Final race at Bristol for Dale Earnhardt Jr – He recalls his first Bristol race and demands more short tracks
Dale Earnhardt Jr will be pulling double duty this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Friday night he’ll run the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. On Saturday, he’ll of course be running his final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, “I’m looking forward to the Bristol race. I love that track. I used to go there all the time, when I was a kid. The night race at Bristol, to me, was probably the best race to go to, as a kid.”
“I don’t know how people feel about it today. Maybe compared to the Daytona 500. When I was a kid, that was the best race weekend. This is a really small racetrack. So, we could run all over the place. We had free reign of wherever we wanted to go.”
“Climbin’ all over racecars. We were watching the races down in the grass. You know, in the corners, it was grass back then. We be, literally, like 20 feet from the apron. You could really see the guys inside the cars, drivin’, workin’ and see how the cars were handlin’. See ’em bumpin’ and carryin’ on.”
“I always loved going to that race. More than any other. Just a great facility.”
Dale Jr wants more NASCAR tracks like Bristol
Dale Jr want more Bristol’s, “I always say this. But, I don’t know why they haven’t built more like it?”
“They went on this run where they had all these mile and a half’s. Building all these new mile and a half’s. It seems like it would be a little cheaper to build this kind of a racetrack.”
“I surprises me there’s not more short tracks built. But, maybe there’s gunna be a run of short tracks here shortly.”
Dale Jr’s first race at Bristol
It was 1997, in the NASCAR Busch Series event. For the rabid Bristol fans, like myself. This was the race where Buckshot Jones tried to take out Randy Lajoie, under caution. A swing and a ‘mostly’ miss. It was a relation for a bump n’ run that went wrong.
Jones drove on the apron, came back on track and attempted to take out the car behind the pace car. Straight out of Days of Thunder. I was there, the crowd lost all their minds.
Dale Jr recalls that race, “I led the first 20 sumthin’ laps.” What happened? “I was trying to lap Chris Diamond in this purple car. He kinda squeezed me into the apron. And I hit the apron and him at the same time. It spun me out.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 22nd, 3 laps down. He states, “I was in over my head. That was too much, too fast.”
“Every time, even today, when you go to Bristol. It takes several laps for it to sorta slow down and make sense. Like when you go out there and you’re running, it’s happening so fast, that just can’t process it, what you’re seeing visually. It takes awhile for you to get into sync with the track and the car.”
On pulling double duty? Dale Jr, “I like driving the car. But, it takes a little bit away from one, to be able to do the other.”
Related: Bristol TV Schedule – August 2017