University of Tennessee women’s basketball head coach emeritus Pat Summitt greets NASCAR driver Danica Patrick at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012.


Before I get to talking about the race experience Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, I want to start this article by giving a huge THANK YOU to a gentleman named Scott Townsend who works for Bristol Motor Speedway. I do not know Scott personally, but I guess I happened to be in the right place at the right time for once in my life Saturday afternoon near the entrance to my seats at the speedway. Mr. Townsend approached my son and I and gave us two tickets to attend Jeff Gordon’s question and answer session that occurred prior to the race. We also received vouchers for free hats at the event. Again, a big thank you goes out to Scott because he made a nine year old’s day by getting the chance to sit and see his favorite driver answer some questions and to be that close to Jeff Gordon.

I have to say from being in attendance at Saturday night’s race at Bristol that they made the right decision to grind down the high groove. Now, much of the racing occurred at the top groove which was a head scratcher for being in attendance. I am not sure what they said on TV, but I did hear Jeff Gordon on the scanner make a funny comment about the grinding and how everybody was now running up there. Having not seen the broadcast of the race, I can in person it was an incredible race to be at. The stands seemed to be about 90% full and there was action all over the track.

One thing in particular I took notice of in the race for a period of time was Danica Patrick. I was interested in seeing how she would run the race. I have to say from watching her she did an excellent job on Saturday night. From the replays shown at the track the wreck was not her fault, and I think she gained a lot of respect from the NASCAR fans by going onto the track and pointing at David Regan as he drove by after the wreck.

Hey, how about the Bristol flair coming back with Tony Stewart giving that helmet a great throw at Matt Kenseth’s car. Once again it had the feeling that Bristol was back and tempers were actually showing themselves at the World’s Fastest Half Mile.

In the end Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag, which means I can add a new name to the list of winners I have seen in person at a race. Want to see the list, click here for the races I have attended and their winners. (

Hamlin had it in the end and deserved to win a wild and wacky one that we all have waited for at Bristol for some time now.

As a small prediction for next year, the night race will return to its sell out fashion after what we saw on Saturday. I leave you with this, video of Tony Stewart and helmet throw heard round NASCAR:

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