Now that the checkered flag has fallen on the Food City 500 from Bristol it’s time to breakdown the action we just watched. Here in our recap we’ll go over some key statistics, observations from the race, and review how Greg and Mike’s picks fared. More in depth analysis of the picks will be made on the Wednesday podcast.
The win was Brad Keselowski’s 1st of the season and 5th of his career
Greg Biffle leads the points by 9 over Kevin Harvick
That was Greg Biffle’s 10th career pole
Through four races we’ve had all four car manufacturers score wins
That was Brian Vickers’ first top five finish since Talladega (fall 2011)
Big wreck early between Regan Smith and Kasey Kahne collected a bunch of good cars including Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards. Very telling interview by Kasey Kahne of the frustration he’s feeling starting off the season with high expectations and not delivering through four races. Not that any of that has been his fault, just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just hope this isn’t the way the season will go for him because there goes one of my picks for the top ten in points.
Get duel with 150 to go between Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth. Kenseth did beat Keselowski to the line on a restart and should have been black flagged, but luckily for him NASCAR looked the other way. The only thing you have to question is if they did too much racing with too time left?
Two words, Brian Vickers. I’ll gush about him below. And by “gush” I mean admit I could have incorrect in my assessments of him and Michael Waltrip Racing.
Two more words, Fox broadcast. More about that below, don’t want to over load you with double information, but worth noting.
Michael Waltrip Racing does it again with Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, and Martin Truex, Jr. all running in the top 10 most of the race. All three finished the race in the top five with Bowyer 3rd, Truex 4th, and Vickers 5th. This is the second week in a row I’m throwing them a bone, but it’s going back to maybe I have been too hard on that team. Or it’s one where they finally got all the pieces in place over there. When they came out with Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, and Dale Jarrett that was just a hot mess. Too much, too soon. To their credit they’ve worked hard and battle through adversity, and now the fruits of the labor are being had.
Another team that had a quiet but effective race was Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. Drivers Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya both scored top ten finishes, 7th and 8th respectively.
Will Kurt Busch wreck and/or lose his cool at Bristol? I didn’t realize Kurt was in the race, took until 65 to go before Fox acknowledged him, even that was a token “eh, he’s a lap down, moving on” comment. Plus one for not wrecking his car, minus one for not having the typical Bristol performance, which is what he needed for the team and points.
Will Kyle Busch wreck and/or lose his cool at Bristol? Kyle was taken out on lap 20 in the Kahne/Smith accident. Exiting the car he did punch the roof of it, but that was the extent of the Busch tirade. When he did get back into the race was very quiet. Although Fox was probably done following him once he wouldn’t win. Kyle could have caused more fireworks.
Will Chad Knaus be at the race? While they continue to appeal his suspension, Knaus was at the track at Bristol. The final appeal is Tuesday, so unless he gets a miracle, he will start the suspension next weekend. Will it stay at six races or be reduced is the true question.
Which championship contender will be taken out in an accident? 20 laps into the race and a wreck took out Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick. Lap 360 saw Dale Earnhardt, Jr. get together with Jeff Gordon and Gordon’s day is ruined.
How will Brian Vickers fare in his first race of 2012? Brian Vickers, wow, the last time we saw you, you were wrecking everyone including your grandmother in races. No one signed him during the off season, the Michael Waltrip Racing needs a driver and is able to find Vickers. I laughed and thought it would be the perfect marriage of bad equipment and bad driver. Instead I was proved wrong. Vickers was top 15 all week in speeds, qualified good, and was up front the whole race. He led for 125 laps and finished 5th. Talk about a great come back and good move on his part to wait for a good ride versus any ride.
Will Fox’s side by side coverage redeem itself? We passed half way and it wasn’t used. Fox was on a commercial when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon got together but didn’t cut back to show anything. The coverage as a whole is not redeeming itself at all this year. With 109 laps to go another commercial, no side by side coverage, they just got lucky because there wasn’t a caution during that time. Finally with 60 to go we get side by side coverage, the problem is 60 laps at Bristol is like 10 anywhere else. Good job Fox, good job.
Can Greg Biffle finish 3rd a 4th week in a row? He could not, Biffle made me think it was possible that he could not only get another 3rd place finish, but also pull off the win. He won the pole on Friday for the race so expectations were high. Unfortunately, in the race it didn’t all pan out for Biffle and company. In the end he finished in 13th place and was relatively quiet, which at Bristol can be a good thing.
Can Jeff Gordon find the front? Gordon was up there in the top five most of the time and was in the top 10 when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got into him. That resulted in a cut tire for Gordon and a broken remote for Greg. Gordon got the car worked on and back out there to come home in XXth place.
Which Denny Hamlin will show up? 2010 or 2011? If Phoenix was 2010, Las Vegas was 2011, then Bristol was another 2011 performance. That means, not good, not good at all. 2010 you might remember is when Denny won eight races on his way to a second place finish in the points. 2011 he regressed, only one win, and was free falling the whole time during the Chase. Bristol was a repeat of Las Vegas, where Hamlin ran about 20th and only was mentioned when getting the wave around flag. Feast of famine will be the story line of Hamlin’s season if this keeps up.
Is Joe Nemechek the only one starting and parking now a days? We had a ton of start and parkers this weekend including the star Nemechek, Josh Wise, Scott Riggs, and Reed Sorenson. The number of teams willing to do this seems to depend on the type of track. A short track like Bristol where accidents are common, makes sense to protect your equipment, and park early.
Winner picks for the Food City 500:
Kyle Busch – 32nd Greg Biffle – 13th
Matt Kenseth – 2nd Kevin Harvick – 11th
Tony Stewart – 14th Kurt Busch – 18th
Start ‘N’ Park picks for the Food City 500:
Scott Riggs – 41st Josh Wise – 43rd
Champion’s trophy winner: Josh Wise – 43rd, 16 laps, out because of “spindle”
|1||5||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||Dodge||500||$191,770||Running||232||48|
|2||21||17||Matt Kenseth||Best Buy||Ford||500||$179,821||Running||45||43|
|3||15||56||Martin Truex Jr||NAPA Auto Parts||Toyota||500||$147,149||Running||0||41|
|4||16||15||Clint Bowyer||5-Hour Energy Drink||Toyota||500||$135,124||Running||0||40|
|8||30||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Target||Chevrolet||500||$124,351||Running||0||36|
|9||22||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe’s / Kobalt Tools||Chevrolet||500||$136,596||Running||0||35|
|10||11||27||Paul Menard||Menards / Moen||Chevrolet||500||$102,060||Running||0||34|
|12||3||39||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans||Chevrolet||500||$132,818||Running||0||32|
|13||1||16||Greg Biffle||811 / 3M||Ford||500||$111,085||Running||41||32|
|14||23||14||Tony Stewart||Office Depot / Mobil 1||Chevrolet||500||$140,810||Running||0||30|
|15||18||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew||Chevrolet||500||$100,035||Running||2||30|
|16||9||20||Joey Logano||Home Depot||Toyota||498||$99,935||Running||0||28|
|18||27||51||Kurt Busch||Phoenix Construction Services Inc.||Chevrolet||498||$116,893||Running||0||26|
|19||7||43||Aric Almirola||Charter Communications||Ford||498||$127,446||Running||0||25|
|20||20||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Ground||Toyota||498||$132,901||Running||0||24|
|21||19||10||David Reutimann||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||497||$90,010||Running||0||23|
|22||32||33||Brendan Gaughan||South Point Casino||Chevrolet||496||$97,735||Running||0||22|
|24||6||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row / CSX Play It Safe||Chevrolet||496||$111,343||Running||0||20|
|26||26||38||David Gilliland||Taco Bell||Ford||496||$98,207||Running||0||18|
|27||34||93||Travis Kvapil||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||Toyota||496||$96,510||Running||0||17|
|28||36||47||Bobby Labonte||Clorox-Scott Products||Toyota||495||$95,860||Running||0||16|
|29||29||83||Landon Cassill||Burger King / Dr. Pepper||Toyota||495||$111,605||Running||0||15|
|30||40||49||J.J. Yeley||America Israel Racing||Toyota||493||$86,410||Running||0||14|
|31||39||98||Michael McDowell||Curb Records||Ford||492||$84,110||Running||0||13|
|33||42||32||Ken Schrader||We Drive Sales – TMone.com||Ford||420||$91,985||Running||0||11|
|34||35||36||Dave Blaney||SealWrap/Widow Wax||Chevrolet||417||$83,935||Running||0||10|
|35||4||24||Jeff Gordon||Drive To End Hunger||Chevrolet||395||$131,921||Running||1||10|
|36||12||9||Marcos Ambrose||Mac Tools||Ford||389||$111,743||Running||0||8|
|37||10||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance Group||Chevrolet||366||$91,780||Running||0||7|
|38||28||30||David Stremme||Inception Motorsports||Toyota||334||$83,703||Accident||0||6|
|40||41||87||Joe Nemechek||AM-FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||Toyota||57||$80,875||Brakes||0||0|
|41||43||23||Scott Riggs||North Texas Pipe||Chevrolet||26||$80,800||Vibration||0||3|
|42||38||74||Reed Sorenson||Turn One Racing||Chevrolet||17||$80,720||Vibration||0||0|
|43||37||26||Josh Wise||Morristown Driver’s Service||Ford||16||$80,289||Spindle||0||1|