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The Daly Planet

Are We There Yet

World's Fastest Half Mile in Photos and Video
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By Carol Einarsson | 08/18/2010
Category: Are We There Yet

It's no secret that my favorite track is the gem in Bristol, Tennessee. I could list my favorite facts and figures, recount my favorite moments, list some amusing stats and facts about the world's fastest half mile... But we all know a picture is worth a thousand words, and nothing tells the story of Bristol quite like photos and videos. I hope you enjoy remembering as much as I enjoyed compiling. It's Bristol, baby!!

What does the banking REALLY look like?
Thirty degrees is all?

What's so great about attending a Bristol race?
Just a little card trick

Why do they call it a cereal bowl?
You decide

What would it look like in December?
Merry Christmas!

What's so special about Bristol?
Rubbin' is racin'! and Yikes!

What's a "rattled cage" look like?
Don't pretend you don't know!

Do they crash often at Bristol?

What's the worst that can happen in a Bristol crash?
Michael Waltrip

Why is it better at night?
A magical glow

What's this I hear about a snowball fight at Bristol?
The best weather delay EVER in NASCAR history!



08/18/2010 2:21 pm (1)
Hi Carol,

Wasn't it Bristol where they started the wave during a rain delay, and the scorer started tracking them on the lap counter on the scoring tower?

And I'd say your picture of Mikey's car should settle the arguement about Sadler's recent misfortune being the hardest hit.

However, for a new arguement, in another forum we were debating Bristol's claim to be the "fastest half mile". We concluded that, since the supermodifieds don't run at Bristol, it isn't. The fastest is either Winchester or Salem (Indiana), where the supers qualify at a hair less than 12 seconds (the Cup record at Bristol is, I beleive 14 and a fraction).

08/18/2010 2:58 pm (2)
I LOVES me some Bristol!!!
08/19/2010 8:17 am (3)
It's just worth remembering... 30 degrees is one third of the way to vertical. (It's also as steep a bank as the pilot will ever put on a commercial airliner when making a turn, not because the airplane can't handle more, but because passengers tend to start getting uncomfortable beyond 15 degrees.)

@possum: I can't think of anywhere else that they *could* track the wave on the lap counter, because I believe Bristol is still the only track that's completely surrounded by stands. Don't all the other ones still have a few gaps?

Also @possum: Mikey's hit, while terrifying (and Mike Harmon's almost-identical one a decade later), wasn't actually that hard an impact for the driver--the car being torn in half like that resulted in a very long deceleration pulse, by crash standards, and rather gentle forces on the side of the car that wasn't being crushed. Remember, that's how the SAFER barrier works--it doesn't reduce the change in velocity any; it just makes it take longer, thus reducing the acceleration. (As a point of trivia, I know that for most of the 90s, what was left of Mikey's car was on display at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum just outside Talladega, as the "worst stock car wreck in history." I believe they removed it shortly after Dale Earnhardt's death, and don't know what's happened to the car since.)
08/19/2010 1:51 pm (4)

I think you could count laps on the wave at Martinsville or Richmond - both do have gaps in the stands, but they are very small.

As for Mikey's hit, he basically hit a wall end-on, which is about as hard an impact as you can get. Since he had no impact recorder we can't tell how hard it was, but the circumstances and result were very similar to Sadler's.

08/19/2010 4:45 pm (5)
@possum: I remember the hit (it's almost identical to what happened to Mike Harmon in... I wanna say 2000, in the exact same crossover gate!), I was just pointing out that the forces on the driver were relatively low, since the car tearing apart slowed him down more gradually than Elliot's hit did--it had the entire length of the car to stop Mikey instead of just the distance to the firewall.
08/24/2010 5:58 pm (6)
I was fortunate enough to garner the weekend set of tickets just after they re-concreted the place a few years back.

Rented a camper and camped at a "red barn campground"-type place, for five days, in line with the helipad, and a cart ride away from the entrance to the track.

Weekend also happened to be after the Michigan race with the delay, so I also enjoyed the "transporter dance", whereas on Tuesday, the haulers were coming in from the Carolinas with Penske Rental trucks and as Wednesday morning rolled around the haulers began to arrive from Michigan and the switching began. That was awesome to watch.

Also awesome was the "helicopter landing dance", where it was like watching Apocolypse Nascar Style". Five helos would come in from some airport together and watch two at a time land, discharge it's passangers and fly off as the next two begin their approach. That was sweet.

I've been to some pretty incredible races and have been a part of some fantastic memorable events, but Bristol was the pinnicle of my racing adventure.

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