Joe Gibbs Racing appeared to have issues throughout the Food City 500 at Bristol, but somehow pole sitter Carl Edwards was near perfect and led the most laps with 276, winning his fourth career race at Bristol Motor Speedway and his first of the season. Edwards had no problem holding off miracle runs from Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr, while teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch fell by the wayside late. Kyle hit the wall three times during the race which knocked him out, ending his two race winning streak. Edwards also becomes the first driver this season to win from the pole.
Kenseth on the other hand led 142 laps before having a tire go down and slamming into the wall while in the lead. Good luck seems to turn to bad every time he gets ahead, and he has scored only one top 10 all season. Even with Denny Hamlin being the fastest in practice all weekend, he finished 20th. Martin Truex Jr got as high as second before having a tire issue which forced him to settle for 14th. To make a long story short, it was not a good day for Toyota with all the major tire disruptions with the exception of Edwards.
Earnhardt started off the race with a battery issue that put him two laps down early, but battled back to finish second. Kurt Busch led 41 laps to finish third, Elliott tried to become the first rookie since Dale Earnhardt in 1979 to win at Bristol, but had to settle for fourth. Trevor Bayne not only got his first top five of the season in fifth, but his first top five ever at Bristol. The finish so far is Bayne’s best since winning the Daytona 500 in 2011 and his best ever with Roush Fenway Racing.
Matt DiBenedetto scored his best ever finish in sixth for BK Racing, Kevin Harvick led 13 laps before finishing seventh, and Clint Bowyer got his first top 10 of the year in eighth for HScott Motorsports. Ryan Newman earned his second top 10 in three races with a finish of ninth, and Joey Logano got his sixth top 10 with a 10th place finish.
Although Edwards was the top Toyota to win, Chevrolet pretty much ruled the top 10. The next short track coming up is Richmond.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law