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Reaction to Bristol ‘polish': from ‘isn’t going to work’ to someone ‘flipped the light switch’

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 17: Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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The first of two Camping World Truck Series practices at Bristol Motor Speedway was barely halfway complete when Sprint Cup crew chief Rodney Childers tweeted out his verdict on the track’s recent “polishing” of the lower groove.

The crew chief on the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick said “looks like (Bristol) is going to have to scrape that rubber off the bottom or burn it off. This isn’t going to work.”

The alterations, announced last week, were made in an effort to create a second race groove after a single lane formed in the high line in recent years. The track said the alteration was done after consulting with Sprint Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Truck driver John Hunter Nemechek said it would be very hard for teams to pass during Wednesday night’s race, citing a “very slick” bottom lane. Cole Custer called the lane “tricky.”

NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman, who is competing in the Truck race, also provided his thoughts on the track surface.

But the tune of drivers - and Childers - changed in the second practice as drivers were able to commit to driving in the bottom lane.

After putting up the third fastest time of the session at the time, Spencer Gallagher was ecstatic about the track.

“I don’t know, but somebody found the light switch somewhere and flipped it,” Gallagher told Fox Sports 1. “Oh my God, it’s like night and day. The first practice, no one dared go down there, slicker than all hell. But this second practice, it’s like a sheet of bubble gum out there.”

Daniel Suarez, who was at the top of the charts in the closing minutes, also lauded the track.

“Honestly, whatever these guys, Bristol, did to the bottom, the racetrack has total grip,” Suarez told FS1. “You feel like you can get into the bottom super deep, the truck can stay there, and then you can go.”