There was a time, not too long ago, when Bristol Motor Speedway was considered the “holy grail” of short-track racing. The track’s elevation and its unique brand of banking left something to be desired for most NASCAR fans. However, since its inception in 1952, the speedway has hosted some of the sport’s most memorable events.
In 2019, the track is again hosting an event that was once considered prestigious: the NASCAR Cup Series race. Before the pandemic, the Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Cup Series race attracted some of the biggest names in NASCAR. The track’s elevation changes and heavy banking make for an extremely unique racing experience. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was postponed from April to October.
Who Won Last Night’s Race?
The race was won by Chase Elliott of the #21 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Elliott had led 43 laps and maintained a healthy lead over the rest of the field as he crossed the finish line. Ryan Blaney finished second and Jeffrey Earnhardt took third.
Elliott’s teammate Kurt Busch finished 42nd after sustaining damage to his #1 Chevrolet during the race. The top 24 finishers in the race were allowed to keep their vehicles as part of the coronavirus precautionary measures. The rest were required to hand over their cars to be scrapped.
Bristol Motor Speedway’s Historic Past
Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the oldest active racing venues in the United States. It was first held in an open-air stadium until a purpose-built grandstand was erected in 1952. Since its inception, the track has seen some of the biggest names in auto racing compete for glory.
Some of the greatest moments in the track’s history were courtesy of Richard Petty, who drove his #42 car to victory in both the 1966 and 1968 races. On the occasion of the 2018 race, Petty was celebrating his 74th birthday, and a fitting tribute was paid to the legendary driver with an exciting display on the track. In the same year, Donnie Allison led a record 64 laps and became the first American driver to win a Formula One race. Allison also recorded the first of what would become a record-breaking 11 Nationwide Series victories that same year. The last National Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was won by Ricky Rudd in 1990. Rudd’s final career victory came at the age of 41, the second-youngest driver to ever win at the track.
Future Of Short-Track Racing
The future of short-track racing looks incredibly bright, thanks in part to the cancellation of the Indianapolis 500. The short-track championship was scheduled to take place at Indianapolis this year, and it would have marked the first time the series visited Indiana since NASCAR was born. The Indy 500 was postponed several times due to the pandemic, and it is uncertain if or when it will take place.
The series will return to the Hoosier State in 2021, and it will be a welcome addition to the motorsport landscape. The return of the Indy 500 and the future of short-track racing are sure to make headlines in 2021.