When racing at the Bristol Motor Speedway it would be a benefit to forget about having feelings, because they’re going to get hurt. [media-credit name=”Barry Albert ” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Saturday and Sunday afternoon there was a lot of frustration to go around. Before the green flag even flew for the Scotts EZ Seed 300 Nationwide Series race there was drama. Jennifer Jo Cobb walked away from her No. 79 car after what she said was being told by her team owner to to start and park.
He was trying to break a contract he had with her Cobb said.
“I have a commitment to my sponsors, my fans, and NASCAR that I won’t start and park,” Cobb said. “I’m very serious about my career and my performance, and I’ve worked hard to prove it to everyone. I had already bought tires for the race, so you can imagine that this was a blow to my principles and my finances to get this news.”
Team owner Rick Russell had a different version.
“I already had my entry in for Bristol and California, and we killed our car in Vegas in a wreck,” said Russell. “So only having one car, I got the thing rebuilt and we brought it up here with the intentions of staying out of trouble and running a few laps and going home with the car in one piece, so we could race next week in California.”
Russell said Cobb and crew chief Steve Kuykendall went behind his back to put together a pit crew for the race. He also said that after the car was parked some members were trying to take parts off. He then said he wanted a sheriff deputy to come and for NASCAR to stop them.
The incident has become a she-said/he-said incident. It spilled over to the social networking sites as comments from 2nd Chance Racing on their Twitter and Facebook page weren’t well received with fans. In turn, fans shot back with their support for Cobb and for their dislike of starting and parking.
A few hours later it was another female that was none to happy, Danica Patrick.
Making her first career start at the Tennessee bullring, Patrick was 53 laps away from leaving with a top 20 finish. Bristol was her final NASCAR race for a few months as she returns to INDYCAR next weekend.
While racing another rookie, Ryan Truex, on the front stretch, the two made contact. Patrick went spinning and ended up head on into the wall, ending her day. As Truex drove by Patrick stood with her arms extended, as if asking what that was all about.
She said he was just racing too hard. On the Truex radio he took the blame but was told by his team that apparently Patrick has never done anything wrong in her life.
On Sunday afternoon it was a whole new ballgame.
Jamie McMurray was wondering if Clint Bowyer was missing an important team member. Kevin Harvick had unpleasant comments about Mark Martin. Jeff Gordon wanted Brad Keselowski to know how he felt about him running into the side of the No. 24.
It’s Bristol baby!
When the No. 4 of Kasey Kahne got loose coming off turn two he caused Harvick to get into the back of him as well as check up. Harvick was then hit by Martin. Harvick tried to save it but spun and was forced to pit for repairs to his rear bumper.
“That’s two times in four races,” said Harvick over the radio. “They need to check his old ass for vision.”
A few laps later Martin caused another caution by spinning Travis Kvapil.
During the caution for Harvick’s spin turn three has Juan Pablo Montoya, Trevor Bayne and others experience their own problems in. Bowyer never slowed down enough to avoid running into the back of a slowing Jamie McMurray.
“Who did that?” McMurray asked and then told of Bowyer. “Does he have a spotter?”
Manners go out the window racing at Bristol. It’s flat out, bumper to bumper, hard nosed racing at over 100 mph. Sometimes, things aren’t going to go a drivers way. It’s rare to leave the track with the race car in one piece or with only a few dents and dings. Unless that driver is lucky enough to be the winner.
None of the following drivers felt like winners after Sunday.
Robby Gordon told his team “this is stupid” after wrecking his No. 7 and having to head to the garage. And Kurt Busch made sure to use every expletive in the book when talking about his No. 22. Never satisfied with how is car was handling, Busch let loose on his radio nearly the whole race.
It was also reported that after the race was over and everyone had returned to the garage, Busch was still upset.
Joey Logano also had a few words for his team and the engine under the hood of his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota.
“This motor still f***ing sucks,” he said early in the race. Logano was able to battle back for a 23rd place finish but leaving Bristol, Joe Gibbs Racing still must be concerned with their engine department. They’ve experienced problems in every race thus far in the 2011 season.
Even normally mild-mannered Jimmie Johnson had a few exciting moments. While leading he tapped Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne whom he was trying to lap. During another run he was attempting to lap the 38 of Kvapil and again found himself having trouble.
“Must be taking lessons from Ryan Newman,” his spotter Earl Barban told him.
Johnson led the most laps and finished third. Next weekend the NSCS heads to his home track, Auto Club Speedway. The track out West is far from a short track like Bristol and drivers most likely won’t lose their cool. It won’t last long though as another short track, Martinsville looms in two weeks.
Bristol though, was the first short track of the year.
The Jeff Byrd 500 was one that some will say lived up to its expectations and provided plenty to talk about heading into a Monday morning. Something the late Byrd himself would have been proud of.