Wild Finish in the Food City 500

Samuel Sica@@SicatheKidAnalyst IMarch 16, 2008

     The Sprint Cup series made their first trip to a short track this season in Bristol, Tennessee.  Jimmie Johnson started on the pole because qualifying was rained out for the second time this season, so the field was set by last years owners points.  The race began under cloudy skies with Johnson leading the first lap.  A competition caution was waved on lap fifty so teams could check their tire ware.  Tony Stewart was leading during a long green flag run of almost 100 laps when a six car crash brought out the caution.  Ken Schrader was in the eleventh position when one car got loose and spun right in front of him.  Involved in the accident were Schrader, Labonte, McMurray, Franchitti, Newman, and Menard.  Schrader was making just his second start of the season and was the highest running dodge at the time before the accident.

     For a race at Bristol, everyone raced fairly clean today until the final laps came about.  It all started with Brian Vickers blowing a tire and bringing out a caution flag with eleven laps to go.  Stewart was leading the race on old tires and decided to stay out and keep the lead.  Kevin Harvick, who was in second place at the time, decided to come to pit road and get four fresh tires.  Everyone else one the lead lap came to pit road as well except Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who lined up second and third on the restart.  Stewart led the field on the restart and was immediately passed by Hamlin.  Harvick got around Earnhardt and looked to pass Stewart in turn one.  Unfortunately for Stewart, Harvick lost control of his car and turned Stewart into the wall.  Stewart did continue and finished in the fourteenth position.

     Hamlin was now in the lead with a two lap shootout to end the race.  Hamlin took off on the restart but had a fuel pickup problem with the car which allowed Jeff Burton to take the lead.  Burton would lead the final two laps, the only two laps he led during the race, to take the victory.  It was Burton's first win at Bristol.  Richard Childress racing took the top three spots in the finishing order, the first time Childress has accomplished this feat.

     The top ten finishers were Burton, Harvick, Bowyer, Biffle, Earnhardt, Hamlin, Kahne, Almirola, Gilliland, and Kenseth.  Kyle Busch continues to lead the points with Biffle breathing down his neck in second.  Some notables included Jeff Gordon finishing in eleventh position, Kyle Busch in seventeenth position, and Johnson in eighteenth position.  Also, Dale Jarrett made his final start in a great career.  He ended up finishing in the thirty-seventh position.  Jarrett was one of the best in the sport and will always be remembered as a great race car driver and one of the classiest guys around.

     Bristol is now in the history books and we can now look ahead two weeks to Martinsville, Virginia.