|Kurt Busch after his first ever Cup Series win (on the old Bristol configuration.)|
Check this out! Looks like Bristol Motor Speedway is in for yet another reconfiguration.
Bristol Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith is considering about $1 million worth of changes to return his Tennessee track to the way it was before a 2007 reconfiguration. “We are going to take a very hard look at it this week,” Smith told The Associated Press on Monday. “We have everything in our computers that shows us what the track used to be and what it is now, and we started working on that last night. I’ll have an answer for you next week on if we’ll alter the track.” But Smith insisted it was the rain, not fan apathy over the current style of racing at Bristol, that contributed to Sunday’s poor crowd. “We certainly thought it was going to be better, but the rain got us,” Smith said. Bristol once was one of the toughest tickets in all of professional sports, but attendance has waned the past several years and its spring race has particularly suffered. The speedway says it seats 160,000, and although the grandstands appeared half empty Sunday, NASCAR’s listed attendance was 102,000. Smith said 8,120 sold tickets went unused. But he remained adamant the attendance decline has nothing to do with the new racing at Bristol. At the same time, though, Smith said he began talking to his Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials on Sunday evening about changes to the track. Smith said SMI will study fan comments this week. “I want to be sure that the fans like what they see,” he said. “If the fans like three abreast through the turns, we do nothing. If they don’t, then we’ll alter the track. The fans vote is the most important thing.” If changes are made, they’ll be done in time for NASCAR’s Aug. 25 return to Bristol.(more at the Associated Press / Bristol Herald Courier ans SHARE your input HERE)(3-20-2012)
UPDATE: Speedway Motorsports, Inc., CEO Bruton Smith said yesterday that he is moving ahead with plans to return Bristol Motor Speedway to its previous configuration. Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s The Late Shift with Buddy Baker and Jim Noble, Smith said feedback from fans has been overwhelmingly in favor of changing the legendary speedway’s layout. “I’d say it’s about 75% from the race fans that they’d like to see us put it back the way it was five years ago,” he said. Smith said he has already consulted with engineers about making the necessary changes. “It will absolutely still be concrete,” he said, “but we will (redo) the profiling. We have on paper exactly the way the track was before we came in and redid it. We’re going to have all the elevations, the ingress and egress as it was before we completely redid it. We will here again offer race fans (the track) the way it was. It’s not a major change that we did,” insisted Smith. “We took up all the old concrete that was breaking up and causing a lot of problems. We completely redid the speedway, and fans got the idea that it’s not the same. I guess it’s not the same, since they told us that, and the race fan is always right. When the race fans speak, you listen. And that’s what we’re doing now.” The SMI owner said the changes will be made before the Aug. 25 Sprint Cup Series night race. “You have a good contractor, your plans, your blueprints and a million dollars, and you just go ahead and do it. I’ve got engineers working on this as we speak. I have not taken this up with NASCAR yet, but that’s what we will do,” Smith said. “Once we’re ready, we’ll do it. There will be a press announcement of exactly what we’re doing. I want it to be exactly correct — the way these fans perceive it — and I want to see 165,000 fans scrambling for tickets the way they have in the past.”(Godfather Motorsports)(3-21-2012)
What a waste of money, putting in the progressive banking, only to return Bristol Motor Speedway only to return it to it’s original concrete state. They wouldn’t go back to the asphalt days…that would be crazy and not the right thing to do. I liked the second Bristol, concrete and 36 degrees of banking all the way up (none of this progressive banking stuff…which is better for passing sometimes if your car is right) but I like the “old concrete Bristol better. They shouldn’t have changed it in the first place only to change it back again. So expensive! Oh well, lesson learned I guess. It was better the way it was, and fans will appreciate this more. I know I will!