Sports

Darrell Waltrip discusses Bristol Motor Speedway during pace car ride-along

BRISTOL, TN- Before rain hit the high banks at Bristol Motor Speedway Sunday, News Channel 11 Sport's Kane O'Neill got a ride-along with Darrell Waltrip for a front seat interview.

Kane: "Is there one memory that comes back to you most as you're driving around here?" 

Waltrip: "Oh my goodness son, there's so many races. There were races I won here that I had the best car, there were a few races I won here where I didn't have the best car. But this track was always good to me. I grew up on tracks like this. I raced in Nashville, it was high bank half-mile. I raced Salem, Indiana, it was a high bank half-mile. So when I came here this was right in my wheelhouse, I knew what to do, how to do it. One thing that always worked good for me, I was in a little bit better shape than some of the other guys. I was a little younger, I worked out, I ran a lot, so physically I didn't get tired as some of the other drivers did and I always think that that was a big advantage I had at this track as well."

Kane: "This track has changed quite a bit over the years. What does it take now to win here at Bristol?"

Waltrip: "Well, it takes the same thing that it always did. I always said I liked to find a place where I'm comfortable and that doesn't necessarily mean I'm leading the race. Obviously, that would be a great place to be, but I liked to get into what I call the 'rocking chair.' I've got cars in front of me, I've got cars behind me, but I'm in a little zone all by myself. So if something happens, you've got to remember, you're driving around here in about 15 seconds. If something happens when we come off turn four here and there's something happening down at the end of the front straightaway six hundred and fifty feet long, it's hard to get slowed down and avoid it. So I like to give myself a little area of protection. Not too close and not anybody right on my bumper so if something happens I can take some evasive moves and stay out of trouble. I finished so many races here, that was one of the things that really worked in my favor. I finished most of the races here. I only wrecked out of a couple, three races here in my whole career."

Kane: "They obviously put the PJ1 down, do you feel like it's coming back to the old Bristol with the two lines?

Waltrip: "Well, it certainly got a lot of grip. I feel that in this pace car, you feel it just, these tires stick into that stuff. It almost pulls the wheel out of your hand there's so much grip there. The problem with the PJ1 is it won't last. When you put 40 cars out here running through this same groove over and over and over again, that stuff's going to wear off and that's when you're going to have to be able to hunt around and find another spot to run. I think by the end of the day you're going to see cars that run really, really well against the wall and you're going to see some guys that kind of have that old school Bristol mentality, they'll still be trying to hook this bottom. We'll have to see who wins."


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