Posted by Brandon Whitton – follow on twitter @whittonbm
April 18, 2016
Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Carl Edwards – Edwards continued the dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota yesterday afternoon at Bristol, leading 276 of 500 laps after starting from pole to capture his 26th career victory in 417 starts and fourth victory at the 0.533 mile bullring. “The car was really fast, and Dave did a good job of managing everything. We didn’t have any trouble, and really it’s just a testament to everybody at the shop and our whole team. Really awesome to have a win so now we can really have some fun and focus on this championship.” Edwards was the only JGR car to avoid trouble on the day, as Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin all fell victim to accidents. “I have the best teammates in the business, and if they can have trouble, I can surely have trouble. I was nervous about it, but Dave did a good job of talking to me about how hard we were pushing the tires and what we had going on there.”
Trevor Bayne – The Tennessee native finished fifth Sunday, claiming just his second top five finish of his Cup career, the first being his 2011 Daytona 500 victory, 100 races ago. His strong run was almost derailed on lap 149, when the No. 6 Advocare Ford was assessed a commitment line violation while deking away from pit road. Bayne recovered, leading a strong effort for the entire Roush Fenway Racing group. “I need to minimize my mistakes going forward, but we were able to make mistakes and get back to a top-5 finish. If there’s somewhere I could choose to run well it’s Bristol. It’s a tough race track. It’s my home track. I have a lot of fans here and it just feels good to be in contention every week.”
Matt DiBenedetto – The unequivocal surprise run of the day goes to DiBenedetto and the No. 83 Cosmo Motors Toyota for BK Racing. DiBenedetto finished sixth, a career best for himself, topping his 18th place finish at Talladega last spring, and the BK Racing Organization besting their eighth place finish at Talladega in the fall of 2012 with Travis Kvapil. “These guys, that’s unbelievable for a team like us to be growing this much and for us to get a sixth-place run. I’m sorry I’m so emotional, this is like a win for us. I am so excited. … I’m so blessed to be here.”
Kyle Busch – The 2015 series champion was running up front once again after winning four of the last five NASCAR national touring series races. Busch found trouble however on lap 52 when his right front tire blew out in turn two. He was then spun by Chris Buescher on lap 116. A second blown right front tire on lap 259 ended his race, relegating him to a 38th place finish. “This track has sucked for me ever since the grinding (in 2012), I’m about sick and tired of coming here since it sucks to race.”
Matt Kenseth – Another promising weekend ended in another disappointment for Kenseth and the No. 20 Dollar General team. The defending race winner led three times for 142 laps, but suffered the same right front tire blowout as teammate Kyle Busch on lap 187 as the race leader. Kenseth blew another tire on lap 327, sending him behind the wall for repairs. He eventually finished the race 40 laps down in 36th position.
Bristol – Bristol Motor Speedway tickets were once so difficult to obtain they were fought over in divorce courts across the Southeast. Now you could walk up to the ticket office ten minutes before the start of the race and snag an awesome seat, if you could afford to stay in the area. Bristol area hotels routinely price gouge the racing contingent twice a year, hiking their prices by 200 – 300%. While the racetrack may have too many seats, and the racing not as great as years past, the Bristol economy will continue to keep core fans away from their track indefinitely unless the cost of spending two nights in the town becomes cheaper than a week-long stay at a beachfront condo.