Bristol, TN, Friday, August 17, 2018
Live coverage by The Lasco Press continues today with Cup practice and qualifying at Bristol. The NASCAR Xfinity cars take to the track to qualify for the Food City 300, set to run this evening. Most importantly, with the possibility of rain tomorrow, NASCAR has moved the entire schedule up 1 hour.
The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will now start Saturday night at 6:30 pm instead of 7:30.
In the Media Center
Several drivers visited Bristol’s Media Center to speak with the press. Including Kasey Kahne, talking about his retirement from NASCAR. Citing the same refrain we have heard from other retiring drivers. Kasey wants to spend more time with his family.
The “Big Three” made appearances, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. All three confirmed they have no plans to join this year’s retirement party.
First Cup Practice
Chase Elliott led the first practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars with a speed of 126.645 mph. Six cars exceeded the 126 mph speed, with Kyle Larson 2nd and Alex Bowman 3rd.
Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, and Joey Logano also topped the 126 mph mark. Martin Truex Jr. ran the fastest consecutive 10-lap average with a speed of 122.290.
Final Cup Practice
The cream always rises to the top. When the final practice for the Cup cars ended, Kyle Busch sat at the top of the speed chart at 126.729 mph. Second, Martin Truex Jr. at 126.312 mph. Kevin Harvick placed 5th, with Aric Almirola and Rickey Stenhouse Jr. in 3rd and 4th.
Kyle Larson posted the 16th fastest lap at 124.387 mph. However, he had the best consecutive 10-lap average at 123.684.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying
Kyle Busch(18) is doing the double this weekend. Driving in the Xfinity Series and the Cup Night Race. His record of sweeping races at Bristol Motor Speedway is impressive. He’s off to a good start tonight. Kyle won the pole for the Food City 300 with a speed of 124.686 mph.
A number of Cup drivers are competing in the Xfinity Race. Kyle Larson(42) starts 3rd, Joey Logano(22) 4th, and Ty Dillon(3) 8th. Chase Elliott(23) takes the green flag from the 15th starting position. Michael Annett spun during the 2nd round of qualifying. Fortunately, he kept the car off the wall.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying
Round 1 of qualifying did not hold any surprises. AJ Allmendinger just missed the top 24 and will start 25th tomorrow in the night race. Round 2 left Martin Truex Jr. sitting in 17th position. Starting in the middle of the pack, it’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s problem.
Erik Jones, who was running fast laps all day in practice, starts 14th. Just in front of Jones, Jimmie Johnson starts in 13th. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just edged out Johnson. But, could not improve his position and starts 12th. Stenhouse Jr. needs a win to make the playoff. His team feels Bristol is just the place to capture that first victory of the season.
Larson Wins the Pole
Kyle Larson won the pole for The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with a speed of 127.792. That lap was 15/1,000’s faster than runner-up Chase Elliott. Even more remarkable the difference between 2nd place Elliott, 3rd place Kyle Busch, and 4th place Paul Menard was 7/1,000’s of a second.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300
Kyle Busch started from the pole and threatened to bury the rest of the field. Just 65 laps into the race Busch had lapped 30 cars. Running the high lane, he had built a 5 second lead on second place, Kyle Larson(42). Laps at Bristol take approximately 15 seconds to complete. Busch was more than dominate.
Then, 65 laps into the 85-lap first Stage, Busch got too high exiting Turn 4. He picked up some loose rubber on his tries and coming out of turn 2 bounced off the wall. Two laps later he was in the wall hard bringing out the caution. A broken A-Frame on the right front sent him to the garage and out of the race. Larson held on to win Stage 1
Domination from Larson in Stage 2
Larson assumed the lead and built a small buffer on 2nd place as cars behind him jockeyed for position. He slowly pulled away to take the win in Stage 2. Varying pit strategies relegated Larson to 10th place for the start of the Final Stage.
Working through traffic Larson returned to the lead. The only car able to run with the 42 was Christopher Bell(20). Chad Finchum’s(40) encounter with the wall on lap 258 brought out the caution. On the restart, with 34 laps to go, Larson pulled put to a comfortable lead.
By Lap 300 Larson had stretched the lead to over 3 seconds. Then on lap 299 Daniel Hemric(21) spun on the backstretch. Larson would have to face a green-white-checkered overtime restart to seal the win.
Larson lined up next to Justin Allgier(7). Joey Logano(22) and Bell sit in the 2nd row. Allgier raced Larson hard but trailed at the white flag. He overdrove his car through turns 1-2 and got loose down the backstretch. Allowing Larson to pull away for the win. Bell passed Allgier for 2nd. Justin held on for 3rd.
Tomorrow the Cup cars hope to go 500 laps in America’s Night Race. Mother Nature may determine that as rain is in the forecast.
Results of the Food City 300 Xfinity Series Race at Bristol Motor Speedway
|20||78||JA Junior Avila||-6||304|
|37||8||Ray Black II||-274||36|