"It's hard to say yet because where they actually worked on the track we haven't actually been all the way up there yet," he explained. "I've seen some guys flirting with the edge of it, so it's really going to be hard to say.
"Nobody has really run up there where they really changed the surface yet. If it keeps guys from running up against the wall, I think it could make it a little bit more competitive - just because when guys are running right up against the fence and it's really hard to pass guys down underneath, you're hesitant to get in the back of them and kind of move them out of the way a little because you know it's going to put them in the wall," he said. "So if it can keep guys within a car width or car width-and-a-half away from the wall, it's going to allow for at least some of that old-style racing back a little bit.”
Greg Biffle and Joey Logano will start on the second row, with Richard Petty Motorsports' Aric Almirola taking the green flag in fifth place.
"I think, right now, we've got a two-groove race track, and it's going to be really tough to pass," said Almirola about the track changes. "If it's tougher to pass, you're going to see a little more rooting and gouging, which is what the fans want.
"I think people have flirted with getting close to it, but it's pretty slick. I think during the race, people might get up there. Probably not by choice, but they might get up there!" he added.
Carl Edwards concurred: "I don't want to be the first guy to go up there if there's no grip," he said.
Far less happy with the changes was Kyle Busch, who has been very successful at Bristol in the past and was succinct in his view of the new configuration: "I think it's terrible. That's about it," he said. He'll start from tenth place on the grid.
One driver especially caught out by the cancellation of qualifying was Jimmie Johnson, whose practice session time was only good enough for a woeful 37th place on the grid, after the #48 team decided not to focus on speed runs in practice.
"Our commitment to race trim bit us today," admitted Johnson on Twitter.
Once the storm passed over the area, the weather quickly dried up and the track driers got to work. Fortunately, with Bristol being only a half mile short oval, the process didn't take as long as it would have elsewhere and the Friday evening Food City 250 Nationwide Series race was expected to proceed with only a slight delay.
Full starting grid and practice times