Late one July afternoon, Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) president Jeff Byrd received a surprise call from Rusty Wallace. The nine-time winner at the World's Fastest Half-Mile was in the neighborhood and stopped by to take a spin on the new concrete surface. Wallace, a former NASCAR Nextel Cup champion, ripped off lap after lap in the BMS pace car at speeds around 95 mph.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, what do I think? It's a 10," Wallace said.
"I love the transition. The straightaways are so smooth. It's a little bumpy in the corners but it's got character and you've got to have character. It's going to be faster, yeah. And there's going to be side-by-side racing. If at some point you don't see 'em three wide . . . I'll be really surprised.
"I was a little worried about how this was going to turn out but I tell you, these guys did an unbelievable job."
"I've been through a lot of these (resurfacing) at different places," Wallace said. "This ranks right up there at the top. I don't know how these (Nextel Cup) guys can't love this. It's so, so much better. Man, it's really good."