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Bristol night race chosen as season's best NASCAR event

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 6, 2018 at 12:59 AM

Bristol Motor Speedway received another honor recently as The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race was chosen as the best NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2018 season in a poll conducted by veteran motorsports reporter Jeff Gluck’s website.

More than 10,000 votes were cast and the 2018 Bristol Night Race had a 95 percent approval rating, the highest in the three years since Gluck came up with the poll.

Kurt Busch won the race, which drew rave reviews among NASCAR fans on many other websites. The race beat out the 2018 Watkins Glen race, the first win ever for newly crowned most popular driver Chase Elliott, for the top spot.

The night race was noted for its action from start to finish with those in the press box even raving it was the best NASCAR race they had seen in the last decade.

BMS also placed high with the Food City 500, which ranked sixth in the overall standings with an 88 percent approval rating. That race was noted for a late-race, bump-and-run that Kyle Busch used to move Kyle Larson out of the way for the win.

Despite finishing runner-up to the Busch brothers in both Bristol races, Larson still gave the track a ringing endorsement after the August race.

"Bristol is an awesome place," Larson said. "If we could race here every Saturday and Sunday, our grandstands would be packed, our TV ratings would be very high. Let's build more Bristols."

The first race on the Charlotte Roval placed third in Gluck’s poll, while the Chicago race, noted for a Busch-Larson tangle on the last lap, was fourth. It was right ahead of Joey Logano bumping past Martin Truex Jr. to win at Martinsville.

If you’re counting, five of the top six races came on either short tracks or road courses.

Noncompetitive races on the intermediate tracks of Las Vegas, Texas and Kentucky were at the bottom of the list. The Kentucky race in which Truex led 174 of 267 laps had just a 23 percent approval rating.

It was the third-lowest-rated race since Gluck began the poll, with the 2016 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis at the very bottom at just 17 percent. Kyle Busch led 149 of 170 laps that day in a race that featured just four lead changes.

Bristol Motor Speedway, while covered in Speedway in Lights, is gearing up for the racing season with the Food City 500 a little over 100 days away on April 7, 2019.

It’s part of a weekend schedule that includes Bush’s Beans Pole Day on Friday, April 5, and a doubleheader of the NASCAR Xfinity and K&N Pro Series on Saturday, April 6.

The track also recently announced changes to the Short Track U.S. Nationals, changing it to a two-day event on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1. It has been cut down to two days with four classes featured — Super Late Model, Pro Late Model, Street Stocks and Compacts.

BIG YEAR FOR FORD

Jonesborough racer Ethan Ford recently wrapped up a huge season in the Junior Dragster ranks at Bristol Dragway and other regional tracks.

He won the Southeast Six-Shooter Ironman Series. Ford won his first IHRA Ironman trophy at Knoxville Dragway on June 16, which spurred him on to the overall points championship, which consisted of six races at three different tracks.

Ford lost the Bristol Dragway DER Bracket Series title to Hampton’s Dru Owens on a tiebreaker as both ended with the same amount of points.

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