Despite threatening skies and rain earlier in the day, the Food City 500 actually got underway, so we’ll keep you updated on all the latest from Bristol.
It didn’t look like Mother Nature wanted the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway to be run as scheduled on Sunday, but NASCAR’s decision to move up the start times appeared to be a good one. Rain did fall in the morning, but the track was dried and the race did at least get underway.
The big question, other than the obvious effects of the green track, was whether some of the top drivers in the sport could come from the very back of the field to make something happen. Kevin Harvick crashed while qualifying and “earned” his 39th starting spot, while Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson had to give up much better starting spots to drop to the rear of the field.
Bristol is chaotic enough even under the best of circumstances, so we’ll see how the extra uncertainties throw new wrinkles at everyone.
As expected, Kyle Busch got off to a good jump when the green flag waved, but it didn’t take long for the first multi-car accident of the afternoon. Michael McDowell went around and collected multiple vehicles, including the No. 9 of Chase Elliott and the 78 of Martin Truex Jr.
Already dealing with having to start at the back, Johnson had more trouble when he believed he had a tire going down. Fortunately, he was bailed out by oncoming rain, which brought out the red flag just before the race was about to go under a competition caution.
After the rain departed, it didn’t take all that long for the race to go back under caution. Erik Jones got loose, bumping into the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and sending him for a spin. Luckily, no other cars really got caught up in it.
Ryan Blaney found the conditions to his liking, leading nearly 100 laps during Stage 1. Alas, even being in the lead isn’t a safe place to be at Bristol.
The race was red flagged briefly to remove the cars of Blaney, Harrison Rhodes and others. When it resumed, it left just a one-lap shootout to settle Stage 1, and it was won by Brad Keselowski, who inherited the lead when Blaney wrecked.
Stage 1 results
- Brad Keselowski, 10 points plus one bonus playoff point
- Ryan Newman, 9 points
- Clint Bowyer, 8 points
- AJ Allmendinger, 7 points
- Kyle Larson, 6 points
- Erik Jones, 5 points
- Aric Almirola, 4 points
- Jimmie Johnson, 3 points
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 2 points
- Kurt Busch, 1 point
Kyle Larson assumed the lead to begin Stage 2, but he soon ended up with a strategy decision to make when Trevor Bayne went around and brought out the yellow again.
As it turned out, Larson and the top six cars stayed out while everyone else pitted to get four fresh tires.
Please refresh this page throughout the afternoon as we post fresh updates and highlights from Bristol.