Things Go Carl’s Way In Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway had a little bit of everything.
Rain delays, bizarre crashes, tire problems and a mystery caution flag with three laps left followed by even more rain allowed Carl Edwards to score his first victory of the 2014 season.
The victory by Edwards brought to an end a marathon day for NASCAR. The race was originally scheduled to start at 1 p.m., but Mother Nature had other ideas as rain kept things on hold for nearly two hours.
Racing finally began around 3 p.m. and the action was fast and furious almost from the beginning. Several drivers took turns at the front, including polesitter Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
The action was stopped on lap 118 when Mother Nature made its return to Bristol, forcing NASCAR to display the red flag on lap 125. NASCAR worked on the track for several hours before finally getting the race restart after a three hour and 19 minute red flag period.
Kenseth restarted with the race lead, but gave up the top spot to Kurt Busch on lap 153. Three laps later it looked like disaster struck for Kenseth. A crash in front of the leaders involving Cole Whitt and Danica Patrick forced Kenseth to slow down, which led to the lapped machine of Timmy Hill slamming into his back bumper.
The damage looked bad, but it nearly as bad as it looked for Kenseth. His Joe Gibbs Racing squad went to work under the caution period to repair his machine and keep him on the lead lap. The race returned to green flag racing with Kurt Busch leading his brother Kyle Busch.
Action remained fast and furious throughout the field, with cars going three and in some cases four wide. Soon most eyes turned to Kenseth, who was slicing and dicing his way back up through the field after restarting at the rear of the lead lap.
By lap 242 Kenseth had climbed all the way to fourth and was still climbing when the caution flag waved on lap 275 when rookie Ryan Truex crashed in turn three. Kasey Kahne held the lead during the restart, but Kenseth returned to the front of the field shortly thereafter.
Kenseth would stay at the front of the pack until a caution flag on lap 394 when Kyle Busch crashed in the middle of the field. Kevin Harvick, who at the time appeared to have the fastest car on the track, was able to beat Kenseth off pit road to take the race lead.
Harvick restarted with the lead with Edwards, who had moved into second during pit stops, chasing close behind. Kenseth’s strong run back to the front came to an end on lap 408 when he got up in the marbles in one of the turns, causing him to nearly spin his Toyota out. He finally settled back into 13th.