in Open Season. Since this was such a dangerous stunt and he broke the law, it is no wonder that he still makes mistakes even at his advanced age.
Dale Earnhardt’s Impact
If you are a true car enthusiast, then you know that Dale Earnhardt is the other great American race car legend, who passed away in 2001. He is often regarded as the greatest of all time, and many consider him to be the father of modern-day NASCAR. In 1969, he became the first individual to win the NASCAR Grand National Championship, which is the organization’s premier series. He went on to win an incredible total of nine championships over the course of his driving career, which makes him one of the most decorated drivers of all time. In addition to this, he holds the record for the most career wins (768) and is second all-time in laps led (16,716).
Since Dale Earnhardt was such a significant figure in NASCAR, it is only natural that his fans would like to express their love and affection through an annual pilgrimage to his final resting place, The Dale Earnhardt Museum and Research Center in Mooresville, North Carolina.
If you ever come across the highway between Tennessee and North Carolina, then you will see countless cars driving on what is called “The Dale Earnhardt Memorial Highway.” This is a 60-mile stretch of road that is named after this great driver, and it runs through the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Each year, thousands of Dale Earnhardt’s fans leave their cars along this route and make a pilgrimage to pay homage to their hero in this gorgeous little museum. It is certainly one of the most photographed spots on the highway. This is also the place where you can book a tour with one of the drivers from the Hall of Fame. In addition to this, in 2011, a bronze statue of Dale Earnhardt was unveiled at the entrance to the museum, and it continues to be one of the most popular points of interest on the highway. Since then, many more statues have been erected in his honor across the region, including one at the Charlotte airport.
Even though he is not physically able to race anymore, Dale Earnhardt still makes occasional appearances at NASCAR events, usually at the invitation of friends and fans. He also does a lot of public speaking and has become an accomplished author, with four books to his name. Interestingly, despite all of this, he still gets recognized by people as he drives down the road. It is truly a testament to his legendary status in the community.