Looking Back At Some Of NASCAR’s Best Fights & Fireworks From Bristol Motor Speedway

Chase Elliott Kevin Harvick

It’s Bristol, baby.

NASCAR is back at the 1/2 mile bullring in Tennessee today, and for the first time since 2020, the Food City 500 will be run on the concrete after three years of the Bristol dirt race.

Now, I couldn’t be more excited about the move back to concrete after experimenting with dirt at Bristol. This track usually produces some of the most exciting races in the Cup Series, and it seemed like a waste to turn one of them into a gimmick by covering the track with dirt.

But all is right with the world, and I’m looking forward to seeing what fireworks we get today at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

So before the green flag drops, I figured it was only appropriate to look at some of the best fireworks – and fights – from previous Bristol races.

Dale Earnhardt vs. Rusty Wallace

In 1995, Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace went into Bristol with an agreement: They were going to go after the new hotshot in NASCAR, a kid named Jeff Gordon. But when Earnhardt ended up spinning Wallace just four laps into the race, Rusty wasn’t happy.

After the race, Rusty went to talk to Earnhardt – and threw a water bottle at the Intimidator as the two began trading barbs while being held back by their crews.

Robby Gordon vs. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

During the spring race at Bristol back in 2002, Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t happy with how Robby Gordon, who was a lap down at the time, held up Junior as he tried to race for the lead. And after the race, the two traded paint on pit road, with Gordon eventually spinning out Dale in the pits before the two confronted each other after getting out of their cars.

And Junior had some harsh words for Gordon:

“That’s why it takes three or four times for him to finally get into the Winston Cup Series, cause he don’t pay attention and doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

Joey Logano vs. Denny Hamlin

Back in 2013, Joey Logano wasn’t happy about a bump from Denny Hamlin near the end of the race. So once they got back to the garage area, Joey went straight to Denny’s car to tell him about it. But before Denny could even get unbuckled and climb out of the car, his crew began pushing Joey out of the way and a shoving match ensued between the two teams.

Kevin Harvick vs. Greg Biffle

Way back in 2002, the now-retired Kevin Harvick was fired up after a bump from Greg Biffle sent him into the wall during the Busch Series (now the Xfinity Series) race. So once the race ended, Harvick decided to let Biffle hear about it – and in the process, gave us one of the greatest displays of athleticism ever seen in NASCAR as he took a flying leap over Biffle’s car to give him a piece of his mind.

Harvick from the top rope. Love it.

Chase Elliott vs. Kevin Harvick

Harvick never seemed to shy away from trouble at Bristol (or anywhere else for that matter). And nearly 20 years after his dustup with Biffle, Harvick once again found himself in a scuffle after the race, this time with then-defending champ Chase Elliott.

It all started when Harvick ran Elliott up the track earlier in the race, causing Elliott to cut down a tire. So Elliott decided to repay the favor later on, getting into the side of Harvick as he went around him.

After the race, Harvick stalked Elliott’s car as they drove down pit road, and then immediately confronted Chase once they were both out of their cars. Crew members separated them during their heated discussion, and ultimately the hardest hit of the scuffle was taken by…Kevin Harvick’s glasses, after he smashed them with his helmet while they were sitting on top of his car.

Jeff Gordon vs. Matt Kenseth

Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth were generally two pretty mild-mannered drivers. But Bristol can bring out the fire in anybody, and when Kenseth and Gordon got together during the 2006 race, tempers started flaring.

Kenseth spun Gordon while racing for 3rd place, and after the race Gordon immediately ran up to Kenseth and shoved him before crew members quickly separated the two drivers.

But for his part, Kenseth understood why Gordon was upset and said that he was actually trying to apologize for the contact – but admitted that he probably should have waited a little longer.

Tony Stewart vs. Matt Kenseth

During the night race in 2012, Kenseth and Tony Stewart weren’t giving each other any room as they raced coming off the turn – and it ended up sending both cars spinning. And the notoriously hot-headed Stewart was sure to let Kenseth know that he wasn’t happy about it, launching his helmet at Kenseth’s car and landing a perfect strike on the nose of Kenseth’s car as he was coming off pit road.

Dale Earnhardt vs. Terry Labonte

Dale Earnhardt was one of the best of all-time at Bristol – so while this one didn’t result in any fireworks off the track, it’s only right to look back at one of the Intimidator’s most iconic moments back in the 1999 Bristol night race.

Earnhardt was trying to get by Terry Labonte, and did it the best way he knew how: He laid the bumper to him. The contact sent Labonte spinning, and Earnhardt ended up winning the race and giving us one of his most memorable quotes:

“I didn’t mean to really turn him, I meant to rattle his cage though.”

Let’s hope today’s race can produce another iconic Bristol moment like these.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock