When things don’t go bump in the night at Bristol
Overtime reboot. Competitors initially and second. And directions to “find … a … way.’’
Bristol Motor Speedway’s inaugural Cup dirt race seemed poised for a finish that could take this event — “a crazy, amazing event,” Joey Logano would call it — to another level of must-see TELEVISION. Something that would surpass what the inaugural Charlotte Roval race ended up being in 2018 after a last lap that saw the leaders crash, the motorist running 3rd win and a battered cars and truck downing to the surface to advance in the playoffs.
“If you look at the history of events in the Cup Series, it seems like that (a memorable) finish is a really, really big key ingredient to a great race,” Christopher Bell stated recently.
Monday’s surface failed.
As Joey Logano commemorated the success, Denny Hamlin tweeted “I wanna re-do.”
Hamlin will need to wait till next spring to get the opportunity in this occasion once again.
However the surface mirrored this race, which included guideline modifications throughout the weekend and race and little head scratching that can accompany any newbie occasion — specifically a kind of race not tried by the Cup Series in over half a century.
Next spring’s race still will be unique — and likely a larger offer with the expectation that there will be thousands more viewers rather of a socially-distanced crowd — however one might just envision the promo for it had Monday’s surface been more physical.
It’s brief track racing as Hamlin stated in 2019, buffooning Logano after their conflict at Martinsville in the playoffs that year. Contact is anticipated at the end.
That’s what Logano figured.
“I was fully prepared to get the bumper,” stated Logano, who has actually utilized the bumper to win races and irritate opponents. “I figured that was going to come at some point. You have a green-white-checkered at Bristol, I don’t care if it’s dirt, concrete, you name it, there’s probably going to be contact.”
That appeared most likely with NASCAR mandating single-file restarts with about 85 laps left since double-file restarts developed excessive dust and insufficient exposure for chauffeurs.
Hamlin, however, took a various method.
“I had an opportunity to choose whether I was going to make a move on the high side or the low side,” he stated. “I chose high, and the track was just too slick up there at the time. Certainly he didn’t get a very good restart. I was on him entering Turn 1.”
Contact is not unusual at Bristol. Logano and Hamlin have actually had altercations prior to. And Hamlin’s team chief, Chris Gabehart, depending upon one’s analysis, appeared to play the function of a jockey splitting a whip to his racehorse when he informed Hamlin prior to the last reboot: “You have the most aggressive guy in the business in this situation leading the race. The most aggressive one. Find … a … way.”
Hamlin took the very best course he believed. It cost him an area, and he completed third.
I asked Hamlin why he simply didn’t go through Logano on the reboot.
“Because I think me and (Logano) race differently,” Hamlin stated. “I don’t have that mentality.”
Later On, Hamlin was asked if it was anymore discouraging to lose to Logano, specifically because Hamlin had actually grumbled earlier of Logano cutting him off. The loss appeared to stick around more as he addressed this concern.
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, he’s doing what he has to do to protect the lead,” Hamlin stated. “I’m trying to get it from him.
“I just wasn’t aggressive enough. I should have shoved him out. When I had position on the bottom, I should have just moved up and got him in the dust, and got rid of him. I just wanted to pass him clean. I didn’t, so I didn’t win.”
On a dirt track, often tidy works and other times one needs to get unclean.
There’s an ability in bumping a chauffeur out of the method rather than damaging them. Possibly if Hamlin makes the relocation, it backfires and cost him more than a third-place surface. Or perhaps it works, however then he understands Logano will be coming for him.
However, who is not to state Logano won’t be aggressive if the functions were reversed?
“Aggressive sometimes works for me,” stated Logano, who has actually won at a minimum of one Cup race each of the last ten years.
He later on kept in mind that he doesn’t believe he’s anymore aggressive than other chauffeurs.
“I feel like everybody is aggressive right now,” Logano stated after his 27th profession Cup success. “Honestly, when I look at what everybody is doing on the racetrack, maybe I was the first to it, so that reputation stuck with me.
“But I can promise you, I watch every one of these races back, and I’m not the only one being aggressive. You look at the 550 rules package, everyone is aggressive. Look at the restarts, it’s insane. I promise you I am not the most aggressive guy on the racetrack any more. There’s times I look at it and say Maybe I need to be more aggressive.’ The game has changed a lot.”
Monday, there was no bump in the night at Bristol, leaving one motorist to rejoice and another to show.
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Long: When things don’t go bump in the night at Bristol initially appeared on NBCSports.com
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.