It took an extra day to get the Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway into the record books. Rain washed away Sunday’s scheduled start, moving the race to Monday. Jimmie Johnson won his second race in a row. But, not on consecutive weekends, due to the Easter break. The 500 laps around “The Last Great Colosseum” did not disappoint fans who stuck around for the one day delay. Short track racing on the high banked half-mile delivered the expected thrills.
Rain also washed away qualifying on Friday so the field lined up based on points. This allowed the Fords to start in five of the top 10 positions. Ryan Blaney, in the number 21 Wood Brother’s Fusion, encountered trouble early. Issues with the power steering doomed Blaney to a 33rd place finish. One spot ahead of Brad Keselowski who finished 34th. Poor showings for two of this year’s most consistent performers. In fact, at the end of stage one, Joey Logano was the only Blue Oval driver in the top 10.
Stage two saw Fords take four of the top 10 points positions. Followed by Logano showing considerable strength during the last half of the race. The 22 car from Team Penske seemed to perform best on long runs. Unfortunately for Logano, a late caution turned the race into a 35-lap sprint to the finish. He finished fifth, a bit disappointing after leading 72 laps near the end. The Fusion’s of Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick finished second and third respectively. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took ninth and Trevor Bayne finished just out of the top 10 in 11th place.
In the Playoff Standings points chase, Logano’s strong finish moved him ahead of Brad Keselowski. The Team Penske driver’s hold down the fourth and fifth spots. Bowyer in eighth, Harvick in ninth, and Blaney in 10th still gives Ford half of the top 10. Roush-Fenway Racing driver’s Trevor Bayne and Stenhouse Jr. hold 13th and 16th. The Fords of Kurt Bush and Aric Almirola sit 18th and 19th. Just five and seven points out of the final playoff spot held by Stenhouse Jr.
Next week it’s more short track racing as the series stops at the three-quarter mile D-shaped Richmond International Raceway. The race is scheduled for a 2 pm start. The first Sunday in May superspeedway racing returns at Talladega with the Geico 500. Also, a 2 pm scheduled green flag start.