Bristol Race Recap
It was not the type of day Joe Gibbs Racing has become accustomed to in recent years at the famed short track of Bristol Motor Speedway. Joey Logano would lead the team’s three-car contingent in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 with a 16th-place finish, while Denny Hamlin finished 20th and an early-race accident left Kyle Busch back in 32nd.
Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the top ten and was able remain toward the front of the field through the early going of the 500-lap race. As the race progressed however, tight conditions through the center of the turns would make it difficult for Logano to maintain his momentum as he drove out of the corners. With few cautions and several long green flag runs there was few opportunities for The Home Depot crew to make adjustments and the No. 20 Camry would fall a lap off the pace to the leaders. He would go on to finish two laps down in the 16th position.
Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota in the 20th position and after a long hard day of racing he would end up right where he started in that same 20th spot. Hamlin experienced similar handling issues that plagued his teammate Logano throughout the day and unfortunately the long green flag runs would cause him to also fall a lap off the pace to the leaders. The limited number of cautions also provided few opportunities for his team to make adjustments in hopes of improving the handle on his FedEx Camry. Hamlin would finish two laps off the pace in the 20th position.
Busch, who has five career victories at Bristol Motor Speedway, started the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota from the 13th position and was optimistic for another great day in Bristol. Unfortunately, those hopes were quickly dashed shortly after the green flag dropped when Busch was caught in an accident on lap 24. Kasey Kahne would get turned and the tight confines created a bottleneck of cars that Busch could not avoid. The damage was extensive and his day appeared over. Fortunately the Doublemint crew was able to make amazingly quick repairs to the No. 18 Camry that allowed Busch to return to the track and pick up several positions that at first appeared impossible. He would go on to finish 32nd.
Brad Keselowski captured the victory, while Matt Kenseth was second, Martin Truex, Jr. third, Clint Bowyer fourth and Brian Vickers rounded out the top five. There were five cautions for a total of 49 laps with 13 lead changes among seven different drivers.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west once again for next weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway. The race will be held next Sunday, March 25 at 3 PM ET. Fox will provide live high-definition coverage of the race starting at Noon ET. Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90 and MRN Radio will also provide live coverage.