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The Final Word – Bristol was so exciting, they made it a two day event

Back in 1927, the Bristol Sessions marked what some call the “Big Bang” moment of country music. I bet you thought the city on the Tennessee-Virginia border was all about racing. Well, for a time over the past couple of days, it was. Here and there, at least.

While Bristol’s bang from the past involved Jimmy Rodgers and the Carter Family, the one that took place Sunday finished the hopes of Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. within four laps. It ended the 99 lap dominance of Ryan Blaney before the end of the opening segment when the leader got taken out. You could say the rain then took care of the rest before the mid-way mark. That brought us to Monday.

Monday in Bristol was crap. It was cold and it was raining. They might as well have tried to run the sucker in Edmonton. At least we northerners are used to such nonsense. Hell, by the time we hit afternoon it was coming down heavy like Christmas morning up here. Oh, we think such weather in mid-April sucks, too.

Down south, when they finally resumed, raindrops were all over the windshields and the camera lenses. Who says NASCAR does not run in the wet? When they finally hit the end of the session, the midpoint of the race, Brad Keselowski was again the leader. Kyle Busch was making noise, and even Jimmie Johnson appeared to be something of a challenger.

Why not Kyle Larson? The gent got himself into the mix and look very sporty as he came up to run point. However, the point is to not go where someone has gone before, like on the inside. Ryan Newman was inside, Larson did not notice that fact until he got spun. The caution allowed him to stay third, with Keselowski and Busch on the lead row of the re-start, and Johnson beside Larson with 175 laps to run.

They remained our main quartet, with others coming in for a quick guest spot before fading back. Darrell Wallace Jr. popped up to lead his first ever laps in Cup before surrendering top spot to Busch. With about 70 to go, Keselowski started to fade, while the likes of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Newman, Joey Logano, and Austin Dillon poked their noses out to say howdy. With about 30 to go, Keselowski had drifted down a lap when he tagged the fence after his left front went down.

However, it came down to the remaining trio of our former quartet to bring this one home. With a little bump and run with five to go, Busch took his second straight victory, the 45th of his career. Larson and Johnson also made the podium and enjoyed 40-plus point days. Stenhouse and Alex Bowman rounded out our Top Five. Neither Wallace or Dillon made the Top Ten in the end.

Next Saturday night, another short track event as they move slightly north to Richmond. As Rodgers might say, time for a little “Moonlight and Skies”…weather permitting.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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