Greg Biffle’s early form indicated that the
sole member of Roush Fenway’s Big Three
to miss the Chase last season has righted
the ship. He led the points through five
races with consistency on all types of tracks.
RACER’s Tom Jensen warned
in his feature on him last
month that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s
optimistic preseason noises
should be taken with a pinch of
salt, but so far the walk has
matched the talk. The 88 has
regularly been the leading car
at Hendrick Motorsports, with
strong runs at Daytona, Las
Vegas, Fontana and Martinsville
giving Earnhardt Nation plenty
of reasons to crack open
another six-pack on race days.
Bristol’s NASCAR races have been lagging behind
the likes of SMI sister track Las Vegas (INSET) in
attendance, but Bruton Smith has a plan to fix that.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Brian Vickers’ drive to return
to NASCAR front ranks got a
boost when his Michael Waltrip
Racing squad extended his run
of races in its No. 55 Toyota to
include the road courses at
Sonoma and Watkins Glen.
“Eight is better than six and
that’s the way I’m looking at it
right now,” said Vickers. “And
six is better than none.”
Rick Dole/GM Racing
Nigel Kinrade/LAT Nigel Kinrade/LAT
Bristol Motor Speedway’s bullring isn’t wowing like it
used to. But is it the track, the economy or something else?
Cadillac’s Johnny O’Connell
(ABOVE) was handed victory
in St. Petersburg’s Pirelli
World Challenge opener
when Lawson Aschenbach’s
TruSpeed Porsche was flagged
for passing under yellow.
“I totally understand what
the series had to do. We just
have to move on,” said
Aschenbach – who did just
that by winning cleanly in the
second half of the doubleheader.
During the go-go 1990s and 2000s,
when it seemed all NASCAR had to do
was open the gates and count the money,
sellouts at Bristol Motor Speedway were a
safe bet. But in recent years, even Bruton
Smith’s short-track showpiece has been a
tougher sell. Although the track’s official
estimate claimed 102,000 fans were on
hand for April’s Food City 500, media
mavens reckoned that about half of the
track’s 160,000 seats were vacant.
Various reasons have been touted for
Bristol’s flagging attendance, from
$4-per-gallon gas to price-gouging at
nearby hotels – although the latter never
proved a deterrent in the past. Smith,
president of the Speedway Motorsports
group that owns Bristol, pointed at the
track itself as the cause of the malaise.