Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bristol not "going to be much different," Hamlin says

   Denny Hamlin was among the drivers who thought something should be changed at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but what track owner Bruton Smith has chosen to do doesn't provide Hamlin much confidence the racing will change.

   A loud contingent of fans have complained changes made to Bristol in 2007 have reduced the bump-and-run style of passing, which was typical of most Bristol races.

   Smith announced earlier this week he was going to grind the track to remove the top racing groove and eliminate the progressive banking. Hamlin has advocated paving the now concrete track or at least having Goodyear bring a softer tire which wears more.

   "I don't know how a whole lot about it, because I wasn't in construction but for a little bit of time when I was younger, but there's rebar in there, so you can't grind but so much, so I don't know -- I don't think it's going to be much different to be honest with you," Hamlin said. "What we had -- if anything maybe the grinding will cause for grip and people are going to run up high anyways, so who knows what's going to happen. You want to fix it and make it a tough track? You need to pave it.

   "Concrete is not the answer as far as that is concerned. They're in a box. They have to -- they're trying to do everything they can. I understand that, because the fans want a change. You commend them for trying, but I think that they're time limited on what
adjustments they can really make to that track. As far as repavings, none of us drivers like to see it.

   "I talked with a couple guys who ran the Pocono test and they weren't overly excited about it after running it, so it's one of those things -- the tracks have to do it or we're going to have a four-hour delay in the middle of it because we have a pothole in the middle of the
track. It's just a tough box that our cars are running so fast that they have to limit our speed with the tires, so that's what makes it tough to race on."